Brand Strategy & Design for Nonprofits

Constructive collaborates with ambitious social impact organizations to develop strategies and design experiences that strengthen brands, advance missions, and create meaningful positive change. We’re a diverse team of strategists, designers, technologists, and advocates—united by our values and who draw energy from our clients’ commitment to social impact.

Combining the insights of a branding consultancy with the creativity and technical acumen of a digital design agency, we partner to create brand experiences that help our clients stand out, and stand for something.

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2000
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • 233 Broadway, Suite 2030
    New York, NY 10279
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 
Aspen Institute, Blue Meridian Partners, Cardiovascular Research Foundation, Climate Impact Lab, ClimateWorks Foundation, Columbia University, Constitutional Accountability Center, Commonwealth Fund, Harvard University, International Energy Agency, The Legal Aid Society, National Constitution Center, National Head Start Association, Surdna Foundation, UnboundEd, The University of Chicago, Wallace Foundation, Weizmann Institute of Science, World Economic Forum, Yale University

Reviews

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Branding & Websites for Large Research University

"[T]hey pivoted to something that I think ... is very purposeful, meaningful, and gratifying."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

Constructive has provided branding, website development and redesign, as well as web presence campaign services for a large research university.

The Reviewer
 
5001-10,000 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Executive Director, Office of the President, Private University
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Constructive’s work has won a Webby Award, increased web traffic, and helped to raise over $1 billion. Constructive possesses a strong understanding of the needs of an institution with a large amount of data and content, and they know how to use branding to express what a company truly stands for.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

I work in the Office of the President for a large research university. I’m one of four executives reporting to a chief of staff, and then to the president. We have responsibilities that span the breadth of the institution, including information technology, general counsel, etc for all of our academic schools, and medical center.

What is your role and responsibilities, please?

I am the executive director for initiatives and special projects in the Office of the President.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Constructive?

We’ve done a number of projects together. Constructive began working with different departs within the university over six years ago. Their first project was on a web presence for a campaign that we were embarking on, which became the largest in the university’s history. We raised well over $1 billion, I think through channels one could say were related to the website that Constructive created. That process was with our Alumni and Development Office.

They went on from that project to work with our School of International and Public Affairs. They did a redesign of our website for that school, which is massive. I think it has be many hundreds, if not thousands, of pages, and includes a very comprehensive directory of our faculty. There was another firm that had been originally chosen for that project, and we just weren’t pleased with the work that was being done. So with the success that Constructive had had on the campaign website for the university – they won a Webby Award for that – and all the great traction that we got from that, we felt confident that they step in and kind of recalibrate the site for the School of International and Public Affairs. That was around four years ago I think.

After that, I engaged them on a few different projects, some smaller things that are very important to the university’s smaller kind of center websites, institute websites etc.

Most recently there have been discussions amongst our trustees regarding our university's global presence. We’re among the most global universities in the world in that we have so many faculty and students abroad. There’s so much happening here on our campus that involves global topics; everything from languages to culture and finance, and all these things. So we really wanted to find a way to express that, and to understand that more. What is the true global footprint of the university?

So we had conversations with the heads of our different schools. We talked to the deans and talked to some of the faculty who we believe are most engaged. We spoke to the heads of our centers. We have nine of these global centers around the world, so spoke to the people there. It became clear through those discussions that there was a need for us to have a web presence that allowed people at our university, students and faculty especially, to understand what others are doing.

For example if someone associated with our university is in Cairo and they meet up with someone that they’ve never met before, but that person is also with our university and is also there studying or researching, we wanted to somehow bring that information, that knowledge, that awareness through a digital space. In this way, before one leaves for these places, they would know that work is going on and be able to have the dialog and interaction with their peers. 

So we started to with Constructive on creating a website for the university. It was, I think, the largest initiative of its kind. It’s still in a beta form, we launched it last year. There's been a lot of publicity around the launch, and its a site that’s right off the University homepage, so it involved a lot of high-level contact. They worked directly with me in speaking to faculty and senior administrators.     

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

When they started with us, the campaign website project they did, involved a lot of branding. It was about how they’re going to communicate this campaign. What is that brand? What is the new brand? How do we represent that through words and also visuals?

Then with this global project, there was a whole section of it that involved executive communication, which is in its own way branding. It’s how we represent this to our community and the different audiences involved, like the 24 trustees, the various faculty committees and all of that. So there was power points and messaging that was very, very thoughtfully crafted around all that.

I think part of what makes them unique as a firm is that they have a real understanding of institutions that have a lot of data and content. Trying to make sense of all that information is its own challenge. I

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any stats, or metrics, or general feedback to show the success of the project?

I can tell you that when we started on the global thing, that we had a small page on our public affairs site that was devoted to global topics. I think it was receiving about 100 hits on an average day. Today, the global site that they created gets well over 10 times that traffic. More importantly, the average amount of time that users are spending on the site has increased significantly. I forget what the number was for the original site, the first iteration of this, which was in public affairs. It’s almost not worth comparing, because it’s so different. Today, the users are spending more than a minute on the page at times, which is really significant for that type of site. I can tell you the campaign that they worked on, their very first project, it brought in over $1 billion that I think we can in some way attributable to their representation. 

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

I think part of what makes them unique as a firm is that they have a real understanding of institutions that have a lot of data and content. From my experience, a lot of firms aren’t calibrated to the core mission of higher ed and nonprofit. For many of us, this is about a greater purpose, in that we want to bring new research to life, we want to create higher knowledge and learning and all that. There’s a real sense with Constructive that that’s their mission too. In New York, they could be working with Wall Street, and I think they did earlier in their time as a firm, and they pivoted to something that I think to them is very purposeful, meaningful, and gratifying. It’s rare to find a partner that shares that mission. I think that’s part of why they’ve been so successful here, they seem to really get it. A lot of firms are more marketing focused. Branding should go to the heart of whatever you’re trying to communicate, and it has to be believed by the audience to be effective, and I think Constructive does well with that.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

They’re a boutique firm, I think there’s no more than a few dozen people, and it’s special that he has people who’ve been with him a very long time. It seems that many of his people are full-time, they may have an ownership stake, and they’re really invested. The limitation however is that as they grow, how do they accomplish that? They’re taking on new projects, they’re getting a lot of referrals, and they’ve done very good work. The growth piece is always a challenge for successful companies. In the next few years, it’s about going from the smaller size firm to something larger, and how to accomplish that without breaking the bank, and at the same time bringing on people that are as engaged as those that have been with him for a very long time.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Website & Branding for Private University Program

"[T]hey generally have very good ideas. "

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Constructive provided branding and logo services for a small research program at a large university and are currently developing a website to communicate the program’s work to both academics and non-academics.

The Reviewer
 
5001-10,000 Employees
 
New York City Metro Area
Associate Director, Private University
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Constructive team is professional, personable, responsive, and dedicated. They strive to support each other and the companies that they work with. An area for improvement would be strengthening their organizational skills as they grow.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

We are a small research program located within the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at a large private University in the Northeast. The research program revolves around studying attitudes and risk perceptions, behavior, policy preferences, and so forth, of mainly the American public on issues involving climate change. 

What is your role and responsibilities, please?

I'm the director.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Constructive?

We really operate at that nexus of conducting original research that’s contributing to knowledge to scholarly conversation, but also wanting that research to be useful and intelligible to regular people, especially those people who are interested in mitigating the effects of climate change. 

We needed a website that was cutting edge in terms of how we’re communicating what we know and what we discover, and what’s relevant. So we felt that it was very important for us to have a very easy to navigate and compelling website. 

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

We had not originally intended for them to do a whole lot of branding. We thought we had that nailed down, and that they were pretty much going to be working solely on website development. It turns out that in the course of our early conversations, we realized our logo is not as good as we thought. Our website has been significantly delayed because we’ve engaged in this branding exercise, and now this logo design work, which has to come first.

What was your process for selecting Constructive to work with?

It was made significantly easier by the fact that some other of our colleagues in other units here were already engaged with them to do new websites. So we were able to have very informal conversations with our colleagues about how that process was going. We put out some RFPs, and they were very responsive in the beginning with doing a little more due diligence than the other folks who bid, on who exactly we were, our particular mission, and what we’re doing. We got some good bids, and Constructive wasn’t the lowest or the highest, but they were seemingly the most committed, the most interested, and had the biggest appetite for working with us.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?

We’ve added on extra work over the course of the project, so the amount has changed. In total, it's probably been in the $100,000 range.

What was the timeline for the project?

We started working with them last July, and the original timeline was maybe into the first quarter of this year. It’s been considerably extended because of the design and branding work. In total it’s going to longer than a one year engagement by the time we’re all done.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any stats, or metrics, or general feedback to show the success of the project?

These guys are professionals. We have found them to be very responsive, very dedicated to the work they’re doing with us, and they generally have very good ideas. There’s been a little bit of disorganization now and then, and some efforts made that, in hindsight, were a bit of a waste of time, but I think that’s par for the course.

We don’t have any stats or metrics yet. Informally, we have gotten feedback that people are very pleased with the beta version of the site.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

They’re very personable. We felt like we got to know the individuals at the company, and they’re kind of a family, they support each other, and they’re supporting their clients to the best of their ability. We felt like it was nicely scaled for us, because we’re a relatively small outfit too.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

They’re a relatively small outfit, and I guess it seemed like they were stretched a little thin. They occasionally seemed a little over-committed, and had trouble organizing their time. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Brand Strategy & Web Design for Nonprofit

"Constructive is phenomenal to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
May 2015 - Feb. 2015
Project summary: 

Constructive provided a website redesign and delivered a new branding message platform for a nonprofit.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Francisco Bay Area
Communications Officer, Nonprofit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The Constructive team has a passion for the projects they choose to take on and shows a strong commitment to them. The work they provided was fresh and current in terms of technology and design, and the website they built achieved the goal of fostering a deeper understanding of the organization.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company.

We are a global organization that works in the philanthropic sector. Our mission is to help philanthropist invest in climate change mitigation.

What is your role and responsibilities, please?

I oversee all institutional communications.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What was your goal for working with Constructive?

We had just gone through a two-year planning exercise, and we updated our business model and strategic plan. We partnered with Constructive to work on a message platform that reflected the new strategy, and also on a website redesign.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their work.

They worked on a little bit of branding and then some web design.

What was your process for selecting Constructive to work with?

We sent an RFP to six or seven firms that are some go-to firms in our sector and have worked with partners who really know our space well. We chose Constructive because of their focus on being able to translate data and pre-assigned concepts to the lay person, and their ability to make that data clear and compelling to wider audiences.

Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?

The branding piece of it was somewhere in the $35,000 - $50,000 range, and then the web design was in the $70,000 to $80,000 range I believe.

What was the timeline of this engagement?

The project started around May or June of 2014, and lasted until February of 2015.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Do you have any stats, or metrics, or general feedback to show the success of the project?

On the branding side, they created a brand handbook, which has everything from a new mission statement, institutional core values, differentiators; all the things that are core to an organization’s brand. It’s a really solid foundation for us to build on as we implement a strategy around institutional communication. So they did a great job for us there.

We’re also thrilled with the website. It’s fresh and current in terms of the technology and design. People who have spent some time with it understand, at a much higher level, what the organization does, which was one of our goals. So everything turned out wonderfully.

We have a pretty narrow audience, so things like Google Analytics and other online tools don’t necessarily reveal if we’re meeting our objectives. Anecdotally, I think we’ve received lots of really solid feedback. People understand what the organization is. We also seeing more of an uptick in terms of organizations and people wanting to know more and wanting to work with us.

Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?

They’re really great to work with. They’re a relatively small team, so you get a lot of attention, which is a good thing. They have a passion for the clients they take on and the work they choose to do. They’re really committed to it.

Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or something that you might do differently?

It’s hard to differentiate between areas where my organization can improve and areas where they can improve. There may have been little things here and there, but nothing really worth mentioning.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer