Brand Jam 2019 | Our Annual 24-Hour Jam Session of Creativity and Fun by Red Thinking

October 15, 2019 • Posted in Branding, Culture, Design, Red Thinkers

Well, we did it again! As we do every year, the staff of Red Thinking and a select group of our favorite freelancers and collaborators got together for Brand Jam, a 24-hour session of pro bono creative work for specially selected nonprofit organizations (this year, there were eight “clients”). In 24 hours, we accomplished $113,450 of design, digital, strategy and messaging work. Yes, 24 hours. Yes, fun and flourishes of brilliance. And NO, no sleep. Say what?

Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It

Red Thinking’s annual, all-nighter Brand Jam sessions are our way to give back to a diverse group of deserving non-profits, because of our staff’s shared commitment, on a professional and personal level, to contribute to the community. It’s also a way to spur our collective creativity in ways that can only really emerge from far too much caffeine and watching the sun set…then rise again. It’s not for everyone, we admit, but everyone who has ever participated in a Red Thinking Brand Jam will tell you, it’s quite a remarkable experience. Ever wonder what kind of advertising headlines get brainstormed at 3:00 in the morning? Yeah, buckle up!

2019:  Perhaps Our Most Diverse Group of Brand Jam Pro Bono Clients Ever

Soteria Solutions is a New Hampshire based nonprofit that develops research-driven training curricula and support materials that help high schools and colleges reduce intimidation, interpersonal violence and sexual harassment by focusing on bystander intervention training. Soteria’s newest initiative is to reach workplaces and with training products, but in this case, very customizable curricula, which is a very different approach than the off-the-shelf training solutions that their competitors offer. In just 24 hours, Red Thinking created a full brand update, redesigning Soteria’s homepage starting with their homepage and subpage, and re-imagined the logo for the group’s “Know Your Power” initiative that encourages bystanders to speak up when they see harassment. We also wrote a full media strategy. 

SwitchPoint is a homeless shelter in Southern Utah that empowers families and individuals by addressing the underlying causes of poverty. They create customized plans for each resident or family that helps their clients more smoothly reach self-sufficiency and become contributing members of the community. A quick run-down of what we did for SwitchPoint? Well…They had originally signed up for social media messaging and graphics, but we went a few steps further – we wrote two months’ worth of detailed social media content (yes, in 24 hours) including corresponding social graphics. We designed a family of logos for their various separate programs, based on the one program logo that already existed. We designed a tri-fold brochure that Switchpoint can edit in-house as needed, whether printed or as a PDF. 

Women Giving Back. OK, this one is quite close to our locale, and to our hearts. WGB is a local Northern Virginia nonprofit that supports women and their children who are in crisis – most often stemming from domestic violence and resulting in homelessness that places them in public shelters. WGB provides clothing for the women and their children. Members of Red Thinking’s staff and management are active contributors of WGB. For Brand Jam 2019, we redesigned the organization’s logo and their website and created infographic templates that WGB can use in future email outreach campaigns, flyers, and on the new website. 

“Who let the dogs out?” More like, “Who let the dogs IN?” Rocky Mountain Therapy Dogs is a new non-profit, founded in mid-2019, that trains, certifies and implements dog-and-owner teams that interact with groups at facilities like nursing homes, hospitals, schools and homeless shelters. The teams also support medical and mental health professionals to improve goal-oriented therapy with individual clients and patients. 

RMTD had a logo, but because they were so recently founded, they needed a suite of marketing tools to fully launch their brand. We created a graphic look and feel, implemented this new corporate look into a website that includes full content, and designed brochures that speak to prospective dog owner participants and the groups that can benefit from RMTD’s services. We even came up with a tagline for this young pup of a 501(c)3:  “Paws…for Effect.” Who’s the good, warm, fuzzy ad agency, huh? Yes, uh-huh, yes, it’s Red Thinking!  

The Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center in Fairfax County, Virginia provides a comprehensive early-childhood program designed to give all young children, regardless of their family’s economic resources, a strong foundation for life. They’ve been around for many years, and it was time for a brand refresh. Red Thinking created a new logo, stationery suite, and a website redesign that we even began coding in WordPress, making it responsive to work on mobile devices, which the previous site had not been. 

ConnectED is a US-based not-for-profit that empowers educators and community leaders in rural Central America to help them improve youth education opportunities, facilities and resources in their communities. Recently renamed, they had a new logo, but no other elements for the new name and brand. In the course of our BrandJam session we discovered another company’s logo that was too similar to what they came to us with, so we completely rethought their logo and color palette. The new brand positioning captures their Central America focus, with a logo that evokes a blooming tropical flower – hinting at the flourishing growth that their education mission does for Central American children

A key part of their outreach effort is storytelling about their collaborators. They requested a storytelling platform. We created a mind map that outlines our proposed platform – and then we built the platform. This intricate spreadsheet with multiple tabs is more than just a road map, it’s a working tracking tool.

Touching Heart is based in Herndon, Virginia and builds leadership skills in children by coaching them how to plan and host fundraising events and projects for causes that the kids select themselves. The planning exercises include developing budgets and leading volunteers. Touching Heart provides after-school programs, art of giving workshops and summer service camps.

Touching Heart requested a revised brand image to better articulate what they do, and asked for two brochures – one general overview and one detailing the specific programs they offer. They also requested a pocket folder to carry these new printed pieces. We delivered, and the results touched their hearts. 

And finally, The Tin Cup Fund. This organization works with other non-profit groups like Women Giving Back, to help formerly homeless women, men and their children re-establish stable homes with donated furniture, housewares and other essentials. Within just 24 hours, Red Thinking created an updated logo, website, full stationery suite and a mini-brochure that succinctly outlines the group’s services. 

WHEW!! Can you believe all of this, and that we did it in just 24 hours? Sometimes we can’t believe it, either. But the pro bono clients we select each year for Brand Jam believe it, and we believe in them. Check back for updates on our Giving Back section for when we’ll be taking applications for 2020!

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