Coming in Clutch!

How Knight Eady helped an idea for a gameday parking solution grow into an award-winning national brand.

The Characters
Clutch! is a small startup solving a big problem: gameday parking.

Started by a team of avid sports fans frustrated with the downright awful experience of parking at sporting events, Clutch! is the modern gameday parking solution for fans, sellers and teams. Based in college football-crazed Birmingham, Alabama, the founders developed a peer to peer gameday parking app and started to test it in the nearby college town of Tuscaloosa, AL.

The Clutch! app makes gameday parking simple. With Clutch!, just download the app, reserve your spot and enjoy the game! This mobile marketplace for gameday parking connects fans searching for parking with sellers offering spaces near stadiums and event venues. Clutch! allows sellers with spaces near venues to not only list their spots, but set their price, arrival window and offer additional amenities, so they can get their gamedays back.

Setting the Stage
In 2017, we began working with Clutch!, tasked with helping develop the brand for this great idea, including the name itself. At Knight Eady, we know brands are more than just a cool logo.

Brand development is a multi-step process that includes understanding the client’s story, vision, product and needs, thoroughly researching the market and developing strategy before building the creative. So, we worked alongside the Clutch! team to learn more about gameday parking as a universal pain point and the technology they had built to solve it. Their vision was clear, but they wanted our help to bring their story to life.

Our goal was to create a full visual brand identity and messaging that would establish a foundation on which the brand could continue to build. A carefully crafted brand would allow Clutch! to break into the market swiftly, intentionally and dramatically with lasting impact. Knight Eady knew that despite not having a name or identity yet, Clutch! had a valuable product with an important story and a target market looking for an improved experience. The next step was to learn more from this target user’s experience, so we could tell the Clutch! story in a compelling and impactful way.

A Winning Game Plan

At Knight Eady, we believe strategy always informs creative. When assisting in brand development, it’s crucial that we first understand the product, what the product is trying to solve and ultimately what audience the product is trying to reach.

In this case, understanding the market was particularly important for determining how the Clutch! brand would come to life.

In August of 2017, after spending dedicated time with the startup founders, we began our external market research phase. We placed ourselves in the physical space of the problem, acting as first-time visitors unfamiliar to parking at Alabama. We had to get proximate in order to reach an understanding of the consumer’s pain points and the product itself through a new perspective. We conducted secondary research, looking into college athletic departments and other large events’ parking information and communication. We also created an evaluation of the key competitors in the space from city-wide parking applications to big parking data. Primary research led us to college campuses like Alabama, where we spoke with our target market: students, residents and commuting sports fans. We gained key insights that included market size based on available parking and game attendance (by cars), audience profiles of fans and sellers experiencing unique gameday parking struggles (ranging from having to remember to bring cash to having to stand in the heat for hours) and projections for the average amount spent per gameday on parking and hospitality. In conclusion, we gathered data on the unique ways that fans and sellers were losing time, money and the quality of their gameday experiences to parking.

Where Strategy meets Creative:
Introducing Clutch!

With strategic insights gained, we were ready to begin developing a narrative to inform the brand’s creative. Our data revealed common frustrations with the gameday parking experience, and our goal became clear: create a positive narrative that would allow consumers to feel excited and unburdened by gameday parking. After brainstorming, we landed on a phrase that would best exemplify this ideal: Get Your Gameday Back. Users could take back control of their gameday and be the hero in their own sports story. Get Your Gameday Back meant experiencing a personal win for a known difficult task, finding a parking spot on a hot, crowded gameday. The phrase also worked perfectly for both sides of the peer-to-peer market. Fans could get their gameday’s back by saving time, gaining a reliable location for parking, while sellers no longer have to waste their gameday standing outside for hours luring in desperate fans.

Once this narrative was established, we tackled the brand name. After some intense brainstorming sessions (that involved names like “Parq” and “Space Cowboy”), we landed on Clutch!, yes, with the exclamation point. Clutch! communicated everything we wanted to showcase about the product. It was clean, simple and different from similar parking products, hit the sports angle, captured the value proposition and alluded to a narrative sports fans understood immediately – that “clutch” moment – now applied to finding that last parking spot. When you’re “clutch” you are the hero, the savior of your gameday and your friend’s gameday. You’re stepping up to the plate under pressure, in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, and delivering time and time again. You’re hitting the last-minute, time-sensitive buzzer-beater. You’re the player your team can rely on.

In terms of the look, we believed Clutch! should be a bright blue to stand out from the SEC colors (its primary market) on gameday, not beholden to any school and easy to spot on campus. The “I’m” and “That’s” elements were created to further emphasize the hero narrative, particularly in the peer-to-peer market. This communicated to fans and sellers that they were a key part in growing the company and solving the primary parking problem (They are Clutch!). Additional elements like foam fingers, animated figures with face paint and cheering fans helped further make clear that this was a product made by fans for the fans. The animated characters would help humanize the brand by putting a face to the problem. The audience needed to visually see the disgruntled seller holding up a cardboard sign because they’ve been that person, and this allowed them to place themselves in the experience.

Finally, we chose a font selection that was legible, tall and in all caps. This showcased the urgency of the parking problem and the volume of gameday, while still maintaining a sports aesthetic and communicating that Clutch! was a sleek, innovative app. The exclamation point is no coincidence. Finding a parking space is tense and high stakes in the moment, and the exclamation point in Clutch! was added to convey the time-sensitive nature of the product and the boldness of introducing a new solution. Plus, gameday atmospheres are not exactly known to be quiet.

Getting the Win

Working with the Clutch! team to create a brand for their product set the stage for a successful first season and following year. The Clutch! brand not only won an American Advertising Federation Award for brand development, but saw considerable returns from its initial launch. In a little over a year, Clutch! sold over 10,000 passes across over 400 events in six different states, and signed four professional/collegiate organizations to official partnerships after developing a B2B version of their product for parking, ticketing and gameday management. Today, their mighty team of five are continuously building new features and exploring opportunities to bring new events to the Clutch! platform. For Clutch!, parking is only the beginning. For now, they continue to get gamedays back for thousands of fans and sellers.

Post Game Notes

Knight Eady now serves as Clutch!’s agency of record and works alongside its marketing department to assist with external marketing, advertising and brand strategy. We partnered with Clutch! to help them tell their story and establish a brand that would best represent their technology and position them well to achieve their goals. Now, Clutch! continues to tell their story through improved gamedays across the country.

With the help of Knight Eady, Clutch! was able to create, share and own its brand, anchored by innovative technology solving a universal pain point. Knight Eady knew and believed Clutch! would be a gamechanger for fan experience and helped guide the startup to create a brand that would bring that change to life.