Turning Architecture into Strategy

Why Audience and Architecture must work together

Beautiful stock photography and HD video is often prohibitively expensive. Getty, Adobe and Shutterstock carry a premium price tag and only major advertising agencies, production and media companies can pay to play. Then, along came VideoBlocks with the idea of democratizing stock for a new generation of digital creators without the deep pockets.  

The concept was an instantaneous hit. They carved out a strong niche based on a disruptive, low-cost subscription model and unlimited downloads. In short order, VideoBlocks built two new companies, GraphicStock and AudioBlocks, to expand their portfolio of media assets. However, this house of brands created fragmentation, lower awareness and focused solely on price. Most critically, the approach lacked the larger sense of mission and creative empowerment at the heart of the company.

Personas inspiring Architecture

Working with our research partner YouGov, Salt identified an emerging new community of digital storytellers. They’re designers, producers, web builders, artists, photographers and jack-of-all-creative-trades people. These are people who think big despite the small budgets.

We developed a strategy around the idea that VideoBlocks’ disruptive financial model gave everyone the freedom to create richer, more compelling stories. Price no longer dictated the scope of their imagination. Summed up in three words, Uncage Your Creativity, became the positioning for a company determined to shake up stock. Robin Hood had an engaging new call to action.

Once audience and positioning were locked in, we had the necessary insights to reframe the architecture. Research showed this new creative class was open to seeing the three disparate brands united. VideoBlocks’ own business risk assessment showed green lights. So, we created a new flagship company to integrate, unify and energize the brand. This new entity was inspired by the modular quality of digital assets for video, photography, music and effects. VideoBlocks and AudioBlocks found a new home under the elevated roof of Storyblocks. One place, one resource and one focused story to tell.

When architecture is informed by audience and strategy, it can also inspire the visual identity. Salt designed a bright palette of simple, primary colors to symbolize the building-block approach to digital storytelling. By using the Storyblocks “S” wordmark as a container for imagery, we demonstrate creativity bursting out of its framework. By selecting specific imagery, we also cue the individual category – music or video or special effects. This is architecture brought directly into the visual experience of the brand.

In keeping with the new identity and disrupter attitude, the Storyblocks brand voice focused on cage-free creativity and playfully bold language that told the mission of opening up stock to everyone. Statements like “Boom went the price barriers” and “We’re the gourmet food truck of digital assets” created a distinctive and memorable voice.  

Now, Storyblocks has all the foundational elements for accelerated growth in place: strategy, architecture, mission and identity. Long live the new storytellers.

Why Architecture Matters

Efficiency and optimization is just the tip of the architectural iceberg. The new Storyblocks uses architecture to connect with storytellers, influence visual design, dramatize their strategy and ultimately, to enrich their brand experience.

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