The Project Up Close:
When people think of YMCAs, they typically picture a gym or fitness complex. In reality, YMCAs like Frost Valley actually serve their community in many other ways.
Frost Valley runs a 6,000 acre camping and educational nature center in the Catskill Mountains. They wanted to share their impact with the community through a highly interactive and social site. This desire had to be balanced with the requirement of being 100% compliant with the brand guidelines of YMCA of the USA, while still conveying the uniqueness of the Frost Vallery YMCA.
Frost Valley partnered with GUIDE Creative to help realize their marketing, social and communication goals.
By studying the YMCA of the USA brand manual, Guide Creative was able to use the manual as a tool rather than as a constraint. YMCA of the USA empowers their camps to live their individual brand and portray their uniqueness while providing guidelines that prevent diluting the greater YMCA of the USA brand.
Guide Creative devised a clever approach to navigation that blended nature textures and actual woodcut fonts that met the brand guidelines for natural materials and textures while still giving a unique look to the Frost Valley site. The need for social integration was met by offering the ability for a user to share their entire interaction with the Frost Valley site, from donations to photos to camper registrations. Frost Valley’s Friends Asking Friends fundraising site was also updated and brought into the social fold to create a comprehensive solution that engages Frost Valley’s users along multiple channels.
The resulting design for Frost Valley YMCA is not only 100% compliant with YMCA of the USA’s guidelines, but also delivers on the promise of allowing a user to share their journey through the Frost Valley site via multiple social networks. Users can not only perform tasks, they can also share every task they perform on social media to expand Frost Valley’s reach. Crowd-sourcing the website experience is accompanied by a robust blogging strategy that allows Frost Valley YMCA to push information out along several different unique blogs, adding to the dynamic feel of the site. Frost Valley YMCA has been extremely happy with the visual design, and have greatly appreciated Guide Creative’s willingness to work with them closely to solve challenges in bringing the design to the web and still delivering a easy to use site for both the end user and Frost Valley staff. Frost Valley YMCA is currently looking forward to starting a phase two of the project in 2013, and Guide Creative is just excited to continue to grow a very productive relationship!