Tue, 02-26-2013 by Julia Reich

Why I love working with the food sector

I love to cook. And I love to eat. And because it's important to me to know where my food comes from, I love to shop for food - especially at farmer's markets or roadside stands (where I live in central NY state, many of my neighbors sell their homegrown produce, fruit, maple syrup, honey, or eggs along the side of the road. My favorite secret spot, a fleeting culinary treasure, is the orchard that sells - for maybe only 2 weeks out of the whole summer - apricots. Imagine - sweet, dripping, fresh apricots! On the east coast!). A former NYC-based vegetarian, for nearly 15 years I was a member of a CSA where I picked up my weekly share of veggies from an upstate farm.

I love to cook. And I love to eat. And because it's important to me to know where my food comes from, I love to shop for food - especially at farmer's markets or roadside stands (where I live in central NY state, many of my neighbors sell their homegrown produce, fruit, maple syrup, honey, or eggs along the side of the road. My favorite secret spot, a fleeting culinary treasure, is the orchard that sells - for maybe only 2 weeks out of the whole summer - apricots. Imagine - sweet, dripping, fresh apricots! On the east coast!). A former NYC-based vegetarian, for nearly 15 years I was a member of a CSA where I picked up my weekly share of veggies from an upstate farm.

About six years ago my husband and I moved to a rural area in the center of the state - the Finger Lakes, not only a beautiful region, but also a culinary hot spot and dripping with wineries. Sure, it was a enormous transition, but I relished the thought of living closer to the farms and markets that are the source of my food. And for the first time in my adult life I started to eat meat - once I got to know which farms were raising livestock using sustainable, humane practices.

Food produced sustainably, it seems to me, is one of life's primary elements. It all starts there. It is the basis of the health of the environment, my personal health, and for my family who eat the food I cook.  Everything flows from health: physical energy, mental acuity, emotional balance.

That's why, when I opened my creative studio in 2001, those organizations in the farming, nutrition, education, and other food advocacy sectors - along with culinary or food-based businesses -  became my favorite clients to work with. I have a lot of admiration for the amazing work these groups are doing to change the way we eat.

Like FoodCorps, who are addressing childhood obesity by increasing children's knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. (click here to see a case study of our work with FoodCorps)

Like School Food FOCUS, who assists many of the nation’s largest school districts in wielding their high-volume purchasing power to make more healthful, regionally sourced, sustainably-produced school food available to kids - thereby supporting student achievement and health while benefiting farmers, regional economies, and the environment. (click here to see a case study of our work with School Food FOCUS)

Like GrowNYC, who produce the fabulous Greenmarkets throughout NYC (noshing my way through the Union Square Greenmarket is one of my all-time favorite pastimes) as well as a whole host of other environmental education, gardening and recycling initiatives. (click here - and here too! - to see case studies of our work with GrowNYC)

...

Our foodie client list isn't just limited to nonprofits. We're pleased as punch to work with local food advocates in the for-profit sector, too - caterers, wineries, milk & yogurt processors, restaurants, stores, consultants and more -  such as Cater to You, King Ferry Winery, Hawthorne Valley Farm, and Elmhurst Dairy.

At Julia Reich Design, my expert creative team and I continue to be dedicated enthusiasts to supporting great food-based missions with creative, thoughtful, and effective marketing and design.

Thu, 11-15-2012 by Julia Reich

Not Your Grandma’s Pie Chart: an E-book on Infographics for Nonprofits

infographics_resources_JuliaReichDesign

This e-book of resources is a follow up to a webinar presented by Julia Reich on 11/14/12.

If you'd like learn more about the presentation, and nonprofitmarketingguide.com, please visit http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/resources/webinar-for-pass-only-template-page/infographics-for-nonprofits/

 

infographics for nonprofits - resources from JuliaReichDesign

infographics_resources_JuliaReichDesign

If your organization is like most, you have piles of data that you think would be helpful to your readers and supporters. But who wants to wade through a 50 page report filled with statistics?

Information design and data visualization can turn your organization’s pile of data into understandable visuals, giving your constituents the right information to make choices, learn something new, or engage in a campaign.

These visuals need to be well-designed, since good design helps non-profits clearly explain needs and goals. They also need to be backed with substantial data that defines them. Your organization will be better positioned to solve the world’s problems if your infographics are clear, compelling, and convincing.

 

Wed, 09-26-2012 by Julia Reich

live upcoming webinar: “Not Your Grandma’s Pie Chart: Infographics & Data Visualization for Nonprofits”

Take all that data you have and turn into something people will actually look at and understand.

 

Julia Reich, Principal of Julia Reich Design will be leading a live webinar on Wednesday November 14, 1-2pm:

Not Your Grandma’s Pie Chart: Infographics & Data Visualization for Nonprofits

Take all that data you have and turn into something people will actually look at and understand.

If your organization is like most, you have piles of data that you think would be helpful to your readers and supporters. But who wants to wade through a 50 page report filled with statistics? Information design and data visualization can turn your organization’s pile of data into understandable visuals, giving your constituents the right information to make choices, learn something new, or engage in a campaign.

These visuals need to be well-designed, since good design helps non-profits clearly explain needs and goals. They also need to be backed with substantial data that defines them.

This webinar will help your organizations be better positioned to solve the world's problems by making your infographics clear, interactive and approachable. We’ll also look at best practices in creating data visualizations and offer tips on how to avoid common pitfalls during the design and data-selection process.

We will also discuss the new tools that nonprofits need to quickly and easily reach out to their audiences. Plus, we'll have a lot of infographic examples from real-life organizations.

During this webinar, you'll learn:

  • How infographics and data visualization can aid in communication and activism around social change.
  • How to make a good infographic.
  • How NPOs can get started in the process.
  • How to "humanize" complex data.

This webinar is part of a popular series sponsored by Nonprofit Marketing Guide (nonprofitmarketingguide.com). An all-access pass is required. Details at http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/resources/webinar-for-pass-only-template-page/infographics-for-nonprofits/

 

 

Wed, 09-5-2012 by Julia Reich

How to do you know when it’s time to re-brand?

I presented a webinar recently called “Help! My Logo Sucks!” for Kivi’s nonprofit communications blog. In it, I made the point that it is very important to have a good organizational logo:

“People are passionate and loyal to brands they feel connected to, and that doesn’t just apply to coffee and sneakers, it’s relevant to nonprofit brands too. Loyalty leads to increased awareness, participation, and donations. A logo is the main visual representation of your nonprofit brand. It’s something you use every day, on practically everything - your website, business cards, email signature, and lots more - and everyone will see it: donors, partners, sponsors, members, volunteers, and clients. The logo is the keystone of your branding. It’s the first and last impression you make with your audiences.”

We received lots of great questions, and did not have time to answer them all. One question which was repeatedly asked, “How to do you know when it's time to re-brand?” is the focus of this follow-up post to last week’s webinar, which originally appeared on Kivi's nonprofit communications blog.

 

How to do you know when it's time to re-brand?

Maybe your group has new leadership, and they’ve decided it’s ‘out with the old and in with the new’... or your mission has changed over the years, and your new identity isn’t representative of who you are now... or you’ve got a new program and it needs its own identity... or your name has changed because it was confusing and outdated... or there’s a dozen different versions of the logo in use, and no one knows where the original file is... or everyone is in agreement: the current logo is just plain ugly.

Whatever the reason, in spite of your best efforts at getting the message out - from your website, to email, to print communications, to fund raising events - you realize your efforts could be more professional, accurate, resonant, and consistent. Then it’s time for a re-brand.

What does re-branding entail?

Which aspect of the re-branding process should you undertake? The branding spectrum could encompass several aspects, from a simple logo tweak to a full-scale organizational re-branding program that takes into account positioning, messaging, tagline creation, and visual identity. The latter is a more comprehensive process that generally occurs with a startup organization, right from the outset, or in response to a strategic planning process the organization has conducted.

Post- strategic planning

Such was the case with a recent client of ours, Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, located in central New York state. My team was brought on board to design their logo after they had gone through a strategic planning process. They also had a new office space and new, young leadership. They wanted to make a statement that CCCC was a different organization than they were before: “A fresh perspective, recognized as a business leader, doing things different, now we need a different look and feel,” reported Executive Director Andrew Fish.

Before and after the logo re-design

Similarly, Ohio Grantmakers Forum, a group which inhabits a small niche of the nonprofit world – a regional association of grantmakers — has been working for the past two years to plan strategically for how to adapt to the changing philanthropic landscape.

“One of the key results of this work is our decision to add new types of members to our statewide association, so that in addition to foundations we will now include individuals, giving circles and United Ways in our membership. We know we need to rebrand ourselves – with a new logo, tagline and website – while expanding and updating the key services that have made us successful during our 30-year history,” says Claudia Y.W. Herrold, OGF’s Vice President, Communications & Public Policy.

While OGF readies itself for this process, part of their re-branding has already occurred - a new name change - which will be officially announced later this fall.

When a program casts a long shadow

The Union Square Greenmarket – the largest and most successful open-air farmers market in the country – is a New York City icon, but few people are aware that this was a program of the 40-year-old Council on the Environment of NYC (CENYC).

“CENYC? What’s that?” would be the response of most New Yorkers when asked about the Council. As a result, the Council lost opportunities to engage people in its programs and to raise money from donors, many of whom didn’t grasp the full scope of the organization’s work. To address this need, the Council decided to undertake an initiative to rename and rebrand the organization for greater recognition by New Yorkers.

Thus GrowNYC was proposed as the new name for the organization, and in 2010 we were hired to design their new visual identity (below). The words around the logo – teach, recycle, greenmarket, garden – directly reference the organization’s program areas and are space-efficient. Unlike the old logo, this new look is accessible, and has a “home-grown” feeling that reflects the grassroots nature of GrowNYC’s work. This now looks like the kind of organization people want to get involved in.

Before and after the logo re-design

About the efficacy of the re-brand, Amanda Gentile, GrowNYC’s Development and Communications Coordinator says,

“It is absolutely true to say that since rebranding, the name GrowNYC has appeared in the media much more frequently. In the past, when a writer was reporting on a greenmarket they would never have mentioned Council on the Environment of New York City. Today, we see ‘GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program’ or ‘Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC’, much more often.  More importantly, in general, we have appeared in the media more frequently than in the past and I can’t help but think that our name and mission are much more visible and understood, thanks to a concise logo/name, and therefore folks latch unto us and are intrigued by our work enough to cover it.”

(Interested in learning more about this project? Read a full case study here)

Excuse me for a moment while I freshen up

Sometimes a few tweaks are all that’s needed to make a logo appear more polished and professional. That’s what former client West Wind Consulting Strategies in Fund Raising, a consulting firm providing fund-raising advice, requested - “to look more in line with the times”.

Original artwork for the old logo couldn’t be found, so we scanned it from letterhead and re-created it from scratch. The new version features:

  • fewer “wind scrolls” to make the logo less fussy;
  • an updated typeface looks more legible and modern; and
  • an addition of the second part of their name, set below the main logo, in small text.

Before and after the logo re-fresh

When the old brand is out of synch

Sometimes you know it’s time for a re-brand because your organization’s mission, vision, and personality have changed over the years, and your logo no longer reflects who you have evolved to become. That’s exactly what took place with onerecent client, New York Insight Meditation Center (NYI), who hired us to create a new logo and tagline.

Before and after the logo re-design

Sebene Selassie, a former NYI Board member who was on the re-branding committee, says:

“I think we knew it was time to rebrand because we realized that our old logo of the circular hands and tagline ‘A peaceful refuge in the heart of the city’ did not resonate for us anymore as a full expression of what we had become as a diverse community dedicated to transformation. Our new logo which blends the vibrancy of the city with the beauty and grace of the lotus flower and the tagline ‘Where hearts & minds awaken’ both reflect a much more profound and holistic message about us now.”

…..

There are many indications it may be time to re-brand your organization. Regardless of your reason, and how much of the process you plan to undertake, an updated brand can be worth the effort  - in order to increase  visibility for your organization and its programs, create more compelling and effective communications, and reach more donors and other constituents.

 

Tue, 07-10-2012 by Julia Reich

You Shouldn’t Walk Alone: Advisory Boards as an Option for Growth

Luke Mysse, in his talk “Options for Growth”at the Creative Freelancers Conference last month in Boston stated, “You shouldn’t walk alone” - get an advisory board to keep you on track with goals & finances.

Why? It’s a place to be encouraged. It will take a lot of vulnerability but Luke strongly advises “you must do it to get better at running a design biz.” I sat up and took notes. I can see how this would be a scary, yet worthwhile goal to implement in my business plan.

The logistics entail gathering approximately four people with business success (ex: attorney, financial planner, accountant, CEO) – it’s apparently “professional altruism” on their part - and invite them to a 2-hr lunch, 1x/quarter to look at sales, finances, go over the books.

This tip sparked a spirited Twitter conversation over the next several days between myself, Luke, and a few other conferencees: Luke (@lukemysse), Jack Kinley (@labmonkey), and Jenny Poff (@jennypoff ), in which Luke continued his helpful coaching specifically around the idea of generating an Advisory Board meeting agenda, and encouraged us to report back on our efforts.

For the first meeting:

  • Start with “thanks”
  • Talk about why an advisory board, and my biggest challenges
  • Let them introduce themselves
  • Set expectations and communication/feedback guidelines
  • End by saying “thanks” again

For subsequent meetings:

  • Update on prior meeting “to-dos”
  • Give a sales report
  • Report on financials
  • Discuss 3 big issues I’m facing – what’s the most urgent issue that must be solved in 30 days? 60 days? 90?
  • Listen!
  • End with a list of tasks I will commit to by next meeting

Thanks for the words of wisdom & encouragement, Luke!

I’m not sure who to approach to join my board, but I’ll be attending a networking event at the local chamber of commerce this week. That could be a good place to try broaching the subject, and see what kind of response I get.

Do you have an Advisory Board for your business or organization, or thinking of starting one? Please share your Advisory Board journey...


Tue, 07-3-2012 by Julia Reich

Out in the Sticks: The Joys & Challenges of Running a Design Business in a Small Community

I led an hour-long morning roundtable at the recent Creative Freelancers Conference in Boston (part of HOW Design Live) called Out in the Sticks: the Joys & Challenges of Running a Design Biz in a Small Community.

Designers from PA, MI, TX, Cape Cod, NY, CAN, and even AK discussed our location-based issues while acknowledging that living in the sticks can lead to a higher quality of life (low cost of living! access to nature! it’s quiet & peaceful, there’s no traffic, pollution levels are low!) helping balance work life with personal life. Here’s some highlights from our conversation:

  • We’re always encouraged to narrow our market and focus our services. But can we still do this when we have a limited pool of prospects to choose from? If we did that, we might never have any local clients – there aren’t enough appropriate prospects in any one market. Is a design business only appropriate in more urban areas?
  • The readily available industry may have no money to spend on marketing services (ex: mushers in Alaska, or wineries in the Finger Lakes region of Central NY, where I live)
  • Prospects do not understand the value of design. Is it our job to educate them? A useful tip that came out of the conversation in response to this challenge is try networking with a young professionals group (in my area, this group is called IGNITE, where they are more likely to “get” what designers do, value our services, and make qualified referrals.
  • Participant Amy Caracappa-Qubeck's unique challenge with her locale on Cape Cod, MA is that it is a vacation destination - so the population, at least during the summer, isn’t interested in business relationships.
  • How do we network with others in our industry and nurture our design community?
  • Perception obstacles abound: clients may think you don't have the same design chops as those in a metropolitan area (Laurel Black describes this phenomenon in her blog article, “Urban Refugee Syndrome” ); while prospects from your small community  - if you’re from “away” like I am, having started my business in New York City - may assume you’ll be too expensive.

If you were you there, what else did we talk about? What did you take away from our talk?

Finally - designer or no, do you live or work in the sticks? What are your unique joys & challenges?

 

 

Mon, 07-2-2012 by Julia Reich

Recommended reading from HOW Design Live & Creative Freelancers Conference

Almost all of the design community luminaries I saw speak at the HOW conferences in Boston a few weeks ago (June 21-24) had books to recommend, in a broad swath of genres. Here's my compiled list of the books, their authors, and the speakers who recommended them:

Were you at HOW? There were so many presentations to choose from, I'm sure many speakers I did not have a chance to hear also had books to recommend. What's on your list?

And, if you've read any of these books and have an opinion to share, pro or con, I'd love to hear them.