People spend an estimated $1B in Central Oregon every year, with the majority of the money flowing through Bend.
America’s fastest-growing town boasts a booming local business scene that acts as the backbone to the prosperous economy. However, while there’s no problem getting what you want in Central Oregon, there is a problem with giving to those in need.
That’s exactly the problem that the founders of Supportist, Bend’s local coupon app, set out to solve.
They developed what they’d call a “win-win-win” model: Local supportists pay a small monthly fee to access discoverable deals by local businesses, meanwhile, local nonprofits get 20% off the top of each member’s fee. All this works to build a generous, giving local community.
The model relies heavily on local businesses to offer product and service discounts to members. And it’s the members who provide revenue by paying for a Supportist membership—even though 20% of the membership fee goes directly to a local nonprofit.
And while giving is great, nobody is complaining about awesome discounts to the local places they shop every day. Except, there was one problem: Bend already had well-established local leaders in the coupon-ing category.
Building a coupon app is one thing. Entering a crowded category with well-established market leaders is another.
How could Supportist boldly enter a crowded category with established local market leaders—and take the lead?
The founders tried everything from coupon books to punchcards. They tried selling them door-to-door and through sports teams. But the idea wasn’t catching on.
The founders were determined to make a difference. There had to be a way.
Businesses were skeptical of investing in advertising in yet another local coupon book—and locals were already overwhelmed by the number of coupons they were already receiving in the mail. And without businesses or locals on-board, the model just didn’t work.
But the story doesn’t end there. Here’s how Structure helped Supportist find a big breakthrough.
When our founder first met Supportist over coffee at a local coffee shop, they’d already been through a couple of tough years of trial and error. To be frank, they were heading down a road of immanent startup death.
Supportist had a good idea . . . in fact, they had a great idea that solved a real problem for real people. But they felt stuck.
So, as we often do, we started seeking a deeper understanding of the challenge with branding research and in-person workshops. These revealed a few keen insights that helped Supportist think outside of the box.
We then used the data points to develop a Brand Framework that helped them find a breakthrough in their thinking and launch into a new season of product development and business growth.
“Simon and his team are exceptional marketing guides—and are worth their weight in gold. They’re pleasant and easy to work with. They’re organized and available. They’re process-driven. And, best of all, results-oriented.”Steve Swan, Founder of Supportist
Once we had built a strong framework for the business to build on, we set out building the product: an iPhone app.
Then we delivered a responsive website that was beautiful and stood out from the competition. We developed the site on Webflow so the client could easily update content and make copy changes without digging into code.
We dug in deeply to be a true partner that synthesized nuanced brand and complex technical information to create an app that represents the best of Bend.
In other words, we helped Supportist build their app from scratch through every step of the product development process—from strategy to shipment.
But we didn’t just consult from a distance. We dove into the trenches and designed every button and wrote every word. And thanks to a great development partnership between our team and a local developer, we ended up with a tremendous product that’s simple, easy to use, and works like a charm.
Uniting a local team
The last major challenge was that Supportist wanted to assemble a team that could product take their product forward into startup success.
As a true partner, we jumped in and helped build a multi-disciplinary team with a range of expertise to be deeply involved and thoughtfully vocal in all project stages. We all collaborated at every step, through weekly work sessions, active copy discussions, and work-in-progress sharing and conversations.
The entire Supportist team was enthusiastic and willing to be open and introspective, which allowed us to push boundaries and add unexpected interactive magic—while keeping the experience simple and clear.
Business is personal
Just as New York City never sleeps, work still continues on Supportist. We’re in close contact with the founding team and are continually involved in Supportist’s ongoing development.
To be honest, even the act of typing Structure and Supportist in this case study feels strange as our collaboration feels more like a personal friendship than it does a business relationship.
But we’re not complaining. This is exactly the kind of approach we aim to achieve in every project. Care over cash. Wellness over work. People over profit.
If you want to see what other clients have said about us and our work, you can do so here. We’ll look forward to talking to you soon.