top of page
  • Writer's pictureTortuga Creative Studio

How values-driven branding supports conservation efforts in the Great Bear Rainforest

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

A Brand Values Case Study with Norm Hann Expeditions

As a leader in the industry, Norm Hann Expeditions (NHE) offers guided wilderness standup paddle adventures along the British Columbia coastlines to foster connection and protect, preserve, and respect the land, people, and the oceans of Canada’s West Coast.

Challenge: Create Brand Consistency

After years in the SUP business, Norm was working on growing his team of paddle guides and building a prominent presence in the coastal water sports industry when he approached Tortuga Creative Studios in 2021.

Although Norm Hann Expeditions was experiencing amazing growth and popularity, it lacked a strong, cohesive brand identity and Norm was seeing the effects of this problem trickle throughout his business. Norm had tried to bring his branding together and put it under one umbrella brand guide that everyone on his team –including himself– could use moving forward, but it just wasn’t working.

When Norm approached us, he was dealing with the ripple effects that flow from branding inconsistency and desperately needed a strong brand foundation to combat these issues. Norm’s values and purpose were floating beneath the surface, but they hadn’t yet been woven throughout everything he was doing within the Norm Hann Expeditions brand, but we knew we could help.

Strategy: Build Strong Brand Foundations

Norm’s brand is built on the deep ties he has with the British Columbia Coastlines and the indigenous people that call it home. With both his indigenous connections and his participation in bringing awareness to the environmental threats present along the coastline through adventure paddle expeditions, we knew going into the project that Norm had a very purpose-driven backstory that would easily flow into his overall brand foundations, including his brand values.

After signing up for a full brand field guide package with us, we dove deep into the research necessary to build out Norm Hann Expeditions’ brand foundations. We quickly discovered that Norm ran a very values-driven company but hadn’t yet fully realized the potential of these values and how deeply they can be woven into the NHE brand.

Even though Norm’s values were there, and they significantly influenced his overall brand purpose, he still lacked a consistent, easy-to-use brand identity which trickled into the brand issues he faced when he first approached Tortuga. To get his brand back on solid ground, we decided to really dial into his brand values and bring them front and center.

Norm Hann Expeditions Brand Field Guide - Created by Tortuga Creative Studio

Repositioning Norm Hann Expeditions Using Brand Values

To better reposition Norm Hann Expeditions as the one-of-a-kind, purpose-driven company that they are, we started by really diving deep into the core values that were critical to the company. After establishing his core brand values, Norm brought about the incredible idea to tie the spirit animals from the Great Bear Rainforest and British Columbian coastlines directly into his core brand values.

Not only do these spirit animals correspond perfectly with Norm’s values, but they also give a symbolic meaning to the deep connection he has with the coast and coastal communities.

  • Salmon: Connection - Seek deeper relationships with the wilderness and people to promote growth and transformation.

  • Raven: Culture - Create meaningful experiences that build empathy and respect with the indigenous community that stewards the coastlines.

  • Spirit Bear: Conservation - Educate and protect wild coastlines.

  • Wolf: Guidance - Lead, teach, and guide others towards confidence and growth.

  • Bald Eagle: Growth - Provide opportunities for growth through paddle adventures.

We knew he felt a strong connection between the places he loves and the values that drive him as a person and the values that drive his company and felt this approach was appropriate, memorable, and impactful for his brand, his team, and his customers.

With Norm’s brand values firmly in place, we built a rock-solid brand foundation that he now uses internally with his team to create a cohesive and consistent brand that personifies the Norm Hann Expedition’s company culture.

Result: Decisions Influenced by Brand Values

Brand values are the fundamental beliefs that guide a company’s brand story, behaviour, actions, and decision-making process. For Norm Hann Expeditions, we were able to see these beliefs come out to the forefront with a simple yet deceptively impactful decision to start using stampcards.

Norm wanted to offer a five-stamp punchcard for his customers to use as an incentive for repeat paddle adventures and to get them more involved and connected with the wild coastline of BC.

When he approached us with the idea of a punchcard, we thought about how we could tie this tiny piece of his business, this tiny card, into his brand values and his higher purpose.

After brainstorming, we decided to bring his big brand values to the front and center on this tiny punchcard. Each stamp or “punch” on the card would correspond with his five spirit animals/brand values. Additionally, each card would highlight the spirit animal and its corresponding brand value with further information on the card to learn more.

Punch cards created for Norm Hann Expeditions using his brand values

This decision opened up the opportunity for Norm and his team to display their values on a daily basis and initiate meaningful conversations with customers about the company’s values.

As brand strategists and designers, it was revolutionary to be able to highlight the often hidden elements of a brand (in this case, brand values) and not only make it a conversation piece but something Norm could be proud of.

To take this brand values case study one step further, we had to think about implementing these punchcards into Norm’s business without compromising his core value of conservation (Spirit Bear).

Due to his strong connection with the Great Bear Rainforest, an old-growth forest in BC, we wanted to steer clear of using tree-printed paper since its production necessitates the logging of trees. We also wanted to avoid using standard ink as it often contains chemicals that leach poison into the waterways and oceans that Norm works hard to protect.

The solution was to use cotton paper and plant-based ink for the punchcards and stamps, making them easily compostable for Norm’s customers at the end of their life cycle!

From a values-based perspective, the decision to use environmentally friendly punchcards supported Norm’s purpose of protecting, conserving, and increasing awareness around these wild coastlines and the Great Bear Rainforest.

Conclusion of Creating Strong Brand Values

With his new branding, Norm has seen firsthand how the seemingly, small business decisions he makes daily can be influenced by his values to serve his higher purpose.

We LOVE that by highlighting and making Norm’s values so central to his strategy, every decision he makes moving forward has sustainability and purpose top of mind.

In addition to solidifying his brand foundations, Norm was able to share his Norm Hann Brand Field Guide (made by Tortuga) with his team to achieve consistency, clarity, and alignment in the company’s overall branding. Now, Norm and his team can make decisions that align with Norm Hann Expedition’s values and purpose and move the company towards sustainable success.

Norm Hann

"Before working with Tortuga Creative Studio, there were loose ends with my brand. My business had grown and I needed to bring everything together so our messaging was consistent.

My partnership with Tortuga has laid out an effective brand strategy, field guide, and messaging for my business, and helped me find clarity in our brand. The work we did together and accomplished was invaluable to where our brand has come from, where we are at now, and where we are headed in the future.”

Norm Hann, Norm Hann Expeditions


Want to learn more about how we can help your outdoor business? Contact us today and let’s get started!


bottom of page