Building Communities and Careers Out of Curiosity
PeopleGrove needed to accommodate a learner-centric networking platform and a buyer-centric SaaS solution. Together, we rolled out a brand that brought people to the forefront.
The most helpful network ever
That sounds a bit grandiose, but allow us to explain.
Studies show students aren’t finding as much value in their college experiences as they used to. Other obstacles they face include financial hardship as a result from the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing competition between universities. Additionally, alumni want to give back to their community and alma mater, but don’t know where to begin.
Students and alumni—their collective grouping deemed as “learners”—want tangible ways to explore career paths, open doors to opportunity, and hear real stories from learners just ahead [or way ahead] of them on the journey.
PeopleGrove helps students and alumni as they explore potential career paths. This makes it possible for people without a network, experience, or a clear starting point to flourish. Career Access is the principle that every individual has the ability to fully understand how their passions, interests, and studies can become a meaningful career. Then, with newfound confidence and vital resources, they can build the competencies necessary to achieve and succeed in that career. Today, PeopleGrove helps millions of learners gain access to meaningful careers.
Great stuff, right? The only problem is that while PeopleGrove was known for mentorship and alumni communities, their platform and vision have evolved. They needed help reframing their story to focus on bigger challenges to solve within higher education, without losing traction in the market.
Reinventing the wheel requires research
Switching audiences from higher ed buyers to learners in every stage of their journeys was a big pivot for PeopleGrove. We did the usual: industry and audience analyses, competitor research, and evaluations of PeopleGrove's hero brands.
We discovered the overarching goals of the new PeopleGrove were to alleviate student anxiety, boost their career confidence, and help higher education institutions prove their true value.
What sets PeopleGrove apart is their ability to support learners through the entire college-to-career pipeline (versus a few stages).
The path less traveled
PeopleGrove is nothing if not a trailblazer. With their innovative idea sophisticated technology, and pioneering spirit, their brand was forged.
It's hard to narrow down how to communicate with an all-encompassing community, but as the journey theme became more prevalent, so did our brand themes:
- Curiosity starts here
- No one right path
- Others can light the way
- Share as you take in the view
- Fulfillment is a constant journey
These helped us come up with an archetype concept for the new brand: the Seeker, which is a sub-archetype of the Explorer with elements of the Magician. As a lot of competitors fell into the Ruler or the Sage archetypes, we felt this was a big place for opportunity, especially since PeopleGrove takes pride in its innovation and transformational purpose.
We updated the logo, reimagined their messaging platform to emphasize the learner-focused approach (complete with a cause statement and manifesto), and created a beautiful, new brand book to meet this new archetype.
We needed trail markers to move forward
Our new messaging platform was the guiding star we needed to feel confident moving forward. The brand needed to shift its focus from being a simple enrollment platform to an environment for experiential learning that allowed organizations to help their community while simultaneously helping learners get jobs. A shift like that is not minor, or easy.
We tested a few visual pathways, from modern to whimsical to exploratory. The chosen approach is bold, standout, and abstract in reflecting the convoluted paths some of us take on our career journeys. (We added aerial photography to clarify those abstract design elements resemble actual pathways.)
Photography also played a huge part in this brand's refresh. We chose candid images to reinforce this is a real community with real people—like the ones learners can reach out to today. After all, there's nothing more confusing than knowing you're part of the targeted audience who doesn't resemble any of the people on a platform or in a campaign.
Walking alongside our audiences
Updating the brand positioning and propelling into the new PeopleGrove look and feel meant a lot of discussion around content, site architecture, and how to bring the brand to life in ways that told the company's story while connecting with our audiences and driving leads. It's a tall order, but we love a good challenge.
We redesigned their website based on the new brand. To promote real-world experience, we wove in true stories from university professionals and shared moments in a learner's journey. More importantly, we did all of this while keeping things interesting with custom animations. Just check out the website's homepage and how our hero moves through her journey as you scroll.
Both our team and PeopleGrove's wanted the user experience to be straightforward; we wanted them to understand what they needed to know about the platform ASAP. We set up conversion points that quickly walked our audiences through the site and offered them the content they were looking for.
SEO rankings are like grades
Migrating websites without losing search rankings along the way is a tall order.
We helped PeopleGrove score an A with this site's optimization.
PeopleGrove has an in-house content team who produces thought leadership content of all kinds. In the last calendar year, they even published a full-length book, Super Mentors which challenges the foundation of traditional mentoring. Building amazing content is a heavy lift. Getting that content found, that’s where we add value.
As consumers, we turn to Google for everything. Assuming that learners are using this search engine to find information about a specific career path, there aren’t many resources besides ads or blogs. That’s where PeopleGrove could make an even greater impact. We helped PeopleGrove bolster their inbound traffic by optimizing their content.
In addition, our DMM team focused on optimizing PeopleGrove’s Google and LinkedIn ads. Since we’ve been working with them, their conversion rates have risen to 18-25%.
Long story short
By designing a platform (the first Career Access Platform™ of its kind, mind you) for all learners, PeopleGrove charts their own course by redefining their role in the higher ed industry. We're lucky to be partnered with a forward-thinking organization that is dedicated to helping learners discover their path.
It’s time to change education—and the world. Off we go!
It takes a village to embark on projects like these. The PeopleGrove marketing team is a talented and experienced collection of strategists, content creators, and creative marketers who collaborated with the KPS3 team to execute this vision:
Bryan Landaburu, CMO
Autumn d'Adesky, Brand Creative Director
Nicole Hector, Sr. Art Director
Matt Kelly, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications
Keesa Sung, Director of Product Marketing
Dani de la Fuente, Marketing Project Manager
Shannon Howard, Customer Marketing Manager
Greg Anderson, Demand Gen & Marketing Operations
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Never be finished
A core value we know well, we repositioned PeopleGrove’s brand and messaging to empower the entire learner journey, from university staff to students and alumni.
We want to reinvent the wheel
PeopleGrove is the first Career Access Platform™ of its kind; it creates a better way for learners to network, mentor, share job opportunities, and explore career paths.
New website, who dis?
PeopleGrove wanted a site that emphasized a learner-focused approach that engaged higher ed audiences. And this one is really top of its class.
Climbing the ranks
We helped boost PeopleGrove's ranking on Google with improved SEO and website optimization. In the first month alone, we saw tremendous performance wins.