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NOWINCLUDED: A Trusted Place For the Black Community about Health

Today, as little as 2% of the US population takes part in clinical trials, and only a fraction includes individuals from the black community. This lack of representation created a system that overlooks and misdiagnoses members of the black community far more often than their white counterparts. 

Healthcare wasn’t built to treat or educate the black community, and therefore it is distrusted. However, the system can’t change without the participation of those it has outcasted.

Enter NOWINCLUDED

NOWINCLUDED, founded by Tiffany Whitlow and Del Smith, is an online community dedicated to empowering the black community to make better informed health decisions. The community shares relevant and credible resources to spark honest, open, and educated conversations about black health.

By providing access to trusted health resources, NOWINCLUDED is on a mission to encourage black people to participate in the research that is shaping the future of healthcare.

Problem

With an existing site and a community that had grown to thousands of people, Tiffany and Del were experiencing startup success and therefore ready to scale. Doing so would require taking a look at how their product and brand could help them attract, engage and retain members. 

Tiffany and Del realized they needed a product partner like Innovatemap with experience helping other startups like them scale. 

The Innovatemap client team included:

Solution

To help NOWINCLUDED achieve new heights, the initiative brought together almost all areas of our services. 

“The best outcomes of our work come when clients take advantage of all of our product offerings,” said Innovatemap Principal of Product Marketing and Brand, Leanna Adeola. “This is because we take a product approach to not just building the product, but marketing it. So we were thrilled when Tiffany and Del decided to bring us into every aspect of their business.” 

Together, we conducted user research, aligned on their product vision, and product marketing, branding and website development. After six months of collaboration, we produced a platform for members of the black community to share their health stories in a trusted, safe place. We co-created a new brand identity for NOWINCLUDED, and we provided strategies and activation deliverables to support brand awareness and partner acquisition.

To kick-off, we set the foundation by aligning on the business, product, and marketing strategies currently in play and Tiffany and Del’s overall vision. 

User research was essential to reach NOWINCLUDED’s audience. Tiffany and Del helped us understand the history of black experience in healthcare, and we researched their audience to find out how to best connect with them. Since NOWINCLUDED’s mission is centered around trust and honesty, we wanted to ensure that we were maintaining NOWINCLUDED’s credibility as a reliable source for the black community. 

This user research feedback was used to inform not only the product vision but also the brand discovery.

Leanna explained that “user research helped us define their digital product vision, and we used the feedback to establish their look and feel. We created materials to launch the brand appropriately. Because we worked on the product and their brand, we therefore could build a consistent brand identity and website. We provided best practices related to online experience, brand, and position in market.” As a result, our team enabled NOWINCLUDED to scale. 

Our brand team is very proud of the NOWINCLUDED brand. With bold typefaces, strong colors, and powerful placement of photography, every element of the brand tells the user you are now included. Your voice will be heard.

Tressa shared some of the inspiration from the brand, “photography and illustrations are very important to NOWINCLUDED. The people are very real, authentic, and diverse in age and socioeconomic status. The brand shows that you are included no matter what you look like, who you are, and where you are.” 

We helped NOWINCLUDED set the stage to turn their platform into a community that’s not limited by geography. The new site was built to encourage people to share their stories. Spencer said, “Our engagement included a recommended way to collect stories from people all over the country.” Using our experience from creating a digital community, we helped NOWINCLUDED shape the approach for theirs.

Takeaways

It’s not often that we get to work with a mission-driven organization where we’re helping a founder create a product that’s not for sale. NOWINCLUDED isn’t revenue driven. Leanna shared that NOWINCLUDED, “is a mission-led organization that closely ties to things I’m personally passionate about. I know that this is a very important cause, and that was the driving force for me to do great work.” We believe in what our team believes in. And we use our skills to contribute meaningfully to the projects and initiatives that we are passionate about. 

The exceptional NOWINCLUDED team was another reason our engagement was so successful. Our team described Tiffany as a “visionary with the passion and drive to ignite grassroots efforts.” Tiffany and her team were able to grow the NOWINCLUDED community to over 2,000 people through only her community and local connections. Tiffany has no shortage of big ideas that she brought with her to our engagement, which only enriches the outcomes of our collaboration. 

Tiffany spoke in-depth about how her vision and how NOWINCLUDED creates real change on the Better Product Podcast.

Leanna reflected on the engagement, “we paired the passion and energy of NOWINCLUDED’s founders with our methodology and processes. And that combination can create wonderful things that impact people’s lives.” 

The team emphasized their gratitude for the trust NOWINCLUDED extended to us. We are proud to be a partner and honored to be a part of the cause.