Every Business Has to Start Somewhere

Through brand and website development, tdg helped Dakota Institute build a foundation for success.

Starting a new business can be equally daunting, overwhelming, scary, and downright exciting. The laundry list of things to do is long. Where does one begin? Assuming there is a concept, i.e., filling a market void with a business opportunity, there are a few key steps that all businesses will likely go through—business plan, marketing plan, branding, communications strategy, financing, staffing, location, etc. 

Dakota Institute, a nonprofit economic research and analysis organization in Sioux Falls, S.D., recently underwent this process. 

tdg partnered with the Dakota Institute for two critical steps – brand and website development. 

Building a Brand 

The Dakota Institute is a nonprofit economic research and analysis organization that combines aspects of a traditional think tank with a new social entrepreneurship business model. They are modern, data-driven, and research-focused. They work to support economic growth in South Dakota and the Northern Plains. Their research and consulting benefit municipalities, nonprofits, private businesses, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers throughout their region. 

tdg worked with our client through various steps, including drafting a brand brief, messaging concepts, logo design, and a standardized style guide. In addition, tdg provided a variety of support pieces, including an email newsletter template, business identity materials, and other document templates.

    Using the Website as the Publishing Platform 

    With the brand and communications strategy formalized, tdg moved on to designing and developing a custom-built WordPress website. Our goal was to create an expandable, web-based publishing platform for all the economic research and analysis generated by the institute. The website had to be visually engaging while focusing on the data and analysis at the center of their work. 

    tdg achieved this through a variety of methods, including:

    • Overall design and style of the site blended the looks of academic and fin-tech market sectors.
    • Incorporated the use of illustrations for a high-spec feel and made it truly stand out. 
    • Created a robust cross-referencing system to connect topics, reports, and ideas. 
    • Created custom WordPress content display blocks that allowed us to dress up the content in a variety of ways
    • Integrated features included ADA compliance, responsive design, SEO best practices, large and bold imagery

    The Final Result

    Launched in Fall 2022, the Dakota Institute website immediately became a powerful marketing tool to reach its business-to-business clients. A high-spec website combined with a comprehensive messaging strategy, consistent brand usage standards, a tech-inspired logo, and complimentary marketing materials has positioned Dakota Institute for success in years to come. 

    By going far beyond a one-size-fits-all approach, tdg can execute a strategy that resonates with prospective clients and doesn’t erode when challenged. The results are consistent conversions, strong business relationships, and long-term success.

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