An illuminating alliance.


Allies Against Slavery is a cause-oriented non-profit which fights against the modern day equivalent of slavery, human trafficking. HOTS was tasked to explore and identify the values, ideals, and mission of the brand to create a consistent and cohesive messaging framework. Using that framework, we then focussed on creating a brand identity for their breakout software product which helps identify and support victims at risk. Finally, we designed, built, and launched a new website which more accurately reflected their new messaging identity.








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HOTS showed a tremendous capacity and skill for listening deeply, translating what they heard into clear and powerful messaging, and visually capturing the story and values embedded in those messages through beautiful design. They were true partners, not a vendor, who cared as much about our mission shining in the world as we do. We’re better positioned to tell our story and motivate change than ever before.
John Nehme - President & CEO - Allies Against Slavery

John Nehme - President & CEO - Allies Against Slavery

messaging framework

Allies Against Slavery is a Texas-based non-profit tackling one of the most disturbing and unacceptable crimes in our society. Allies connects the dots between community resources, data sets, and individuals who are being exploited or at risk through a variety of initiatives. In 2018, the focus of Allies was the to update brand messaging, refresh the website, and re-brand their victim screening and identification software.

In order to accurately and effectively speak to the mission and values of Allies Against Slavery, HOTS started with a messaging framework exercise. HOTS took stakeholders, customers, donors, and field professionals through a series of exercises to clarify the true benefits of the tool and organize the most compelling and differentiating product features into a messaging framework.

Whenever we start a messaging framework exercise, we begin with the a blank Mind Map and spreadsheet. As we interview stakeholders, pillars begin to take shape, from there we refine and iterate until we land on a final version.

Once the new messaging was approved, we directed our attention toward rebranding the victim identification software tool. The software, previously known as “The Tier-One Screening Tool” helps field professionals efficiently pinpoint warning signs in potential victims and intervene. We knew in order to maximize Allies’ efforts, we needed to make sure their software was treated with the same branding effort as other consumer facing software tools. This required a little more messaging exploration, so, we went back to the Mind Map.

In naming the software, we wanted to land on a name that stood for hope, as a signal in the darkness while somehow uniquely tying back to the Texas roots. See above how we ultimately landed on the Lighthouse name. Both Heart of the Sun and Allies loved the call back to the famous Lighthouse Rock at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas. So we went to work trying to turn the rock formation into a logo.

One of the most difficult things you can do in design is to know when it’s time to abandon a concept. Ultimately, that’s exactly what we did with the Palo Duro concept. While we thought the above designs were strong, both Allies and HOTS agreed, it wasn’t quite right. We scrapped the idea and went with something more literal.

Great web design isn’t just about aesthetics, maybe even more importantly, it needs to serve the target audience.

With the Allies team rallied around the new messaging and software branding, it was time to give it all a new home at alliesagainstslavery.org which more accurately reflected the new brand direction. Great web design isn’t just about aesthetics, maybe even more importantly, it needs to serve the target audience. In the case of Allies, we needed to serve two audiences. Potential software users such as case workers, healthcare professionals, and administrators needed to be able to understand Lighthouse while other visitors might want to become sustaining donors. The information architecture and user experience of the site were designed to parse and satisfy both of these audience while delivering on the market-tested messaging. Historically, Allies used a dark and heavy color palette to echo the severity and importance of human trafficking. In our redesign however, we chose a new bright color scheme we felt more accurately reflects the hope and progress Allies continues to achieve. Combining these colors with an asymmetrical grid layout created a more modern look and feel which mirrors the company’s forward thinking software solution and ambition of the young men and women behind the organization.

We are proud to work for a client so brave and relentless in its effort to reduce suffering and restore dignity - in our community and around the world. By applying the same techniques we use to message consumer and B2B products in a simple and compelling way, HOTS was able to support Allies Against Slavery in reaching a user base that is overdue for impactful solutions.