Wardrobe for Opportunity
Wardrobe for Opportunity (WFO) empowers low-income individuals across the Bay Area with long-term career planning support, job retention training, interview skills, and the professional clothing they need to become economically self-sufficient.
Founded in 1995 to address often overlooked yet critical barriers to finding and retaining employment, WFO has served over 24,000 low-income individuals referred from over 150 non-profit partners across the Bay Area. WFO’s clients face significant barriers including poverty, drug abuse, disabilities, racism, recent incarceration, and homelessness. Of these clients, eighty percent are single parents, seventy-three percent receive government assistance, and eighty-five percent are minorities. WFO’s programs consistently help clients build the professional toolkits necessary to accomplish their goals and achieve economic success.
WFO wants to maximize their twentieth anniversary as a way to re-brand. WFO would like to improve the organization’s marketing so to increase cash donations and sustainability of monthly donor programs and turn hard-won goodwill in the community into practical agency support.
WFO had begun with a focus on assisting clients to prepare for job interviews by providing appropriate clothes and image advice. Over the twenty years since its founding, WFO had morphed into providing full service career enhancement including job counseling and career support.
The existing branding continued to emphasize the original wardrobe and image services. WFO wished to use the twenty-year anniversary as an opportunity to adjust the branding to one that recognized the fuller range of services. There were several audiences that each had different understandings of the changes that had taken place.
The ACT team recommended changes to the marketing message and branding to recognize an organizational shift to a multi-faceted career enhancement service. The findings and recommendations were based on multiple interviews in each of the audiences to confirm the current brand message and also to gain insight into the impressions of the organization.
The elements of the brand message need to be adjusted, but there should still be a touch stone back to the original branding to establish continuity. Recommendations were that:
- Do not change its name (something that was not in the range of consideration), but instead to the organization in general use as WFO rather than as Wardrobe for Opportunity
- Do not change the color of the logo, but adjust the actual graphic
- Keep the words used in the marketing messages (suggestions provided), but adjust the emphasis to communicate separately to each of the target audiences (recommendations provided)
An interesting problem with this branding review was one of timing. The brand changes were not being rolled out simultaneously with a change in the organization’s product or service. Rather the brand was being adjusted to catch up with organizational changes that had already taken place or were in a state of change.
It was very helpful to the successful outcome that one of team members was intimately involved with branding at a professional level. This experience gave quick, highly functional organization to the work plan and execution.