Following up on our phone call, my supervisor and I were able to meet with Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, at our offices in Boston. He is here for a week and we are helping him with his PowerPoint presentation that he will be delivering twice while he’s here.
My supervisor and I have been working hard on our edits to his original presentation, even over the weekend. The meeting went really well and he likes all of our suggestions. We were able to really solidify what the call to action at the end is and turn it into a strong last slide. I’ll be attending his presentation later this week to see how it goes.
This week brought the official launch party of my employer’s new identity: our new name, our new brand, our new website. I have learned some do’s and dont’s for these kinds of parties through the process:
- DO invite the whole world. We tried to keep the guest list manageable since we have a relatively small space and didn’t really open it up to the public. We wanted mostly the leaders of the organizations we work with and want to work with. But a small guest list means a small party and less of a party feel.
- DON’T allow there to be too many speakers. Want to know another detractor from a party feel? A PowerPoint presentation. Or multiple PowerPoint presentations… Yes, its true. In our efforts to be inclusive of every stakeholder, our event turned into a bit of a lecture. Highlight the leader of your organization talking about what you are there to celebrate and he/she can mention and thank the stakeholders, but doesn’t need to give them 5 minutes to speak.
- DO serve food and give out swag. We chose dishes that reflected the cuisines of the countries we work in and gave away our new promotional items like Post-It notepads.
- DON’T forget about the details and to have every detail branded. We had orange programs, orange balloons with our new name and tagline, and orange signs to describe the food. We also had a greeter at the front of the building and a greeter at the elevator door at all times.
- DO put out a press release about your event. Ours got picked up by a regional paper (see portfolio).
My communications class this week was about writing for brochures. But the main lesson I took away wasn’t about a writing skill…
We had to work in a small group to create a brochure based on our first 3-hour lecture about writing strategies specific to brochure layouts and audiences. My group created a gourmet cupcake company to promote. I wrote the copy about the benefits companies enjoy by ordering a cupcake package for their client (the client will be feel respected and values, the client will be more likely to repeat business with that company, the company will be seen as unique and thoughtful, etc). It was challenging to have 24 hours to turn around a full brochure with 5 individuals’ input. I volunteered to be the layout person and chose the fonts, colors, and graphics.
I do both writing and layout for marketing materials at work, but I hadn’t really realized how inseparable they are. When we wanted to tweak the tone or re-focus our audience, both the design and the writing had to change. At a logistical level, the length of the text and the size of the text box need to work together and if one changes, so does the other. The copy and the design are always doing a tango together, reacting to the other’s movements. They must stay in sync or your brochure will look as clumsy as my fiancée and I trying to learn the foxtrot at our first dance class.
How does your organization handle this? Do you have one person who does the writing and design or separate people? In-house or consultants?
Frank Mugisha is one of those people that is changing the world. We all are in our own ways, but Frank is having a global impact. A gay Ugandan, he has dedicated his life to working for LGBT rights and has literally risked his life for the cause.
It is an honor to have been brought in on a project involving him at the office. We are providing pro-bono consulting to him and today was our first phone call with him. My supervisor and I spoke with him for an hour about his needs, which are mostly related to his PowerPoint presentation that he uses to illustrate his mission around the world. We are going to help organize it, beautify it, and consolidate it. From what I can see, the order needs some thought and we will need to add a slide at the end that states what the audience can do to help. There is currently no call to action in the presentation and when we meet with him in person we will have to solidify what that call is (or calls are).
It is humbling just to speak on the phone with him and I am so excited for this opportunity!
Visual brand identity, that is. Much more than just a logo, a VBI is what your fonts and colors and designs are, but also what is behind that. Without knowing who we are and who our constituencies are, it wouldn’t be possible to develop a visual brand. Our identity as an organization isn’t just the groundwork for creating graphics, it the reason to create the graphics and it must always remain our core focus over the graphics.
Nevertheless, the graphics are very pretty. We have a logo, a business card design, a report cover design, and some general motifs to use throughout our print and web presence. It was a challenge to come up with a logo for our program since we have a parent company already has their own. We decided to have the logo be a stylized way of writing our name so it wouldn’t overpower the parent logo. It’s pretty exciting to have this major step completed!