Watershed Organization Marketing Strategy & Implementation.
The Watersheds of South Pittsburgh (WOSPgh) is a collaborative organization launched in 2019 to provide stewardship to two watersheds in neighborhoods south of Pittsburgh. These watersheds – Saw Mill Run and Streets Run – are notorious for flooding and accessibility issues. While both streams are a major asset to the surrounding communities, they also cause major problems when heavy rains persist.
Trailhead: Where We Started
WOSPgh began as an idea incubated by Economic Development South (EDS). At the time, the organization exclusively focused on Saw Mill Run Watershed, operating as the Saw Mill Run Watershed Association. Upon inheriting stewardship of Street Run Watershed, the organization recognized the need for new structure, formalized strategy, and independent development efforts. The Advisory Board concluded that forming a new, independent organization was necessary to attract funding and support for broadened operations and responsibilities. With support from the Advisory Board, a newly formed Board of Directors, surrounding communities, and funders, WOSPgh launched to provide collaborative leadership to communities located throughout these massive sheds.
The launch of the new entity, coupled with existing brands for the affiliated watersheds, demanded the need for a complete rebranding of the WOSPgh entity.
Trek: Steps We’ve Taken
Watersheds of South Pittsburgh selected TrailBlaze Creative to provide strategic branding guidance for the new entity. Consideration had to be made for integrating the new WOSPgh brand with the existing brands for the affiliate watersheds. TrailBlaze led the board of WOSPgh through a brand mapping process, beginning with establishing a strong vision statement, targeted mission statement, and a belief statement that would resonate with targeted impact audiences. Through this process, the board determined that the new brand should reflect the health of the streams, depicting a place-based focus and conveying the organization’s dedication to comprehensively addressing watershed concerns “beyond the water.”
In addition to the core, mission-based content developed as a result of the session, the brand mapping process also helped WOSPgh to understand their impact audience, recognize the challenges of that audience, and identify how WOSPgh provides solutions to these challenges. This exercise was an important and edifying for WOSPgh – allowing the new organization to participate in laying the groundwork for its organizational strategy.
The TrailBlaze team also developed a new identity for the overarching brand. The identity takes the existing watershed brands into consideration while articulating the value and emotion behind the new collaborative organization. The identity development was an iterative process, involving advisors, board, and staff to collaborate on elements that were iconic and representative of the organization’s core mission.
Summit: Vision Realized
By leading The Watersheds of South Pittsburgh’s branding and identity development process, TrailBlaze Creative has helped to provide a solid foundation to a new organization, fostering discussions about organizational strategy and providing useful parameters for how the organization is to act and establish itself during its infancy. The brand mapping process provided tangible guidelines for organizational actions, and the creation of a new identity provided increased vibrancy and visibility to the wider community and legitimized the entity to funders.
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