Accion Opportunity Fund: Teaming Up for Impact
In 2020, Accion US Network and Opportunity Fund came together to become Accion Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit small business lender in the United States. Though they’re known for resourcing, AOF does more than just give out loans; it serves as a financial support system for small businesses while advancing racial, gender, and economic justice for all.
The team from AOF came to us just as their two organizations were becoming one. They needed a new way to talk about their work as a unified front, and an understanding of who they are and what they stand for.
Spotlight on the Heroes
As we started to explore possibilities for the brand, it became immediately clear that justice –– racial, gender, and economic –– was a critical piece of the AOF impact story. While AOF needed to communicate its own identity, it felt important to emphasize that the real protagonist was the AOF clients, the country’s small business owners. We asked ourselves, how can we talk about who AOF is without decentering the entrepreneurs?
That’s how we landed on the idea of AOF as the Sidekick. The Sidekick brand archetype represents an organization that is deeply committed to fighting for justice. One that doesn’t back down. But the Sidekick also knows that it does its work in order to lift up someone else.
At first, there was some hesitancy in getting behind such a provocative idea, but Briteweb showed AOF how the idea originated amongst their own team, and how it was a natural extension of the values they already held. Once the initial barrier was cleared, the energy and excitement around the Sidekick concept took off like a rocket.
With the Sidekick in mind, we went about creating language and a visual identity that celebrates the clients of AOF. The first step was designing a dynamic logo that speaks to transformation, growth, optimism, and diversity. The logo helped inspire the visual identity of the website, which showcases imagery celebrating the heroism of small business entrepreneurs. Focusing on the client also meant making sure the website was accessible, and building as much transparency as possible around the loan process up front. The whole process is a testament to why branding matters. When you have a strong brand, it gives you a clear direction for every other piece of the project –– from design, to copy, to web.
Before & After
Passion that matched our own
From start to finish, RFP response to an on time, on budget, brand, and web strategy launch, Briteweb has been brilliant. I have worked with many firms over my 45-year career, in multiple fields with varying levels of financial support available to make projects happen, and Briteweb has been by far the best experience.
The team is smart, collegial, they are quick thinkers and great listeners and loaded with talent. Everyone from project manager, to strategist, to designers and coders, took the work seriously, delivered results that delighted our team and made this a most remarkable collaboration. Hats off to Rachel, Maria x two, Anu, David, Erika and all who realized our vision with passion that matched our own!
— Gina Harman, CAO, Accion Opportunity Fund