Social innovation design concepts are a dime a dozen, focusing on anything from helping communities in rural areas to transport water from distant water sources (Hipproller), to finding creative ways of generating electricity in electricity-scare locals (Soccket). What this means is that anything new entering into social innovation design territory needs to not only have a strong brand presence, but also a strong message to make it stand out.
Last year, Infestation won the pitch to design the brand and communications strategy for a World Design Capital social innovation project by the Cape Craft and Design Institute, called the Better Living Challenge. The questions asked was, as an agency, how do we craft a brand and communications strategy for a challenge in an already noisy space, as well as get people to buy into the messages?
The answer was, by understanding the outcomes and the existing obstacles the Challenge presents, and using these to weave stories through design that will capture imaginations and propel people to enter. And through all this, keeping it simple and allowing broader engagement – allowing everyone access.
The brief spoke to creating sustainable products, services and systems (solutions) that improve homes in low-income communities that can be taken to shop shelves, through a brand that speaks to a broad audience, meaning an accessible brand that anyone can relate to and can engage with – and recognise.
Infestation’s solution was to start where the challenge mattered most, in the home. By doing so, Infestation was able to create a brand that was inspirational as well as authentic, and spoke directly to what the Challenge was about, designing solutions for the home.
By using everyday shapes in the house (the star-shape of a tap or the waves of corrugated iron), the brand takes pieces of the home and brings them together to represent the whole. Together with the colour palette, brought out through African textiles, the brand not only speaks to local innovation but to a global challenge: finding solutions to improving the lives of those in low-income communities.
Using this foundation, the Better Living Challenge was rolled out across web, print and social media through a social media campaign, as well as electronic newsletters, presentations and into an event setting with a stand at the Design Indaba Expo 2014. By nurturing this idea of improving lives and finding solutions, the communications strategy was developed to reflect local and global stories as inspiration for individuals and companies entering the Challenge.
With storytelling a vital component to the communication of the challenge, the Better Living Challenge became positioned as more than just a competition, but a way to inspire people to better their lives and those around them by listening to the problems and focusing on the solutions.