Bringing narrative to know-how

Leadership Training

Sometimes expertise has its drawbacks. Once you’ve invested years in rigorous study and become immersed in your field, it can be hard to see the woods from the trees. That ‘curse of knowledge’ was at the root of the challenge Heartstyles were facing when they came to us for help.

Their psychometric tool, workshops and coaching are all designed to help leaders understand their behaviours, strengthen their character and make better day-to-day decisions. It’s a powerful formula, with proven results (Heartstyles has been powering teams for Pizza Hut, KFC across the world for years).

Heartstyles had created something that could truly benefit any business. It fell to us to ensure that that was something any C-Suite or HR leader could understand.

Finding our place in the world

The first challenge we had to crack was one of positioning. Who is the core audience for Heartstyles? Where does it fit in the leadership development space? Is it competing against profiling tools or coaching programmes?

The answers weren't easy, because Heartstyles is a complex and nuanced offering. But with the help of internal fact-finding and some external research with clients, a picture began to emerge:

  • Heartstyles was a personal development programme - powered by a 360° benchmarking tool
  • Heartstyles was for existing leaders and high-potential employees
  • Heartstyles was growing a new category in the leadership market - 'character growth'

These insights gave us the clarity we needed to develop a positioning for Heartstyles which would be both clear and differentiating in a crowded market.

Less process, more problems

When it came to messaging, Heartstyles tended to make the product - and the process around it - the focus of the story. That’s understandable, but not necessarily effective – especially when your audience aren’t going to be qualified to judge all the subtleties at play. We decided it was time to start talking in terms of business problems - and how Heartstyles helped solve these.

The implications for the existing brand were far reaching. The homespun idioms and leadership jargon was stripped back. In its place came focused messaging around the problems that Heartstyles spoke into (and could demonstrate impact around):

  • Improved wellbeing
  • Healthier culture
  • Higher-performing teams
  • Strengthened leadership

Finally, we developed a one-liner message that captured what Heartstyles was ultimately all about: When people grow, they take their organisations with them.

The existing tone was also replaced with a voice that was clear, calm, and confident enough to explain things in the simplest possible terms - whilst still retaining the warmth and humanity that had helped Heartstyles to stand out from the crowd of cold and corporate offerings.

A more human look & feel

Alongside a refresh of the messaging, we introduced a photography style that made the brand feel more human – grounding it in real-world situations with relatable human imagery. This updated visual identity also included a less corporate, hand-drawn version of the logo mark and the adoption of soft, human-like illustrations to convey the care for the individual that sits at the core of the Heartstyles philosophy.

From there, a new website was built and new sales/promotional materials created - alongside the exciting development of a new Heartstyles app, which includes ongoing personal development content alongside results of your Heartstyles Indicator - the 360° benchmarking tool.

A brand that's going places

Since Heartstyles began working with us, it's been quite a rollercoaster journey of change. The owners (Stephen & Mara Klemich) released a new book - 'Above The Line: Living and Leading with Heart' - published by Harper Collins. The organisation commissioned a huge longitudinal study of the role of character in leadership development. There have been numerous white papers and roundtables to raise awareness of the character growth category within the market.

The big news? Heartstyles has gone on to be bought out by Yum! - the world's largest restaurant group - and has expanded its reach into 131 countries of the world. Not bad for a brand that insists on talking about 'love', 'humility' and 'character' in a world where leadership programmes too often still feel pretty cold and corporate.

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The rebrand was the launchpad for an amazing journey for this business. It really has been pivotal.

Stephen Klemich