Start-up branding that’s a hole in one

LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Kate Tempesta created a unique program to teach children — as young as age four! — how to play golf properly, while also building their self esteem. Thinkso created the brand that brought it to market. In addition to helping name the company, we created a strong identity that would both appeal to children and feel professional and established (thereby instilling confidence in parents). Finally, we applied the identity to a full suite of marketing materials that the program needed to get on its feet and swing into action.

BACKGROUND

Soccer, gymnastics, and swimming are often the sports of choice for city-dwelling children. Kate Tempesta, who, among other positions, is the director of the Junior Golf Program at Montauk Downs, wanted to find a way to make golf accessible to children who didn’t live anywhere near a golf course. She also saw the need to nurture a new generation of golfers, as the sport has been failing to attract younger players in recent years. To do this effectively, she knew that the instruction must “meet young golfers where they are” and keep it fun and playful. So using her decades of experience teaching creative movement classes, Kate developed an innovative curriculum to teach golf to kids just about anywhere — gyms, parks, even streets. And her methodology is as effective with preschool children as it is with teens.

Kate then tapped Thinkso to transform her vision into a marketing story that quickly communicates the special offerings of the program. As a start-up, she needed everything from an identity to a website to training materials for instructors. We certainly had our work cut out for us.

APPROACH

As a fledgling company, we knew that the Academy first needed an identity that would help it grow immediately and work over the long term. We worked closely with Kate and her business partner to develop the name, vocalize the vision, and understand their target audiences. Our two-fold goal emerged from those conversations: assure parents of the program’s validity and capture the kids’ attention.

To start, we included Kate’s name in the brand to anchor it to her experience and accolades as a professional golf instructor. From the full name, we created a logotype and identity that used a fun, accessible font, color palette, and illustration style, but still felt clean, modern, and professional. This balance made the program desirable to kids but also gave parents the confidence they needed to pay the tuition and entrust the care of their children to the organization.

“Thinkso really internalized the essence of our company and then distilled it into branding that works hard for us on so many levels. And they made the process fun, easy and exciting!” Mari Lazar, Managing Director, Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy

Marketing an after-school and summer camp program in New York City is a challenge. There’s a lot of competition from other programs, as well as a lot of other marketing “noise.”  To get the Academy more support for the program, we armed them with a full arsenal of stationery, flyers, brochures, postcards, advertisements, giveaways, and more. We kept the sales collateral short and engaging so they could be easily handed out at schools and quickly digested by parents.

The website really sets the Academy apart from other extracurricular programs in the city. We created an architecture for it that is intuitive — not an easy feat given the program’s diverse class structures — and makes the site a pleasure to use.

To engage children, we created Birdie, the Academy’s mascot whose name is both a golf term and a feathered friend. She becomes a recognizable teammate for the kids, as she is used on every brand touch point with which the children come in contact, from water bottles to coloring pages. They can even send Birdie an email from the website’s homepage.

To franchise the program as well as onboard new instructors, Kate and her team wrote  a curriculum handbook. Thinkso designed the guide, translating the content into an easily referenced layout that uses images and supporting text to ensure the integrity of the instruction.

RESULT

With the help of our work, Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy has grown in just a few short years to be an established player in the after-school program landscape. But more importantly, it has offered numerous urban kids the rare opportunity to learn the game of golf early in their lives. Since its inception in 2010, the Academy has expanded from just one after-school location to 19 around NYC, a mix of indoor and outdoor places that allow kids to learn golf year-round.

Birdie, the KTUGA mascot, was drawn in a range of playful poses that were easily implemented by a relatively untrained staff.

Thinkso created sales and marketing collateral that was cost effective and reflects the unique visual and editorial personality of the brand.

A simply written and designed website provides parents with the perfect amount of information, delivered in a clear and organized way.