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Think Small

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Think Small is Minnesota’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to providing early childhood education to children 0-5 and supporting those who help along the way. This included not only educational services, financial support but also a traditional publishing division, Red Leaf Press. Think Small was looking to expand their reach which meant they needed to create cohesive messaging and narrative around all facets and divisions of the organization – from serving and educating providers to connecting parents with resources and informing public policy and advocacy. Their long-term goal is to be the country’s number one resource for early childhood education.

  • Roles

    Research

    Strategy

    Business Consulting

    Consumer Segmentation

    Creative Direction & Production

    Website Design & Development

    SEO

    Campaign Design & Development

  • Deliverables

    Branding/Art Direction

    Marketing Strategy

    Copywriting/Brand Voice

    Photography

    Digital Presence

    Website Design

    Social Media Content

    Email Marketing

    Digital Advertising

  • Client

    Think Small

  • Company Type

    B2B

    Education

    Early Childhood Education

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THE CHALLENGE

Think Small has been Minnesota’s leading early childhood advocate, but providing articulate, consolidated information on their educational products, resource services and financial support to their wide range of audiences created significant fragmentation within the organization. Unmanaged innovation projects, inconsistent messaging, and little internal process made it really difficult for those who were seeking support and information. Meanwhile other national organizations began to take shape in Minnesota as Think Small’s reach began to shrink.

THE SOLUTION

The goal was to create a single, consistent brand that captured the complexity of the nonprofit. Messaging consolidation and standardization led to a refreshed brand identity including company vision, and outlined the target audience bases succinctly. From that, the full rebrand and campaign launch was created and produced to prove that Think Small hadn’t lost its ground in Minnesota and was ready for the national stage.

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RESEARCH

  • Competitors

    The early childhood education space is mixed with nonprofits and higher education institutions. We looked at these competitors both locally and nationally to determine how they had found success with the complexity of their audiences. This gave us a clear picture of the local landscape, as well as the national structure to help guide Think Small’s messaging framework to support their growth targets.

  • Audience

    Prior to our work, Think Small hadn’t completed formal research on who they were reaching. While first party data existed in regard to their providers, that information wasn’t structured in a way to evaluate messaging needs. We were forced to use 3rd party data and additional research support to determine who our audience was, what they were looking for, and how Think Small could support them. This led to 3 distinct audiences with different needs, and within those 3 audiences, we drilled down further to parse segmentation into socioeconomic status, location, access to education, etc.

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AUDIENCE NEEDS

The three main audiences that came from our research all required completely different information. While early childhood educators were the previous focus, the need to find resources and training was their priority – not only to fulfill their mission but also as an active income stream. Supporting parents required Think Small to make scholarships, additional funding, and educator information critical to their choices in finding the right support for their children. And lastly, advocates needed to be kept informed on ongoing policy and procedures that Think Small supports at the state and municipality level.

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BRANDING

  • Strategy

    Building Think Small's brand was a meticulous process guided by a clear vision and a profound commitment to early childhood education. The research done prior enabled us to grasp the unique challenges and opportunities within the field. Collaborative brainstorming sessions and feedback loops also fostered creative ideas that aligned with the organization's mission of kindergarten readiness.

  • Identity

    Think Small’s visual identity was designed thoughtfully to reflect the vibrancy of early childhood while still maintaining professionalism that was integral in reinforcing the perception of Think Small as a reliable, credible, and trustworthy entity.

Think Small is driven by a singular fact — that 90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5.

First Thing's First

  • Previous concept
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WEBSITE

A responsive website was built to support the three key audiences and make it as easy as possible for them, regardless of native language, to find the resources they needed. The site aggregated 2 different websites, multiple blogs, resources, and 3rd party systems all under one roof, and linked directly to Think Small’s learning management system to push online course taking.

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CAMPAIGN

With branding and messaging established, Think Small needed to roll out a campaign to support their providers. The pandemic took an emotional toll on all, especially early childcare providers.

Driving the strategy and creative solution for this campaign was the awareness that the early childhood care audience felt isolated and were struggling. The theme: WE CARE FOR THE CARERS used direct, emotive language, reminding educators and caregivers of the Think Small mission is specifically focused on supporting caregivers and educators as they worked tirelessly to improve the quality of care provided to early learners.

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CREATIVE

  • Owned Media | Email Campaign

    Leveraging the databases from Redleaf Press and Think Small, we re-introduced the brand and found pathways to retarget and re-engage along the way.

  • Journey Mapping

    Using the initial email as an introductory touch point, we would then leverage it to guide educators down relevant paths based on relevant opens and clicks.

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PAID MEDIA | DIRECT MAIL

  • Supporting the digital strategy was a traditional direct mail campaign that served as a communication bridge between an older generation who has been involved in early childhood education for many years with those younger who are just starting their businesses or thinking about starting their own.

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Rebrand and launch just occured. Come back soon for updates!

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  • Credits: The Team

    Account Director: Brent Marmo

    Strategic Planning Director: Miles Marmo

    Creative Director and Designer: Tanya Jacobson

    Designer and Illustrator: Nouchi Yang

    Designer & Illustrator: Petra Lee

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