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A New Look for A Warm Heart

 
 

The City of Camden, NJ is one of the poorest cities in America. It is also one of the most dangerous, with the highest per capita violent crime rate in the nation. Camden’s children – less than half of whom graduate from high school have few opportunities for recreation or after-school enrichment.

Camden Sophisticated Sisters is one of Camden’s bright spots. A community organization that offers dance, drill team and percussion programs, its mission is to motivate, educate and empower youth through the structure and discipline of the performing arts. Over the years, the organization’s extraordinary impact has been recognized by CNN, Ford, Oprah and People magazine.

To put their best foot forward (pun intended), Camden Sophisticated Sisters needed a visual identity that communicated all that they do, with warmth, fun, and a bit of playfulness. The mark we created comprised of carefully crafted glyphs that add up to a heartwarming whole -- is helping to put the organization on track for even greater impact.

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Giving voice to The Maker's Moment

The arrival of a bold new president. The approach of the institution’s 140th birthday.

When these two milestones converged at the University of the Arts, leadership turned to SteegeThomson to help them make a splash. In discussions with professors and trustees, alumni and students, we learned about the essential qualities that have endured as UArts has evolved and broadened over the decades, and were captivated by its vision for an unbounded future. We crafted messages and strategies to inspire pride in the University’s storied past, appreciation for its prominence as the nation’s only University of the arts, and excitement about the promising leadership of new president David Yager, an accomplished artist and entrepreneur. By providing a unifying theme—“The Maker’s Moment”—as well as prompts and recommendations to capture the attention of constituents, SteegeThomson helped UArts launch a celebration that engaged each member of their community, be they performer, composer, painter, designer, educator, or appreciator. 

UArts 140th collateral.jpg

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A Campaign that Defies Expectation

Recently, we helped Bryn Mawr College launch a campaign to raise $250 million to support its students, faculty, and historic campus. The graphic identity we created for DEFY EXPECTATION: The Campaign for Bryn Mawr includes a powerful visual message: the words "EXPECT Bryn Mawr" stand out from the campaign logo in bright yellow. #ExpectBrynMawr has become not only a handy tool for social media, but the campaign’s rallying cry. Our campaign anthem film brought shouts and tears from the audience at the campaign launch, and provided a focal point for remarks from the campaign chair and student speaker. The shorter, "reveille" version of the campaign film has already garnered thousands of views through social media.



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Connecting Men with Breast Cancer to a Community of Support

Many men don’t believe they can get breast cancer—yet this year alone, more than 2,000 men will be diagnosed. SteegeThomson helped publicize a new guide by Living Beyond Breast cancer that aims to provide support to these men, who often feel lost and underrepresented. Our work with Patti Neighmond of NPR’s "Morning Edition" resulted in an on-air interview with Edward Smith, who found a welcoming online space at Living Beyond Breast Cancer after his breast cancer diagnosis. The accompanying Web story on NPR.org highlights LBBC’s inFocus Guide: Breast Cancer in Men and was picked up by more than a dozen other outlets including WBEZ Chicago, New England Public Radio, and Minnesota Public Radio.

We leveraged the NPR interview by sending a news release that secured further coverage on national websites including Yahoo! and Breast Cancer News, in social media, and in regional media, including an interview with WSVA-AM in Virginia with Smith and LBBC CEO Jean Sachs. We continue to help LBBC get its resources into the hands of underrepresented populations—including previous efforts that saw LBBC's guide for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people with breast cancer featured in U.S. News and Curve Magazine.

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What fundraisers can learn from Super Bowl ads

At the CASE District II Super Bowl party on February 7, attendees will get to rate this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads. One of the most expensive marketing gambits available, these spots are usually the product of expert advertising teams striving for the best: the funniest, the edgiest, the most compelling. They’ve become a yearly lesson about what to do—and what not to do—to get your audience buzzing. In honor of all the professionals out there devoted to advancing higher education, we thought we’d make our own list of communications and advancement lessons gleaned from Super Bowl commercials and social media campaigns. Have something to add? Tweet us @SteegeThomson with the hashtag #SuperBowlAdLessons. And if you’re at CASE II, come to the Super Bowl party and find out what new lessons this year’s crop of ads reveal.

  1. Oreo responded to the notorious blackout during Super Bowl XLVII in real time. Can your team take advantage of sudden opportunities?

  2. Apple’s “1984” ad is iconic now, but it got pushback at the time. When building trust, don’t denigrate competitors—differentiate yourself.

  3. Show donors their transformative power—even greater than that of a Snickers bar, which is, apparently, saying something:

  4. Gatorade’s Michael Jordan "23 vs. 39" ad was a technical marvel in 2003. It also evoked both nostalgia and appreciation for experience. Show potential donors your impact throughout their life and career.

  5. ETrade’s ad for the 2000 Super Bowl featured a dancing chimpanzee and an implication that they’d just wasted millions. Donors need to see the wisdom and impact of a gift; nobody wants to be the chimp.

  6. Pinpoint and be proud of who you are. It’s part of who your donors are, too. Chrysler did this for Detroit, and helped not only their own sales but perhaps the city itself:

  7. Esurance ran an ad after the Super Bowl, saved $1.5 million, and offered to give it to someone who posted “#EsuranceSave30” on social media: bit.ly/1aYXGSF.

    You may not have $1.5 million lying around, but what mutual benefit can you give donors?
  8. If you manage to start a conversation (like JCPenney did by #tweetingwithmittens), anticipate where it might go, and be prepared for misinterpretation: bzfd.it/1QjFWCi

  9. Dodge knows that a big anniversary is a great time to show what you've learned:

  10. And Budweiser knows that, for your loyal audiences, it's all about the story:

    And maybe a little humor:

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Bucking a branding trend to build affinity

Many brands are embracing short names and acronyms to simplify their communications. But in the case of the American Public Gardens Association, we discovered that the acronym was detracting from, rather than building, the organization's brand. 

With an expanding member base and growing outreach programs, the American Public Gardens Association needed to kick its visual identity and messaging strategy up a notch. We led a brand refresh that moved the organization away from use of the acronym "APGA" and towards use of its full name; introduced a new logo; and developed a core messaging platform that reflects the organization's significant contributions in sustainability, advocacy, and conservation.

Since 1940, the American Public Gardens Association has been the leading professional organization for public horticulture, advancing the field by encouraging best practices, offering educational and networking opportunities, and advocating on behalf of public gardens worldwide.

Returning to the use of the organization's full name--along with a new visual identity that reinforces its use--provides the Association with a clear, self-explanatory brand that demystifies it for diverse audiences. The new mark and identity system communicate the collaborative interconnectedness of the field of public horticulture as well as its unified strength.

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Helping Philadelphia Families Find Great Schools

GreatPhillySchools believes that every child in Philadelphia should have access to a great school, and provides information about school performance and enrollment opportunities so that parents, guardians, and students can find, compare, and demand great schools.

For two years, SteegeThomson has helped GreatPhillySchools get the word out in some of Philadelphia's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. This year, in addition to a text-message campaign and radio and transit advertising, we introduced sidewalk vinyls that encourage local families to pick up the organization's Great Schools Guide at local libraries. In two years, the number of Philadelphia families who attend the City's High School Fair and seek higher-quality schools for their children has increased significantly, and several thousand have enrolled in the ongoing text-message service, which offers tips and updates related to school application and other deadlines.

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Good news for veterans travels far

SteegeThomson was delighted to work with Julie Rovner at Kaiser Health News to bring a good news story on veterans' health care to the public eye. Our longtime client the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) recently added questions on military medicine to the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam. The new content will cover skills and knowledge that are particular to caring for service men and women (and their families), such as recognizing the signs of PTSD, treating traumatic brain and blast injuries or losses of limbs, and understanding infectious diseases contracted abroad. Not all veterans have easy access to Veterans Administration health care facilities and specialized care; the new questions will ensure that all future medical doctors practicing in the United States will have at least some of the specialized knowledge necessary to treat veterans and their families well, no matter where they live. Julie's story was picked up by USA TODAY, and included in Gannett papers all over the country. Posted on the Kaiser Health News website, the story was also picked up by PBS News Hour, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Medscape, and Healthcare Finance News, and had good traction in social media with hundreds of posts on Facebook and tweets to over 1.2 million Twitter feeds. Another piece on the new questions ran on Philadelphia's WHYY newsradio on Veteran's Day. Click here to read the story in USA Today.

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Virtual press conference nets media from near and far

How do you turn an announcement at a scientific meeting into national news?

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN.org), the nonprofit alliance of 26 cancer centers whose clinical practice guidelines set the standard of care in the United States and abroad, engaged SteegeThomson to help it introduce a new idea into the national conversation around the value of cancer care. We enlisted San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Victoria Colliver to serve as moderator, and helped organize a press conference panel and webinar entitled, “The NCCN Guidelines with Evidence Blocks: A View of the Patient-Empowered Cancer Conversation.”

Held just before NCCN’s conference on hematologic malignancies in San Francisco, the panel featured oncologists and cancer survivors on the challenges patients face when making treatment decisions, and how oncologists can apply the five key measures displayed in the new NCCN Evidence Blocks.

More than 35 reporters attended in person or via webinar, and stories were published in more than 100 outlets including Bloomberg News, Reuters, The Cancer Letter, The Pink Sheet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Houston Chronicle, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC-FM), The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, BioCentury, OncLive, Pharmacy Choice, American Journal of Managed Care, Becker’s Hospital Review, and the New England Journal of Medicine online.

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Keeping the Forest, Highlighting the Trees

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Keeping the Forest, Highlighting the Trees

2014 was a milestone year for the William Penn Foundation. The 70-year-old foundation made the largest individual grant in its history and launched an unprecedented collaboration among 50 environmental organizations. WPF wanted to highlight these achievements in its annual report without losing sight of the Foundation’s other important work in support of the arts, education, and the environment.  

Having developed WPF’s two previous annual reports, SteegeThomson introduced a new design direction with the theme “Seeding Change, Growing Opportunity,” a nod to early successes from the refined strategic goals WPF introduced in 2013. We kept stories short, filling pages with quotes, big-picture numbers, and strong photography. And we created a simple infographic to illustrate the impact of grantee work in 2014. The result was a print publication with compelling visuals that also translated well into a basic website for digital sharing.

The book, released over the summer, was well received. So well, in fact, that WPF reprinted it in September.

View the full report and the accompanying website here.

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Join us as we host Case II

SteegeThomson is proud to serve as Title Sponsor for the upcoming CASE District II Annual Conference in Philadelphia, February 7-9, 2016. The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) promotes the knowledge and wisdom of advancement professionals in the areas of alumni relations, communications, and philanthropy.

District II is the largest of the nation’s eight CASE districts, with 13,000+ professionals, and we look forward to greeting more than 700 of them on our home turf. Highlights include keynotes with David Raymond, the original Philly Phanatic; and Lance Slaughter, Chief Chapter Relations & Development Officer for the national ALS Association. But we can’t lie. What we’re really jazzed about is hosting the Super Bowl 50 Party at Lucky Strike bowling lanes on Sunday, February 7, from 6 pm to 11 pm.

Early registration closes in October. Don’t miss out! We hope to see you.

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Spinning stories into CASE Gold

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Spinning stories into CASE Gold

SteegeThomson CASE Gold

In its first-ever institution-wide fundraising campaign, Montgomery County Community College managed not only to exceed its goal for student scholarships, but to win an international CASE Circle of Excellence Gold award for its campaign video “Futures Rising.” How did we create a video with emotional resonance that made one judge “want to take out his checkbook”?

Community colleges have not typically been a destination for major philanthropy, but modest investments have a tremendous impact on students, families, and their communities for years to come. “Futures Rising” shares the stories of six students whose lives have been transformed by scholarships. By casting inclusively, listening carefully, and investing time in getting to know each individual’s story, we were able to forge connections across academic disciplines, ages, and backgrounds to represent the common challenges — and achievements — of the College’s diverse, often first-generation college students. A lean approach to production freed the filmmakers to spend more time with each student and to let their stories unfurl in an organic, unscripted way. The result includes moments of unexpected human connection.

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Helping voters make informed decisions

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Helping voters make informed decisions

School boards make decisions that impact every aspect of a child’s education, yet few positions are less understood by the citizens who elect their members.

In Reading, Pennsylvania, the Berks County Community Foundation had a bold idea: to fund a nonpartisan voter education campaign aimed at explaining the importance of the local school board election, where an unprecedented six of nine seats were up for election.

Partnering with local nonprofit television station BCTV, SteegeThomson developed bilingual materials that presented the candidates and delivered messages on the importance of a strong school board. The materials ran in local print and radio media, and were supported with on-the-ground distribution, phone calls, and canvassing. We also encouraged a diverse group of local leaders to write their own op-eds and speak out on the importance of making informed decisions based on information provided by the candidates.

In addition to a spike in voter turnout, the community’s response to the unexpected campaign was overwhelmingly positive. “I saw this [supplement] in the paper,” said one Reading resident, “but I’m glad you brought me another one because I want to share it with my friends.”

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Growing in excitement, year after year

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Growing in excitement, year after year

“What’s it like to lead a yoga class of thousands?” That’s the question Kimberly Haas posed to Jennifer Schelter, co-founder of Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s 14th Annual Yoga on the Steps, on WHYY-FM’s NewsWorks Tonight.

Organizations that depend on annual fundraising events share the challenge of inspiring media attention year after year. SteegeThomson’s strategy was to develop unique angles for unique outlets. The Mojo, a daily radio program on 900 AM WURD, profiled LBBC board member Ayanna Kalasunas. Al Día previewed the event in a Spanish-language article. And The Philadelphia Inquirer featured YOTS in its sports medicine blog and Things to Do Philly. LBBC then shared these stories to create excitement on social media. Named by Be Well Philly as the #2 “Must Do” event in the Philadelphia area, Yoga on the Steps grows in stature each year. With headlines like “Massive yoga class draws more than 2,000 to Philly Art Museum steps,” LBBC can set its sights on making this well-loved annual event #1. 

LBBC Yoga on the Steps 2015

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A flourishing new website for Bartram’s Garden

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A flourishing new website for Bartram’s Garden

SteegeThomson was pleased to have the opportunity to apply the graphic identity system we created for Bartram’s Garden to its website, which attracts a diverse group of users, from nature enthusiasts and families to avid gardeners and urban farmers.

We developed the new site and its mobile counterpart to evoke the contemporary look and feel of our new graphics, while employing the rich visuals available at this spectacular green space. Then we created call-to-action sidebars and emphasized throughways to the Garden’s vibrant social media platforms. New tools stand apart: a “What’s New” blog organizes reporting and reflections about special events, education and community programs, and other highlights; and an interactive map guides visitors around the 45 acres of historic gardens, parkland, wildlife habitats, and tidal wetlands.

Bartram's Garden website screen shot

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Keeping Engineering communications on track

The University of Delaware’s College of Engineering needed interim communications staff capacity and sought a flexible partner to provide this support. Three SteegeThomson staff members took on the role of temporary College communicators; we managed requests and inquiries, wrote and edited news items, brought ideas to the University Communications and Public Affairs office, coordinated with freelancers to keep publications on track, and worked with COE administrators to prioritize and pitch new ideas. Reporting on the College’s thought leadership in everything from long-range space travel to renewable energy sources and preventing dangerous drug interactions, we kept its accomplishments front and center in University media. When the College hired its new communications manager, we were there to help to ease the transition, just as good communications engineers ought.

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Passion and pragmatism in EQUAL MEASURE

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Passion and pragmatism in EQUAL MEASURE

What do you do when the name you gave your organization 30 years ago becomes a slang acronym? That’s the question we helped OMG Center answer. While ‘OMG’ served as a conversation-starter, it had stopped serving as a useful hook for introducing the organization’s thoughtful, multifaceted research and philanthropic services offerings. With help from the OMG team, we led an in-depth discovery and rebranding process that included competitive analysis and benchmarking, no-holds-barred brainstorming sessions, focus group and trademark research and a plan for rolling out the new brand. The organization’s new name and visual identity — EQUAL MEASURE — reflect the ways in which their work balances rigor with flexibility, passion with pragmatism, and local nuance with national perspective. It also reflects an organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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A campaign brand launches an ambitious vision

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A campaign brand launches an ambitious vision

Lafayette College turned to SteegeThomson for creative communications thinking around their latest $400 million campaign, which had a successful public launch in November, 2014. Drawing from the College’s signature strengths and cohesive sense of community, we created the campaign brand, Live Connected Lead Change. The theme, along with core messages that tied the College’s vision to its funding opportunities, influenced both design and content for campaign materials that included a briefing paper outlining the elements of the case for support, a visual campaign brochure, and a philanthropic timeline, showing the historic importance of donor support to Lafayette.

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