The Clark Concepts team was hired in 2015 to support an extensive educational outreach and communications campaign to inform the local community about the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), engage with the community, and generate excitement about this new form of transit. This was a great example of “soup to nuts,” as we provided everything from developing the initial communications plan to the brand platform, to messaging and design for marketing materials, digital ads, bus design, informational videos, infographics, and more – and rolling it out via a multilayered, integrated outreach approach. Our mission was to educate and inform the community on what this form of transit was, and why it will be great benefit for the community.
As the project evolved, our support transitioned into branding the system itself. This new transit system needed a name and an identity all its own. Though it is a MCDOT service, this new transit option is not related to anything else in the area. It is new, and the first BRT in Maryland.
It started with a name.
What do we call it? We need something that captures what this service is and what it does. It’s fast, modern, and innovative. We developed a list of names that communicates these concepts and the client narrowed it down to three favorites.
Let the community decide.
We supported MCDOT by conducting a community-wide interactive naming activity where people could vote for their favorite name or submit their own suggestion. Participation was available via an online form and at outreach events (via an iPad). This was a way to involve the community in the process. We wanted their input. This is their service – they should be a part of the branding.
Logo contest in the community and ongoing outreach engagement (multi-year support)
“FLASH” was selected. From there we moved forward with developing a logo. The logo connotates movement and communicates “fast,” with a clean, modern design. The tag line “Get there in a FLASH” plays upon a double-meaning. Get there IN a Flash and get there quickly.
Next, we updated the informational materials available to the public. The brand colors and design elements are bright, engaging, and modern. The objective is to get attention and generate interest. The brand was carried through to the full suite of marketing pieces as well as the bus exterior design and the station features.
A comprehensive educational website includes educational information about Bus Rapid Transit, as well as specifics regarding this particular service. (See examples)
The plan was for the brand to engage with the public with effective, informative, easy-to-understand visuals and information. This included producing animated videos which provided a top-level overview of the project along with information specific to this project:
Once we had the educational outreach infrastructure in place, it was time to turn our attention to designing the bus and carrying the branding through to the station features.
MCDOT wanted a design that would stand out, be clearly different and new, and be something the community is excited about.
The design uses FLASH branding elements, movement, and is bright and engaging. You will see this bus coming down the road!