I recently had the opportunity to work with Pan-Mass Challenge founder Billy Starr and his amazing team in developing the branding for a new fundraising initiative that is set to raise yet another million dollars for Dana Farber.
Pan-Mass Challenge is a local brand that you are most likely familiar with, but if you’re not, get familiar with it. The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an annual bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the country. The PMC was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, who remains the event’s executive director, an annual cyclist, and a fundraiser. The PMC has since raised over $455 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. PMC channels 100% of all rider-raised dollars directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Resolution by PMC is a new event that has been launched to add to PMC’s already impressive fundraising efforts. The mission of The Resolution by PMC is to raise money for life-saving cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The catalyst for the fundraising effort is an indoor cycling event. Committed athletes, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and individual financial contributors are essential to The Resolution achieving this goal. The Resolution as a spoke in the PMC’s wheel, strives to inspire more proponents of the cause and intends the money raised to afford Dana-Farber’s doctors and researchers the resources necessary to discover cures for all cancers.
The Resolution will be a two-day indoor cycling event of 2,000 participants in a high-energy, team atmosphere and a robust community of support. The event will take place at The Club by George Foreman III, in South Boston on January 2nd and 3rd.
The Resolution intends to continue the PMC model of efficiency while simultaneously increasing the level of participation. The Resolution by PMC offers athletes another opportunity to commit to the cause and the fight against cancer. Just like PMC, The Resolution will channel 100% of all rider-raised dollars directly to Dana-Farber.
Spin350’s Role in the Project
PMC is a great example of an organization that already has strong brand recognition in the community, both locally and nationally. If you ask people what the PMC is, they will tell you (at a basic description) that it’s an annual bike-a-thon to raise money for cancer research, care and treatment. For the past 36 years, PMC has been cycling and raising money. With The Resolution, one of the big challenges was to create a brand that was a “spoke in the PMC’s wheel” but also a brand that could stand on its own.
“Joe from Spin350 was a great fit for my organization. He has the experience and resources of a big firm with true hands on customization. He guided us along the way, while holding true to all deadlines. Lastly his willingness to give more to the project than just what was in the RFP & scope showed that we made the right decision.”
– Billy Starr, Founder/Executive Director, Pan-Mass Challenge
My process in developing the brand for The Resolution was similar to how I approach all branding projects. My process and approach is based on what is known as “human era branding”. The core belief of human era branding is that your brand is not simply your logo or identity. Your brand is a persons gut feeling about you and your company/product/organization/event/etc. It’s a gut feeling because people are emotional, intuitive beings. It’s a person’s gut feeling because brands are defined by individuals and their interaction with you. In other words, your brand is not what YOU says it is. It’s what your audience says it is.
The first step for the project was a discovery meeting with the core PMC team to understanding their goals and vision. By meeting them on site at the PMC headquarters in Needham, I was able to have a more personalized experience which lead to better discovery. The next step was researching and understanding the target demographic and what resonated with them. In this case, that meant young professionals that are active and want to get involved in making a difference. The target was broken down into 75% women and 25% men, age 25-40. Fortunately, I fall within this demographic, so that made things easier.
As I moved into logo design, it was important to Billy and the team that the new brand was not just “The Resolution” but “The Resolution by PMC”. This was a great challenge to add to the mix because it allowed me to create a brand that stood on it’s on but also included the parent brand in the artwork. Additionally, The Resolution logo needed to translate onto various merchandise including apparel, so the design needed to be fluid in it’s versatility. After multiple concepts and revisions, we had the final logo. It’s athletic, clean and strong and represents the mission of The Resolution event.
I always recommend that new branding initiatives include the creation of a brand book. A brand book (also commonly referred to as a “brand guidelines,” “brand standards,” or a “style guide”) is essentially a set of rules that explain how your brand works. The guide will help to ensure that all of your promotional channels are aligned — no matter who develops them in the future. These brand rules should be flexible enough for designers to be creative, but rigid enough to keep your brand easily recognizable and stylistically consistent. Continuity is key, especially if you need the brand to extend across multiple media platforms. Some of the main elements that you should expect to see within a brand book include logo usage, brand colors, brand typography/styling and best practices.
Updated Post-Event Photo
Spin350 is an award winning design agency in Boston that specializes in branding, print design, web design and exhibit design.
Interested in hiring us? Or even chatting with us as a first step? Just email or call us (617-910-9875). We’ll take your idea and bring it to life. Plus, we’ll make sure it’s built on strategy – and drives results for your business.