The Holly Health Brand Concept

October 12, 2020

My cofounder, Claire, and I (Grace) started Holly Health to address a significant human challenge. To support millions of individuals to give their bodies and brains the best chance of disease prevention and health optimisation. Learn more about the challenge in our words, here.

Our solution involves the introduction of small, consistent healthy habits, to meet individual health needs and goals. Habit change is something we struggle with on our own, particularly in our fast paced lives, often full of distraction and stressors. We’ve built Holly Health to be the missing piece in our behaviour change efforts. Holly coaches you through the prioritisation, introduction and achievement of small actions, for significant results. In this post, I’m going to give you a view into our strategic thinking and introduce you to our new brand concept!

Taking a new health product to millions of people is no small feat. In our eyes, the early success of Holly Health relies on being exceptional across 3 main pillars.

  1. Product
  2. Distribution
  3. Brand

Pillar 1: PRODUCT

Firstly, the Holly Health product. It must provide an amazing user experience, be affordable and scalable to as many as possible, and produce desired and sustainable results.

The product comes before anything else, and we’ve spent the first 7 months since company incorporation learning from potential users, designing, and testing, to get it right. Holly Health is science led and is designed by neuroscience, psychology and behaviour change experts. Initial tests showed great results.

We’re obsessed with building a service which we love to use ourselves — from the tone of voice, to the emojis we choose to use 🤓, to the efficiencies in each user experience element. There’s always loads of room for improvement, but now we’re almost ready to unleash our beta product into the wild (October 2020). And importantly, we’re built for scale — being a fully digital, yet personalised service enables this.


Ultimate success for us is getting Holly Health into the hands of millions of those who need the service the most — no matter what their background or income level. This will be achieved using two main routes. Taking the service directly to the individuals who will benefit from it (i.e. direct to consumers). And partnering with organisations who will further accelerate our ability to deliver to more people (B2B2C). Both approaches require a great product, a memorable brand, and a clever and forward thinking business development strategy. We can dig into that another time. For now, I want to focus on the importance of brand.

Pillar 3: BRAND

Having an awesome product with a poor or mediocre brand in 2020 is not enough. Why? Because a product on its own is unlikely to be memorable enough. Even if every customer tells one or two friends about an amazing new service they’ve tried, if there’s no clear, enticing and memorable brand (featuring visuals and personality), the referral will swiftly be forgotten.

You could argue that some healthcare products don’t need a strong brand if they’re being distributed by other organisations, like the NHS or a health insurance company. But, in our case, we disagree. Distribution through others still relies on person to person referrals for the type of growth we’re looking for.

‘Having an awesome product with a poor or mediocre brand in 2020 is not enough’

When it comes to decisions around new products or services (particularly in healthcare and digital services), people trust information from other people more than any other form of information — word of mouth is everything.

Let me give an example. If Holly Health is made available to health insurance policy holders, that doesn’t mean automatic uptake. It’s not the insurer’s responsibility to spend marketing money getting people to use a third party service. An early adopter may be intrigued and decide to give it a go. Then, after enjoying the service, they mention it to a family member who could also benefit— they might say — ‘it’s called Holly Health, with the bird logo’. The family member forgets about the recommendation and even the name, but a couple of months later they see an email from their health insurer, highlighting new digital services available to them. Holly Health is included, the family member notices the bird logo, and remembers the recommendation. Psychologically, that can be enough of a trigger to enrol onto the service.

Why am I mentioning a bird 🤔? Read on to find out…

The Holly Health Brand Identity

There are so many brand identity directions you can take a health product in. Knowing that Holly Health will be distributed by healthcare providers and insurers, it can be tempting to build a brand for them — with a slick, professional, but probably quite boring, healthcare feel about it. This is done well by companies like Changing Health, Livongo and Lark. But, when we’re talking about a service which involves daily engagement and interactions, who wants to look at pictures of blood pressure monitors and seas of bluey/greeny colour shades? We knew we wanted to stand out in a crowded space, promote playfulness, and make thinking about healthy habits fun and motivating. This is where our colour palette, fonts, and illustration style came from.

The Holly Bird

Central to the Holly Health brand, is the Holly Bird.

The decision for Holly Health to be represented by a bird is less random than you may be assuming. Something very helpful for our service’s success, is remembering that we are animals 🦍🦒🐘, and all living animals have basic biological needs which evolved over millions of years. The Holly Bird is a reminder that through looking after our evolved body and brain, in a way that it was designed for, we as individuals can thrive.

So, the Holly Bird supports, educates and encourages individuals, in a friendly and informative way, as their personal habit coach. We genuinely enjoy seeing the Holly Bird popping up in our notifications.

Holly is also a reflection of each individual’s progress. As an individual’s physical and psychological health improves, so does the Holly Bird — its mood lightens, its energy levels increase, and it may even start to fly. This serves as a reminder that we are as healthy as the people around us and we often reflect the mood, energy and habits of our closest connections.

On the specific design. The Holly Bird is a brand new bird, though it resembles a few types of finch (an internationally recognisable species, but with many types originating from Britain). Its wing colours reflect the four habits types we support people to achieve: nutrition (green), exercise (orange), sleep (purple) and psychology (blue).

We love the Holly Bird, but it’s a little detailed in its full form to be incorporated into a logo. Holly has a great side profile though…so we thought it made sense to show this off in our logo:

We’ve gone for a clear, clean and memorable design here. Thank you to The League design agency, who have been great to work with on the entire brand concept. Shortly, all the design elements you’ve seen will come together on our website,

Closing Comment & Hiring Soon

As you can tell, we’re open communicators. There are a few reasons for this. Rightly or wrongly, we don’t fear competition. There’s plenty of space in this problem area for multiple parties, and competition is ultimately healthy. We believe that clear lines of communication between a company and its external stakeholders can only lead to good things — better product awareness, more opportunity for feedback and development, and encouragement of further innovation.

We’re well and truly on a moving treadmill and in the coming months, we’ll be growing our team, particularly in engineering and UX roles. If Holly Health sounds like the type of place you’d like to work, reach out to us using [email protected].