Branding UpPrize: The BNY Mellon Social Innovation Challenge

Roket was selected by The Forbes Funds to deliver the BNY Mellon Social Innovation Challenge to market. We jumped at the opportunity to put our firm’s entrepreneurial experience and brand skills to work to advance purpose-driven innovation in the Pittsburgh region.

UpPrize applies a new approach to community problem solving by supporting entrepreneurs whose technology had the potential to solve social challenges for the region’s nonprofits. Roket’s branding and Web development efforts included brand strategy and positioning, naming, brand identity design, website design, and front-end Web development for the Pittsburgh-based competition.

“We chose the team at Roket because of their impressive reputation in the regional startup community, their impeccable design sense, and their “yes, we can do that” attitude. We needed creative partners with technical competency who could both meet the expectations of our partner’s Fortune 500 global communications team, but also be hands on collaborators with us as we launched a new brand and platform from the ground up. We can’t overstate how valuable Roket’s partnership was for us on this project.

Matthew A. Zieger
Vice President at The Forbes Funds

Branding the Challenge

Our team began by laying a solid conceptual footing for the brand by way of the naming process.

In UpPrize, “Up” conjures up ideas of better financial and social opportunities, while “Prize” describes the tangible and intangible value our participants benefit from as a result of the process. Although simple, the name and concept quickly won over our clients.

The name also has a hint of “Uprise.” The similarities provided another level of story, although it is not directly referred to, in the contest’s messaging. It emphasizes the competition’s focus on those who are often overlooked and underserved in the community. These groups will finally receive the same technology and innovative ideas the for-profit companies have benefited from for years.

Our straightforward tagline of “Everyone Wins” was born from the challenge’s promise of mutual benefit and mutual success. We’ve used it throughout the marketing collateral to quickly communicate the core purpose of the challenge to participants and community alike.


Designing the Identity

UpPrize is centered on three challenges: Independence, Access, and Coordination. These themes were the result of multiple interactive sessions. The sessions welcomed more than 100 Pittsburgh non-profit organizations who identified the top challenges that most affected their missions. VIDEO: UpPrize Overview

Arts, science, education, health, nutrition and other concepts were incorporated into UpPrize’s identity to represent the various missions and themes of our participants. The illustrations were rendered in the shape of a large circle, which represents the collaborative and inclusive intentions of the challenge. As a hat tip to BNY Mellon, we incorporated some of their less-used accent colors into the UpPrize palette. The result is a flexible and vibrant palette that brings energy into the identity’s application.

Designing & Developing

UpPrize’s primary marketing outreach is through its website. Based on the results of an interactive group affinity diagram, we developed the site’s page and content hierarchy to ensure visitors had quick pathways to key information. Originally presented as rough sketches, we received client approvals and moved into wireframes, which allowed for a higher level of visual definition around typography, relative page structure, and content structure.

The website was built on a foundation of WordPress and the Bridge – Creative Multi-Purpose Theme and, of course, lots of custom CSS and JavaScript.

At Roket, we use WordPress for marketing websites, Shopify for eCommerce and Ruby on Rails for product development. We like being experts in what we use, so we keep the stack lean and focused.

The Bridge theme is our latest go-to because it’s one of the most complete out of the box. The built in Visual Composer allows us to construct responsive pages very quickly with a drag-and-drop interface for layout, content, images, and buttons.

We believe in efficiency; no client should have to pay to reinvent the wheel. Laying the foundation with Bridge’s Visual Composer gives our team more time to develop a more meaningful brand through items such as thoughtful animations, infographics, illustrations, photography, messaging, and other elements that help build a compelling experience.

We are thankful for the opportunity to work with our partners: The Forbes Funds, BNY Mellon, and the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania to advance purpose-driven innovation in the Pittsburgh region.

UPDATE: The UpPrize final event took place Friday, July 31 at the New Hazlett Theater. A big high-five to all of the teams for the great pitches. And congratulations to Conversant Labs who won a total of $400,000, and the two runners-up, Marinus Analytics and PHRQL who each won $200,000. Read the full writeup in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

If you are looking for a design, development, or brand partner, drop us a line at hello [at]