A Branding Case Study: Part II

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Paruresis is a condition that affects more than 2 million Americans, and the International Paruresis Association is the only organization in the country that supports those who suffer from it. Yet membership and support were dwindling, they had an ineffective visual brand and their website was old fashioned and poorly designed. They needed help.

You can see a screenshot of their old website by clicking here: https://21thirteen.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ipa-old.jpg – and you can see their new, rebranded website by clicking here: http://paruresis.org/


In the first article of this series, we discussed the logo ( https://21thirteen.com/branding-case-study-part/ ). Now we move on to the all-important “emotional message”.


Sometimes called a “Micro-script”, this is a short statement, as defined by Bill Schley in his book, “The Micro-Script Rules: It’s not what people hear. It’s what they repeat…”, as the ‘bottom line of your brand’.

The emotional impact of the message is what makes it stick. The human mind seeks to simplify in order to understand, and we make snap judgements based on small bits of information which hit home, not on an “overall” comprehension of a subject. After all the evidence brought by the state in the murder trial against O.J. Simpson, his lawyer won the case with the simple statement, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit”.


We surveyed the Board and many prominent members of the International Paruresis Association, and we read messages on their bulletin board until we determined: how does someone who has this condition feel?

It’s actually quite a horrible condition, making it extremely difficult and even impossible to do anything from spending a few hours in a Mall to traveling for business or pleasure. The fact of the matter is that while cancer, AIDS, and many other terrible conditions are “socially acceptable”, the inability to urinate anywhere but in the privacy of your own home, alone, is something not easy to admit – something that people look at and go, “Well, what is the matter with them?!”, because it is not a physical condition, it’s a mental one which stems almost always from early trauma, particularly of a sexual nature.

Just as it’s terribly hard for the average person to admit to having been raped or molested, Paruresis is a condition most people have a very hard time admitting to. So, above all, how do they feel? Alone. Thus, the emotional message, “You’re Not Alone”.

Most importantly, this message contains what so many marketers go on and on about – the “pain” the potential consumer feels – AND it contains the pleasure as well – the problem AND the solution. In far fewer words, it says, “Yes, you may feel alone with the condition you have, but you’re not alone, because we understand and we’re here to help”.


In the next article we’ll continue with how we combined the logo, the emotional message, and the “banner” image to tell the story of the IPA in the first 1/25th of a second.

Interested in finding out how you can use branding to reach more people and become more successful? Email us at hello@21thirteen.com or call us at 646 808 0249 to find out more.