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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.

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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 oppotunity, and hear real stories from learners just ahead of them on the journey.

PeopleGrove's software engages students and alumni as they explore potential career paths and as they commit to one. This makes it possible for people without a network, experience, or a clear starting point to flourish.

Great stuff, right? The only problem is that this mission wasn’t resonating with higher ed institutions AND learners.

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 prevelant, 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

And we scored an A with this site's optimization.

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.

Most of PeopleGrove’s web leads were from direct and organic traffic sources. 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%.

Although the company ranks well on Google already, a few keywords have risen to the top, including alumni networking platform, alumni relations software, and career services platform. We'll count those as extra credit.

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 who is dedicated to helping learners discover their path.

It’s time to change education—and the world. Off we go!

Brought to you by...

Anna-Leigh Firth
Brittany Silva
Chris Brummer
Connor Goicoechea
Frances Ellenberger
Kevin Jones
Michael Lindsey
Rob Gaedtke
Sarah Goodlaxson
Shyene Joubert
Stina Fausone
Teva Hopper
Thomas Kohler
Vy Tat

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.

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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.

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Looking for a partner not a vendor? Ready to engage in philosophical combat and build something great together? If so, we’re ready for you. Drop us a line at [email protected]

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