A local startup clarifies their missions and adjusts strategy


Gaard One, a Minnesota-based start-up, approached our team to develop and strategize ways to better communicate their mission across a variety of touchpoints.  After a successful Indiegogo campaign and three products in production, the brand decided to double down, becoming both a B Corp and creating a structure to use proceeds of their sales to protect land.  Using a one-for-one model, a la TOMS, Gaard One wanted to take the abstract concept of putting land into conservation into a memorable and concise tagline. Gaard One’s Spend One Gaard One was born; for every dollar spent on Gaard One products, one square foot of land will be put into protection.  It’s more nuanced than buy one pair of shoes, give one pair of shoes (which has its own issues, but part of the process is helping distill this message at various touchpoints.  


Our team delivered a video presentation and a set of prototypes to the client.  We held two critiques throughout the week and then meet with the clients to discuss the next steps after they entertained four proposals from local MSP designers and strategists.  


The project consisted of identification, prototyping, and evaluation phase which will be elaborated on below:  


We started with some research on the brand's current touchpoints, aspiration, and local lessons.  They have been breaking even at local consumer events and trade shows and have yet to hone in on their market and effectively market their mission-based business.  Currently spanning outdoorsman, hunters, preppers, and empty nesters the potential market is sizable. Gaard One is presently focusing on the Midwest to perfect tactics and polish their message.  

While the B Corp is worth using on their branding assets, awareness and interest regionally is so low as to not log enough data on Google Trends. Instead, we focused on the Spend One Gaard One mission.

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We researched local outdoor trade shows, events, and retailers. Lilah, one of our team members, set off onto an ambitious brand ambassador program, while Jon working on a trade show agenda. We devised a slow buildup and came up with a mix of local shows, guerilla marketing events, social media content and sales via Shopping On Instagram, and events for purchasers. Our initial Strategy Map looked like this:

Preliminary Strategy Map

Preliminary Strategy Map


The entire video can be seen here.

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Sam attends an expo at Midwest Mountaineering

(brand awareness and engagement)

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After learning about Spend One Gaard One they follow GO on Instagram

(engagement and purchase)

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The backpack purchase preserves 150 sq ft at Belwin Conservancy


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Via a map of Belwin provided in his shipment (and mailing list reminder), Sam later attends an event at Belwin and decides to becomes an ambassador


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Sam the ambassador goes to a massive ice fishing contest and sets up a product demo & charging station. While there, he connects with 21st century outdoorsman; completing the cycle.

(maintain, awareness, and engagement)


While we initially focused on trade shows, they are cost prohibitive, and we decided to limit the number of paid shows while coming up with a monthly series of guerilla events utilizing the GO ambassador program. Over the next twelve months we are proposing the following strategic activities and actions which will be measured by a variety of KPIs (see color coded legend at bottom).

Strategy Map

Strategy Map