At Planet, we have the privilege of working with clients from all over the country – Ohio, Tennessee, Chicago, New Jersey, and every now and again, in our own backyard. In the case of The Studio Yoga, “local” means close enough to have a conversation in the hall of the historic Machinery Row building on the shores of Madison’s Lake Monona that we both call home.
Planet’s relationship with The Studio – and its owner Kathleen Slattery-Moshkau – goes way back. Since then, Planet’s Senior Account Executive (and all-around good egg) Sarah Koler has deepened the ties through her own intensive yoga study. While The Studio has always drawn people through its doors looking to use the practice of yoga to change their lives, Kathleen wanted to turn outward and make yoga more accessible to those who might not typically be exposed to its benefits. When the time came to follow-through on the idea she had dubbed “Street Yoga,” Kathleen turned to Sarah to help bring the program to life. In turn, Sarah convinced Planet to brand the effort.
After narrowing the program’s focus to school-aged children (who are generally open to new experiences and are happy for any opportunity to release energy), Sarah asked Planet Writer Joel Thomas (who’s since moved on to a happy new home in Chicago) to name it, which started by riffing on a cornerstone of Yoga culture, “namaste.” From that root, Namadu Yoga was born. By leaning into something at once familiar and fresh, we brought some soul and grit to the brand.
Next, we produced a “mantra” meant to put a fine point on what the program is all about. It begins, “Namadu is a community of students who learn, play, and recharge through the practice of yoga in a laid-back, supportive environment. It isn’t about judging or being judged. It isn’t about doing something because it’s easy. And it DEFINITELY isn’t, ‘who can stand on their head the longest?’ Namadu is about turning boredom on its head. It’s being who you want to be and empowering others to do the same. It’s, ‘Wow! I didn’t know I could do that.’” Simultaneously, Planet Designer Katie Garth went to work on a logo design and graphic direction to convey the funky nature of Namadu while appealing to the playful nature of the young audience.
At the same time Planet was digging into branding, a pilot was offered through MCSR ‘s after-school program at Georgia O’Keefe Middle School. Taught by Tiffany Hurad, the pilot was vital in gathering the information needed to understand what worked and what didn’t, what was possible and what wasn’t. As Sarah noted, “Without Tiffany, we wouldn’t know what we know.” The main takeaway was that while the afterschool program was great, it needed to reach more kids if it was going to make a difference. With that insight in-hand, Kathleen suggested that a pitch be made to include Namadu Yoga as a unit in Madison Metropolitan School District’s Physical Education program.
With the learnings from the pilot program in-hand, Sarah was able to get the MMSD on-board. Namadu Yoga is now being offered as a unit in the 5th grade P.E. curriculum. The program launched on November 4, at Lowell Elementary, and was taught by Jessica Winkler. Jess was joined by assistants Jennifer Peshek and Kristy. Namadu will launch at Schenk Elementary on March 1, taught by Tiffany Hurad.
Planet Propaganda welcomed the opportunity to lend our expertise to help Namadu Yoga, our neighbor, and Sarah Koler do a world of good.