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Startup Digital Strategy

A Starting Point: Comprehensive Brand Development, Content Marketing, & Digital Strategy for Civic Engagement & Media Startup founded by “Captain America” Actor Chris Evans

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A Starting Point is a media & civic engagement startup founded by actor & “Captain America” star Chris Evans, director & producer Mark Kassen, and technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani. The organization sought us out for a comprehensive set of digital marketing services including brand development, expanding organic content initiatives, social media management, and paid media campaigns.


Media, Information, & Technology


A Starting Point (ASP)


Digital Strategy & Inbound Marketing

The Challenge

A new entry to the media landscape, the civic engagement app and digital news platform founded by “Captain America” star Chris Evans, producer & director Mark Kassen, and technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani had succeeded in garnering initial public attention. The organization, however, lacked consistency in brand presence and the high-quality cross-channel content that would be required to foster the requisite trust and professionalism needed to sustain continued growth. Seeking to remedy this, the client sought our services to overhaul its digital strategy and content production.

The Approach

After discussions aligning on vision, A Starting Point retained our services in a strategic overhaul of its digital presence & new inbound solutions. In order to address the primary challenges facing the client, we sought to implement a multi-pronged strategy that would see the development of a comprehensive brand initiative, content strategy, new social formats, & a dynamic asset generation workflow to establish & deepen process equity for the organization. Over time our relationship with the client would deepen to cover additional services, including paid media campaigns, email marketing, direct SMS messaging, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and more.

Digital Marketing Solutions

Brief Summary

The client, A Starting Point, is a media & civic engagement startup, founded by actor and “Captain America” star Chris Evans, director and producer Mark Kassen, and technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani. This project showcase includes details about scope, method, process, and client results. It is told chronologically to guide you through our approach. For those who would prefer a simple, brief summary of project services and our results, we’ve included the short descriptions below. If you would like more details about the process, feel free to skip these summaries by hitting the “Scroll to Details” button.

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The client, A Starting Point (ASP), is a civic engagement app and digital news platform founded by “Captain America” star Chris Evans, producer & director Mark Kassen, and technology entrepreneur Joe Kiani. As part of a multi-channel approach, our marketing services included brand development, content strategy, social media management, paid media campaigns, email marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and more.

The results were highly successful, including a more than ten-fold increase in content production and output, a near tripling of the client’s monthly organic audience reach, and paid media campaigns that outperformed industry standards by multiple degrees of magnitude.

“Since launching in July 2020, the nonpartisan ASP has grown into a reputable civic media brand viewed by millions of Americans monthly.”

Deadline Hollywood
April 2020

our strategy

Driving growth and value creation through self-reinforcing strategic initiatives

We initiated our approach with the devisement of a strategy to meet a series of mutually-reinforcing objectives. Each supporting the furtherance of another, these goals would align for strategic impact: build a consistent & professional brand image, develop content to match, and extend the value, reach, and efficacy of this content through a new process to dynamically generate brand-consistent, cross-channel assets.

At the core of ASP’s mission, impartiality, objectivity, and simplicity were essential pillars of our new messaging architecture.

We began by developing a brand style guide for visual & copy collateral that aligned with these values. This style guide then formed the foundation of engaging, new content formats.

These formats were then standardized and integrated into a fully modular content production process. Utilizing the latest Adobe Creative Cloud features (“Essential GraphicsMOGRT Libraries), we built a simple, replicable process for generating entirely dynamic, high-quality brand assets.

This shared library served both our content team and the client’s in-house editing team, enabling ASP to respond consistently & swiftly to urgent news. In the ever-changing media landscape, this exponentially amplified output capability and the value of the client’s content archives.

“Politicos talking policy may seem like heavy fare for the TikTok cohort, but the venture has so far defied gravity. It has more than 140,000 Instagram followers and 72,000 followers on Twitter—big numbers for politics-only content, especially given the site’s non-partisan approach.”

"Chris Evans Was Captain America. Now He Wants to Help Gen Z Reshape US Politics" |
April 2020

brand development

Developing consistent professional standards to communicate core values clearly and effectively

The client found itself quickly receiving significant nationwide attention, both in traditional media and digitally; however, still in the early stages of its startup lifecycle, its brand identity had yet to be fully explored, outlined, and solidified.

We began by exploring the core principles of the organization, using these to serve as the conceptual pillars for each aspect of its brand strategy and subsequent collateral. A unique aspect of ASP’s value proposition, the direct connection of elected leaders to their constituents, our communications strategy would echo this filter-free, straightforward style.

From typography, color palettes, and standardized asset formats to both visual style and copy tone, these values of integrity, simplicity, and approachability were infused into our approach.

We developed the organization’s first brand style guide to unify external messaging and clarify internal values to both employees and contractors added to the team over the following year. This style guide would serve as the foundation of continued brand growth and expansion of ASP’s digital presence.

“The platform’s social media team pushes out potentially newsworthy clips … the [Angus] King clip was viewed more than 400,000 times on [ASP’s] Twitter account, compared with the 10,000 who caught in on CNN’s social media.”

Washington Post
"Captain America is trying to … captain America" | October 2020

digital content

Building process equity with a dynamic workflow for social media management

Initially, the client’s digital presence consisted primarily of company updates, news, and launch information. While some effort had gone into attempts to find a way to voice the expanding core content (lawmaker interviews, topic coverage, e.g. “Daily Points”) of the platform, the assets lacked a visual consistency and a repeatable workflow for production—see “Before & After” example below—particularly true on social media, a core pillar of support for ASP.

Now facing the opportunity and pressures of a public spotlight, A Starting Point required a sustainable path to expand and refine its content production. Our strategy included methods for quickly iterating both urgent, time-sensitive content and developing new formats to utilize ASP’s extensive library of archival content (e.g. “Starting Points”—interviews on core, evergreen topics).

We brought on political science experts and copywriters with a public policy background to develop accurate domain-specific content on a variety of topics including public health, the economy, international affairs, and more.

Our design team built new, engaging motion graphics for social formats (including “Explores,” “Explainers,” “Trending Points,” “Counterpoints” and more) that would each communicate in a distinct style to provide the audience with consistent, familiar expectations. Each format would serve similarly as a unique “TV series;” with the social teaser “trailers” providing valuable but brief tease of what to expect, driving traffic to the website and app platforms.

We developed innovative systems to standardize & expedite content generation in broadcast mediums, including the creation of a shared Adobe Creative Cloud library for VFX elements & MOGRTs that served a team of over 15 video editors, enabling content output to scale ten-fold.

Our aim was to build process equity for the client, creating a method for copywriters, designers, video editors, and content teams to make each contribution without friction or delay. Standardized elements (both still and motion graphics) including lower-thirds, overlays, callouts, media containers, and more were formed into modular “building blocks” to include in both existing and new asset templates, enabling agile and responsive content iteration.

This cutting-edge approach earned our agency praise from industry peers, including the honor of a community nomination as a requested speaker at the international Adobe Max conference.

After developing this dynamic workflow, we continued our work together with a focus on strategic assessment and tactical execution. Providing social media management services, we covered the planning, creation, and implementation of promotional content for live events and core organic content. Additionally, on the tactical level, we seized upon further opportunities utilizing tools including Community (SMS Messaging) and Later (“LinkInBio”), leading users to specific content upon release, generating 50% more web traffic in the first month alone.

View Before/After

For more technical information on our workflow process, see the following resource pages on Adobe Creative Cloud Shared Libraries, the Essential Graphics feature-set (built within After Effects and executed through Premiere), and the Adobe Max Conference.

Monthly Audience Reach
Organic Content Production
ASP Instagram Feed (Before/After)
ASP Instagram Feed
Before (Left), After (Right)
Instagram Feed | Before/After Before
Instagram Feed | Before/After After

“Because it’s short-form media, we’re engineered to be social … The key is to use modern tools to push out content that’s tonally different from what you might find on modern cable news. Or on social media.”

Mark Kassen, co-founder of A Starting Point
Washington Post | "Captain America is trying to … captain America" | October 2020

email marketing

Developing communications strategy to segment, target, and engage audiences on new channels

In the lead-up to ASP’s launch, the client garnered a significant amount of email list subscribers; however, this list remained dormant without the infrastructure or strategy to implement the channel. We saw a tremendous opportunity to deepen engagement with specific content releases and to drive traffic to the website & mobile app with a well-structured email campaign strategy.

Establishing the information architecture for the channel, we aimed to continue our successful approach from other digital methods: developing standardized, iterable content formats that remain both flexible and familiar. This included a weekly newsletter with regular sections (e.g. “Weekly Points,” “Intro Points,” etc.), a monthly updates series for the client’s education product “ASP Homeroom,” and special events or one-off campaigns.

In the ever-shifting news environment, it was essential for our implementation to utilize modular building blocks for each campaign—sections for archival content, breaking news, special events, and promotions, to be slotted in or out as needed. Initial templates were designed with the highly-dynamic third-party platform Postcards by DesignModo, with subsequent iterations custom built directly into the Mailchimp client itself.

The strategy proved highly successful, serving an audience of 125,000 subscribers with open rates and CTRs (click-through rate) exceeding industry standards, as a powerful new channel driving traffic, product engagement, and boosting WAUs. Additionally, audience segmentation and custom surveys would aid us in identifying core interests more broadly.

Email Campaign Management: ASP Weekly Newsletter (Mailchimp)
Email Campaign Management: ASP Weekly Newsletter (Mailchimp & DesignModo)

partnerships & paid media campaigns

Building credibility, reputation of quality, and garnering increased exposure through meaningful partnerships & campaigns

Building momentum towards the project goal of improving brand recognition and trust, we worked closely with the client to execute highly successful partnerships and content collaborations with external organizations.

Facilitating these partnerships, we set strategy for, coordinated, and implemented multi-stakeholder campaign strategies with large media organizations including MTV/Viacom, Newsweek, SXSW, and WebSummit.

This included leading content strategy & social media planning for the initiatives, working closely with the partner’s in-house team to coordinate publication of shared assets and promotional campaigns.

Managing ASP’s social promotional strategy, we lead incredibly successful in-house campaigns for the client, with results including campaign CTRs (click-through rate) in excess of 70% on Twitter at 91% lower CPCs (cost-per-click), outperforming industry standards by multiple degrees of magnitude. Additionally, we partnered with leading digital agency Klientboost to generate paid media strategy & creative assets for social and PPC campaigns, including multi-touchpoint funnel design.

Newsweek Content Partnership | Generation Z: Special Events & Branded Series
SXSW Edu Content Co-Promotion | Connected in Class (ASP Homeroom)
WebSummit Content Co-Promotion | Conference on News, Media, Information
MTV Organic Content Partnership | Vote Early Day

client results

Establishing brand renown, expanding audience reach, and building process equity with an integrated marketing strategy

The results were highly successful, including a more than ten-fold increase in content production and output, a near tripling of the client’s monthly organic audience reach, and paid media campaigns that outperformed industry standards by multiple degrees of magnitude.

Additionally, our content marketing and social media management services lead to a 150% boost in social followers (YoY), generating over 1.5 million monthly video views consistently across the channels and contributing more than $40M EMV through organic social content.

motion graphics & asset gallery

Driving engagement with consistent formats that communicate predictably, clearly, and develop familiarity with the brand

A defining feature of ASP’s content strategy, the use of motion graphics, animations, and video assets brought life to a subject area typically considered to be uninspired and prosaic. This use of engaging, dynamic assets proved to be a core differentiator for the client and its audience base.

As traditional still frames or portfolio snapshots may fail to do justice to the proper “look & feel” of the ASP brand, it is pertinent to give a more full picture. Seeking to breathe the same life into our display of the assets as with our creation of them, we included a small sample gallery in the visual mockups alongside.

iPad Landscape

Project Results & Case Study

The results were highly successful, including a more than ten-fold increase in content production and output, a near tripling of the client’s monthly organic audience reach, and paid media campaigns that outperformed industry standards by multiple degrees of magnitude.

A full case study is available in PDF format here.

Social Following
Organic Content Production
EMV Growth

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