Here’s how two clients used the pandemic as their reset button.

It’s time to build a communication plan that tells your supporters who you intend to be going forward.

After a year of remote work, limited interactions, and lots of time for reflection, it’s time to decide who you really are. Now is the time to seize the moment by reintroducing yourself to your public. Here’s how we guided two of our clients from “before” the pandemic to “after” the pandemic in branding and communications.

More Than Just the Boys of Summer

Create a rallying cry that resonates with your supporters and engages new audiences.

Client: “I’ve got hundreds of photos for you!”

Designer: “Thanks, but I need six. Six good photos that reflect six values of your organization.”

Clients often have a wealth of material but have not really examined the wealth in their material. Taking a hard look at what your content and photos say is a difficult job. And sometimes you need an outsider to provide a perspective. If your goal is to reach beyond the usual suspects, then it’s critical to examine your content and the photos that you are presenting to prospective audiences.

When we look at your content and…

What’s missing when we plan for our future.

Is the actual future going to be anything like we expect?

My wife and I started streaming the old tv series, Battlestar Galactica — which is supposed to take place in the distant future, but like most sci-fi shows reflects the times (2004–2009) in which it was made. It’s a thrilling adventure story in space. But this imagined future is missing something really critical: the mobile phone. The mobile phone changes everything in thrillers. The ability to contact a specific person at any time combined with the power of apps — and GPS alone — ruins the plot of every thriller. If Cary…

How are you preparing for 2021? Here are 7 tips to position your brand for this year and beyond.

Good communication strategies evolve over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it did start one day at a time.

To position your organization for 2021 and beyond, consider our tips:

1. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Abraham Lincoln popularized this phrase to evoke the idea that great societies take time to develop. Success is the result of laying one brick at a time, or “one day at a time” as Lincoln reminds us. What habits are you establishing now that can serve you well as the pandemic ends? Is your website functioning the way it should? Does…

Consider the design of the whole customer experience.

Designing for a better world is not just about good intentions, it’s about finding out how to make the customer experience more enjoyable, useful and productive.

I was stuck in a long queue of cars trying to get into a mall parking garage so I could take my son to get a COVID-19 test. We were waiting while cars cut each other off trying to get in and out of the garage by the same entrance way. And I said, “This is a design problem. They built this place for parking and they did not design a clear path for entrance and exit.” They even roped off the first floor of parking spaces requiring everyone to drive to the upper levels. This was not an adapted…

Improv comedians can teach us how to prepare for the unexpected.

How do you think ahead in a pandemic?

What does a business forecast look like when most of your clients are closed or working part-time? It’s time to listen to improv comedians who do this all the time.

Lessons from Improv

In a time when planning with any certainty is off the table, perhaps we could learn from people who are used to working without a script: Improv comedians. How do you prepare for improvisational comedy? Malcolm Gladwell writes that, “improv isn’t random and chaotic at all.” In fact, improv performers prepare for their spontaneous shows. Gladwell adds, “Every week they get together for a lengthy rehearsal.” They learn the rules…

A simple logo “refresh” can modernize your brand while maintaining a connection to your heritage.

Change is difficult because people believe they will lose something of value. There is comfort in keeping things the way they are. Teachers notice that even when they do not assign seats, students tend to return to the same place each class. I like to remind clients embarking on a brand change that we all have an ingrained reluctance to change. Yet it’s important to embrace change if you want your brand to stay relevant, particularly in today’s digital world.

Sometimes, minor changes and adjustments can be made to a logo, yet still preserve a heritage that is meaningful to…

8 steps for communications leaders to navigate the internal approval process

Navigating the approval process can make or break your success in communicating.

What does it take to run a successful communication project? You can ensure the success of a project by establishing a productive protocol for reviews and approvals. Written content is just as important as the visuals in communication design projects and yet many companies neglect to get the content right, which ends up causing stress and overtime charges. Managing your stakeholders, following brand guidelines and producing strong content is not an easy task. We see so many projects needlessly run amuck of deadlines with costly overtime because there was…

The 111-year old Jewish nonprofit that my Jewish friends have never heard of.

I had never heard of Bnai Zion Foundation but I was sure that my friends who are active in their local temples would be aware of this organization that has funded over 1,000 buildings and projects in Israel. I asked my friend, Rabbi Billy, and he said, “I’ve actually never heard of these folks. I visited their website and see they’ve been around since the very early 20th century!” It’s true, Bnai Zion Foundation has been around for over 111 years — longer than Israel itself. Rabbi…

Lincoln Center and Children’s Aid drop “Society”

New signage we designed for Children’s Aid is now up in Harlem and the Bronx. “This lends itself to this day and age when everything is shorter…especially on social media,” says Anthony Ramos, VP of Communications at Children’s Aid.

Nonprofits need to be aware of what their names mean and how they reflect their brand to their constituents. It’s a matter of authenticity. Are you who you say you are? When your mission has shifted or perceptions about you and your name have changed it may be time to reexamine your name. That’s why The Film Society at Lincoln Center is dropping “Society” from its name and will be known as simply, “Film at Lincoln Center.” Lesli Klainberg, the group’s executive director, told the New York Times, “‘Society’ has a sort of…

David Langton

Founder of New York branding design firm Langton Creative Group, co-author of Visual Marketing, and adjunct professor at Hostos College/CUNY.

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