Nonprofit Brand to End E-Waste


Human-I-T (HIT) is a nonprofit and social enterprise that fights to end E-waste, and close the digital divide between communities with and without access to technology, by diverting corporate computers from landfills, fully restoring them, and putting them in the hands of communities and individuals who need them most. The organization also provides new and tech support, digital skills training, and internet access to communities in need in order to ensure they not only have the hardware, but also the soft-skills, to reach their full potential.

The Outcome

The full scope of our brand work culminated in developing and delivering a new Brand Guidelines document to ensure that all internal and external communications, regardless of channel, would represent the brand’s positioning, intent, services, and mission in a clear and cohesive way. These new brand guidelines also became the jumping-off point for our next engagement with HIT: rearchitecting, rewriting, and redesigning their website to introduce their refreshed brand to the world, and bring even more businesses and organizations into their community-centered mission.

The Challenge

HIT had been seeing an increasing demand for their corporate E-waste reclaiming services over the last several years, especially as more companies were investing in new technology for their workforces, and were in search of a disposal solution that was both financially and environmentally responsible. However, they struggled to differentiate their offerings from other organizations and businesses in the space, with many potential clients not understanding the greater potential impact of their work on underserved and technologically disadvantaged communities. 

In order to continue growing their reach, they recognized that they needed to more clearly define their value proposition and points of differentiation to their core audiences—which would require aligning all internal stakeholders around a single set of priorities, goals, and definition of their business model, and overhauling their brand position and visual identity to match.

The Strategy

To reposition HIT’s brand, and provide them with the building blocks to more clearly communicate their mission, their model, and their benefit, we needed to work from both the inside-out and outside-in—leveraging organizational knowledge and audience insights to develop a more cohesive brand positioning and visual identity. By doing this, the organization would be able to present themselves to the world more easily and potentially get more investors and supporters interested in working with them.

The Implementation

We began our work together by doing a deep dive into the background of HIT, reviewing their website and marketing materials, and interviewing seven internal stakeholders to see how they each articulated the organization’s needs, objectives, and priorities. We also conducted independent research outside of the organization to gauge external partners’ understanding of HIT’s work, and uncover any insights about areas of misunderstanding or misalignment. 

With this part of the Discovery complete, we walked the core HIT team through a self-guided brand exploration exercise, which allowed them to share and compare their individual perspectives on repositioning the brand. We held several collaborative work sessions to discuss the output of this exercise, as well as the findings from our research, and leveraged all of the insights to develop a new, more cohesive set of brand positioning language—including a more human-centered mission statement, clear vision statement, digestible elevator pitch, and unified organizational values and beliefs. We also reframed the language around their overall business model to ensure that it was not only more easily understandable, but also relevant to each of the organization’s core audiences. 

Once the brand language was complete, we began working on developing a visual identity to reflect HIT’s revised positioning. We began by discussing what values and characteristics were most important for the identity to represent—concluding that it should capture the community-centered spirit and intent of its founding principles, the positive intentions of clients they serve, the tangible impact of the services they offer, and the intersectionality of doing good business and doing good for the world. These elements came together in a logo, color palette, and design system that embodies connection and bridges humanity with technology, giving Human-I-T an immediate point of differentiation from competitors that only address one side of the equation. 

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