Case Study: North Star Financial Services

2018-09-07T12:22:46+00:00September 5th, 2018|Blog Posts, Case Study, Company News, Our Projects|0 Comments

About the Client

North Star Family of Financial Services provides high quality investment strategies that address investors’ specific needs and objectives. The company’s audience includes both registered investment advisors and individual investors with a goal to help navigate clients’ portfolios through volatile markets while attempting to illuminate value and uncover unique investment opportunities. Hence, North Star’s tagline: “Guiding Investors. Navigating Markets. Illuminating Value.”

Founded in 2003, the company has offices in the historic Civic Opera House downtown Chicago and Highland Park, Illinois. The staff of 20 investment professionals holds more than 300 years of combined industry experience and manages more than $1.3 billion in assets for clients in 47 states and two countries.

Through North Star Investment Management Corp., the company provides SMA Strategies, Mutual Funds, Family Office, personal and corporate Benefits and Financial Planning to clients and boasts:

  • $1.055 billion in separately managed accounts
  • More than 1,800 separately managed investment advisory accounts
  • Comprehensive insurance solutions for over 500 individual clients
  • Benefit planning for over 100 corporate clients
  • More than $1 billion of in-force life insurance

The four managed North Star Mutual Funds offer a variety of investment strategies that seek to provide exposure to publicly traded stocks and bonds, establish long-term positions in high-quality businesses at the right price, and create a portfolio of securities typically undiscovered by most investors. Over $283 million are invested in the funds at the time of publication.

The Challenge

North Star’s brand and websites were grossly outdated and did not reflect an established company that progressively operates with expertise in the investment industry, as they are.

Original Logo and Website:

The original brand consisted of a complex compass icon and typography combining italic script initial caps and uppercase serif font. The identity didn’t accommodate the company’s sub-brands or brand usage.

The websites for North Star Investment Management Corp. (nsinvest.com) and North Star Mutual Funds (nsinvestfunds.com), though responsive, were not designed for positive user experience, particularly mobile users. The cluttered designs had poor readability with reverse type on a dark background, redundant navigation, hidden information in pop-up windows and pop-up PDF files, and no social media representation or search function.

Objective of the project was twofold:

  • To provide a new, comprehensive, identity system that accurately projected the company’s persona, experience and offerings.
  • To create a smart, streamlined, digital platform upon which up-to-date information could be presented and maintained by North Star.

Group 2 was selected for the project from three national firms based on the depth of content provided in our proposal and competitive pricing.

Group 2’s Solution

Our process began by providing North Star with detailed discovery questionnaires that asked the right questions. North Star’s follow-up built the foundation, which our recommendations and strategies were based on.

North Star Family of Financial Services Logo, Letterhead and Identity Standards Guide


North Star Mutual Funds Site Desktop + Mobile


North Star Mutual Funds Scrolling Desktop SiteEngaging our full creative team, we developed the identity recommendations and the website architecture concurrently. Great attention was given to ensure all content was incorporated in appropriate sections of the sites, which ultimately would increase usability and SEO. Project flow, client-to-team communication, concept presentations and chronological project archives were delivered efficiently through cloud-based project management tools, which included our project management system, Basecamp and the content development tool, Jumpchart.

North Star selected a contemporary iteration of their existing logo with a refined compass, contemporary serif font and updated color palette. Group 2 set forth in creating consistent sub-brands, the stationery package, Identity Standards Guide and coordinating website concepts.

From the three website concepts presented, North Star selected a sleek nautical theme, which worked well will the identity’s compass icon and company tagline. Companion sites were developed for North Star Investment Management Corp. and North Star Mutual Funds in WordPress to ensure usability on any device.

Both sites – developed in WordPress – presented an intuitive overview of offerings and site content through highly designed scrolling home pages, easy drop-down navigation and footers. Sub-pages were clean and content driven with minimal but strategic imagery.

Group 2 provided content management system training for two North Star employees along with function-specific user guides to ensure the sites are easily maintained and kept current.

View the new websites: nsinvest.com and nsinvestfunds.com

Results

The North Star Family of Financial Services identity is now equal to their services and expertise. They have an updated brand system, which accommodates all aspects of their business as well as guidelines for consistent usage. Their two websites are used as a go-to resource for product and service information and provide an up-to-date platform for new information. The sites are more often shared and visited.

You can always depend on Group 2 to help with your marketing and website needs. Let us help you create a competitive edge and make your prospects have a great mobile experience. Call us today at 412.605.0834, ext. 3000 or reach us by email at info@group2.com.

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