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LPK Positions Online Start-Up and Cincinnati Innovates Winner Canopi for Launch

When Erin Flynn started her fashion blog Reality Chic in 2009, she searched for a one-stop online social network that would connect her with other bloggers and readers who shared her fashion- and beauty-related interests.

She was unable to find a single resource to address her need.

“I continuously encountered the same struggles as a blogger and annoyances as an avid reader,” Erin says. “First, there is not a currently available central location to discover new blogs and read current ones you love. Second, there is no single location or opportunity for bloggers to gain an active support system, show off their expertise or get recognized for their content and accomplishments.”

These problems motivated Erin and her co-founders, Amy Flynn, John Back and husband Colin Flynn, to create Righting Style, a central online source to easily connect readers—including businesses and brands—to the top fashion blog content.

Fast-forward one year later to the 2012 Cincinnati Innovates competition, where LPK recognized their entrepreneurial efforts with an award for $10,000 worth of strategy and design services.

The competition, whose goal is to inspire, foster and award innovation, is in its 3rd year of showcasing transformative ideas. Out of the more than 200 entries in this year’s competition, the Righting Style startup idea grabbed LPK’s attention because of its focus on addressing an unmet user need.

“When we found out LPK had chosen us we couldn’t have been more thrilled to get to work with their experts,” Erin says.

After doing an initial immersion session with Erin and Colin, the LPK team suggested the Flynns concentrate their branding and marketing efforts behind Canopi, the umbrella parent company they had created, versus attempting to build equity for multiple category brands.

“When we met, Colin and Erin already knew they wanted to expand the Righting Style idea beyond fashion, so they needed an approach that would allow their fledgling start-up to easily—and cost effectively—scale into additional categories like parenting, food and home design,” says Brand Director Debra Ruffing. “Focusing on Canopi was our first recommendation.”

After identifying Canopi as the master brand, LPK built a comprehensive equity model that the startup co-founders could use in guiding their communication development for their primary consumer audiences and investors. By detailing the key building blocks of the brand’s foundation as well as a few main messaging statements, including the tagline, the equity model serves as the team’s brand roadmap in articulating the Canopi proposition.

“Our biggest struggle was in communicating our vision and the overview of our idea,” shares Erin. “The most significant moment was when we saw the final brand equity process. It gave us amazing talking points.”

The Canopi equity model also served as the LPK design team’s guidepost in brandmark development. Visually expressing the core benefit of the brand, the final identity positions Canopi for its debut and future growth.

“The outcome was tremendous. We were hoping to gain a better grasp on our brand identity along with advice on the best ways to communicate our message,” says Erin. “LPK gave us what we needed to catapult into launch.”

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