In 2013, Lori Brannock set out to create an app that lets friends build
and share lists of their favorite places and recommendations in
Charlottesville, VA (new cities coming soon). While Yelp does already cover
some of that, she wanted to create a platform that focuses more on personal
recommendations from friends, while ditching the negative or critical
reviews that can often hurt local businesses.
Anyone can sign up as a merchant or a regular user. Merchants can pay a
monthly fee to become a featured merchant, which means they are featured
on the homepage, blog, calendar, email newsletter AND promoted through
Merch Colony’s social media accounts. These highlights bring a lot of
attention to local businesses.
To drum up further user engagement on the site, Merch Colony has added an
events calendar. They’re also working on a new blog feature that will
dedicate even more spotlight to featured merchants, in addition to the
promotion through the newsletter, social media, and prominent positioning
within the app.
Visual Identity Rebranding
When first meeting with Lori in 2013, she wanted the Merch Colony brand to
seem fun, friendly and hip. We agreed that the previous logo was too
whimsical and unscalable to move forward with.
After deciding on a bee theme to match the name (sorry, ants), we went with
a bee stinger that doubles as a geolocation symbol. This symbol works well
with the brand’s goal of recommending small businesses within a city,
with plans to expand to future locations.