Brand Strategy

Introducing Feed More - The New Brand: A Promise, a Logo, and so Much More

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Our office space, The Woodlot, is the keeper of secrets.  Between The Spark Mill and our friends on the other side, Campfire & Co. – there is regularly a confidential, use the back door, kind of project in the works. A new restaurant, a merger, a big rebrand.  (Please don’t start hanging around our back alley trying to get the scoop – that would be creepy.)

One of our favorite moments around the office is when we can finally let the cat out of the bag, or maybe in this case, spill the beans…

Feed More has a beautiful new brand and a powerful brand promise y’all and today they are revealing it to the world! Read about the story of the brand here.

 The Charge

In late 2016 The Spark Mill was hired by Feed More to complete a brand study as the first phase of what would become a three phase rebrand journey.  Below we document the phases and the work done by TSM and Campfire & Co. with input and guidance from the Feed More Brand Team and a huge number of Feed More stakeholders.

The Process

PHASE I

This phase included an audit and assessment of who Feed More was and how they talked about themselves including: the current social media and online presence of Feed More; an extensive review of existing studies and documents; as well as an environmental scan of more than 20 local and national food banks, Meals on Wheels programs, and other similar local organizations.  We then compiled all of our findings into a brand study report that included our data, insights, and some recommendations. 

PHASE II 

This phase belonged to Campfire & Co. We gave them our findings and recommendations and then we stepped out so Campfire could do that magical thing they do with brand strategy and logos and marks and design. Our two firms have worked together on a number of large projects over the years, and have developed a good flow for sharing information and complimenting one another’s strengths in a way that is optimal for our clients.   

As the Campfire team diligently worked, we would frequently find Sarah meandering over to the other side of the office asking them to see “something pretty” – the logo, collateral, etc.  While we believe brand is more than a nice logo, that certainly does not diminish the significance or appeal of physical branding done well.  Watching the words, ideas, and ideals of who Feed More is and the change they are making in the world transform so thoughtfully and perfectly into a mark, and logo, and colors was nothing short of incredible. 

PHASE III

This part of the project kicked off June 1st at the employee brand reveal day, as The Spark Mill detailed to the employees how brand is indeed about more than the sharp new logo or fresh new colors...and what that meant for Feed More. TSM then embarked on an in depth process to pair Feed More’s rebrand with an internal culture change project involving all of the staff, as well as volunteers, partners, and donors with one quest - alignment of their new brand and its promise to the work they do and all of their interactions.  To date, The Spark Mill has gathered data from around 750 stakeholders, through surveys, interviews, and multiple staff department meetings. We have analyzed the data, compared the numbers, found the themes, written the reports, and met with the Feed More Brand Team many times to discuss the findings and the transformation opportunities.

Both Campfire and TSM are continuing to work with Feed More to ensure a smooth rollout of both the physical brand and the cultural embodiment of the brand promise. 

A great brand embraces and exudes your mission, vision, and values internally and externally in everything you do. A great brand does all of those things in a way that is simple and clear and meaningful.  Feed More’s new brand is strong, consistent, and cohesive. It is dependable. It is caring.

Congratulations to Feed More for a great new brand!

feed more new brand richmond va

The Book Shelf: The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design

 The Field guide to Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org

The Field guide to Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org

If you regularly read our newsletter you are familiar with our special section we lovingly refer to as "The Book Shelf."  Its origin story was a happy accident stemming from our own strategic planning session in 2017.   We discovered we were all voracious readers, but our book choices could not have been more different.  I personally have a Fiction then Nonfiction flow to my reading. 

The Why

To be in our line of work we have to be adaptive and regularly evaluate our tactics and tools. We promise not to use boilerplates, so we must constantly review new materials and new thoughts. We've been exploring design thinking and its application to strategic planning and change management. At its core, strategic planning done well is 100% in line with design thinking methodology. 

 IDEO.org put this out as a guide to trying out human-centered design. Their web presence is amazing and you can download the guide for free. Thinking it would be a resource for all of our staff, I went ahead and grabbed the real-paper-smells-delicious version.

Top 3 Things I Learned

1. It's a gorgeous and quick read that is thoughtfully designed (always a big bonus)
2. Includes a few really awesome exercises that we look forward to trying out
3. Most important was a real heavy section on empathy work in order to design within a community 

Sparks

As we delve deeper into authentic community engagement work with our clients we are often faced with decisions on depth and scope of engagement. This book provides a great resource to share that articulates the goal and purpose of human-centered design and co-designing within a community being impacted. 

Client Spotlight: The Story Behind a New Brand

Congratulations to Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission for the unveiling of their new regional food brand. Purely Piedmont was a collaborative project of The Spark Mill and Polychrome Collective. Magic happens when you align brand strategy and beautiful thoughtful graphics. This was a ConsultCorps project that sprang out of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Charlottesville, VA. ConsultCorps is a group of experienced nonprofit consultants partnering with CNE to help clients solve problems and grow effectiveness. I am proud to be one of the founders of ConsultCorp - an innovative solution to finding the best consultant for your project. 

The Ask:

The Spark Mill was asked to investigate a brand for the Rappahannock Rapidan Food Council for the promotion of their locally grown agricultural products and make recommendations for the naming of the campaign. Results of this study were shared with the graphic designer to incorporate into a new visual identity to use to market the products grown and created within the region.

The Process:

We began by conducting a stakeholder survey and data review. This lead to two open Community Visioning Sessions where we sought information on audiences, brand voice, and purpose. All of the information was used to create a brand strategy including a proposed name!  

The Result: 

The brand should be balanced between simple and sophisticated and highlighting farming as a craft. It should feel comfortable to the residents but target the core audiences of the brand. The key to remember in branding is that it should resonate with customers most strongly, rather than describe the farmers and producers of the region. Visual cues included the Blue Ridge mountains, foothills, and the red clay soil. Tone of voice characteristics should include: genuine, trustworthy, and a little fun. A brand with a little dirt on it. 

We passed our comprehensive brand study over to the fine folks at Polychrome Collective who translated our recommended brand into an awesome graphic logo.