.... 5, 6, 7, 8 - CHEER!!!
What We Did
- Logo Design + Brand Identity
- Business Cards, Stationary
- Trade Show Displays: Banners, Table Covers
- Custom Apparel
- Website Design
- Social Media Graphics: Custom Facebook Cover Image, Shareable Images
Elite Performance provides one of the most exhilarating dance camp experiences in the Pacific Northwest. Though they work with students and schools year-round, their busiest season is summer, when they are preparing students for the next academic year. This kind of work requires Elite Performance to be on the move and able to represent their brand at various venues. Moreover, with plenty of competitors in a niche market, their reputation needs to be paired with well-designed branding and marketing. We were remarkably fortunate to meet them at a time when they were ready to create an entire brand identity plan. We knew immediately that it was an opportunity for us to visually translate the excellence of their work and the magnitude of the experience they provide.
We recently sat down with Stacey Jones, owner of Elite Performance, to discuss her experience with Markon, and her thoughts on branding small businesses.
Markon: Tell us about the branding and marketing needs you had when you met us.
Stacey: "Before I worked with Markon I pretty much tried to do everything myself. I didn’t really have a set up. It was basic, basic stuff on the website. I didn’t really have a brand. I was like ‘whatever works for now.’
When you go to dance competitions there a lot of large banners and things that make other groups stand out. So, as I grew, I realized I needed something that was recognizable, that would make Elite stand out."
Markon: What was working through the creative process like with us?
Stacey: "It was a little more work than I expected . . . but not in a bad way.
I felt like Markon really wanted to know about us and what we were about. You were digging. Part of me wanted to say, 'hey you guys are creative, can you just do this?’ but it wasn’t like that.
You had me give information and send samples of what I liked. I ended up enjoying that process more than I thought I would. I felt no one was willing to settle. We kept sharing ideas and I kept sending ideas. Then I would get new options as I sent more feedback. I felt like there was no laziness on Markon’s end. They really worked for me, for my business. I can tell that you do care and that’s not just about getting your branding. I feel like everybody there [at Markon] just loves the process."
Markon: In what ways would you say your experience with Markon has helped your business?
Stacey: "It has been a huge, huge help to have Markon brand our name. It is so much easier, so much easier to say ‘hey, that is what we do,’ and it really makes us stand out. A lot of other dance camps have really outdated branding. With Markon, I feel like ours really stands out compared to the rest. I feel it is more modernized and really cutting edge."
Markon: How important do you think/feel that branding is for your clients?
Stacey: "It makes us look bigger and more important that what we really are. When campers walked into camp and saw two huge standing banners, they feel like ‘wow, I’m part of this thing, it’s a big deal!’
Branding can really make you look bigger and more important than what you are. It’s kind of what you want because people are drawn to that. It gives campers a feeling that they are part of something big and it makes them come back and want to keep coming back.
Coaches love that we brand everything, they think that it looks clean and sharp. Last year, every coach said they were coming back this year. As much as it has to do with the quality of the program, it also has to do with how things look - things need to look clean and professional! Other dance camps are lacking in that area. We look bigger than they are even when they have more people come to their camp, and it’s because of our branding."
Markon: Would you go through the process again?
Stacey: "Absolutely! I’ve even mentioned you to a few other friends, who have small businesses. I know you guys are down in the Vancouver/Portland area, but you are great. You were amazing to work with. I’ve even considered having all of my merchandise branded. When I do, I’m definitely coming back to Markon."
Markon: What advice might you give an entrepreneur considering making a similar investment?
Stacey: "I would definitely say it’s worth the money. You guys do have reasonable prices, especially with what you get in the end. It’s something that is going to really benefit you every day, every month. It really does give you a brand, a sense of who you are, and it helps you work through the process a bit of you are.
When we started I didn’t have a slogan, or anything like that. It took maybe a month to think about what it would be and it helped me as a business owner to think about who I am. I would tell a business owner that it will help your business grow.
People are visual and it’s worth your money to invest in this first. I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to do it because we are very recognizable now."
The secret to Elite Performance’s success is how embedded their branding is within the experience of interacting with them. Whether you visit their website, see them at a show, or visit their dance camp, you will come across their branding. It’s important to remind your audience of who they are interacting with, and if you can, leave them with something to take away, like a business card, a piece of branded apparel or even a snapshot of them in front of a step-and-repeat! Since the time of this interview we’ve already begun discussions about branding Elite’s summer 2015 apparel and merchandise. We look forward to what we’ll all collaborate on next!
In short, working with Elite has been an exhilarating experience. Now if only they could teach us to dance... Check them out on their website here!