Brand Promise, Brand Voice and Brand Identity
Social Media Strategy and Execution
Website (with e-commerce if appropriate)
Legends and Leadership Tools
TV / Radio / Outdoor
Rediscovering the Authentic Voice
Re-establishing the Brand Promise
Rallying people to the Leader
Rebuilding all communications:
World Champion Quadriplegic Surfer Jesse Billauer founded Life Rolls On in 2001. Eight years later, Jesse merged his visionary nonprofit with the Christopher Reeve Foundation. The Christopher Reeve Foundation focused on the clinical research of tomorrow, while Jesse focused on the quality of life today, helping people living with paralysis catch a wave in the ocean, or an adrenaline rush at the skate park. Though both organizations served the spinal cord injury community, their day-to-day activities proved too different to coexist under one mission statement. On September 1, 2013, the two organizations separated, and Jesse Billauer once again became the Executive Director / CEO of his own foundation.
Jesse's challenge: realigning the foundation with his unique mission and values; re-establishing relationships with corporate sponsors and donors; and bringing his message of hope to more people.
My goal: simply putting Jesse – who is a living legend – back in the spotlight, and letting his authenticity shine in every communication. It has been a privilege to work as a silent partner with this amazing human being as he continues to grow Life Rolls On into everything he imagined.
Communications at the Rapid Growth stage require as much strategy as creativity. Every detail of every day must be measured for scale.
Can store signage design be executed in 1000 locations?
Are physician communications designed to accommodate translation into eight languages, and use in diverse cultural environments?
Is packaging designed to clear the hurdles of Big Box Retailer requirements (including shipping and receiving standards)?
Can the website quickly adapt to promotional campaigns and new product lines and accommodate exponentially more traffic?
Are team leaders armed with communication tools so new hires are taught the mission and legends of the organization?
Culture Assessment – Customers, Employees, Vendors, Investors and Future Prospects
Pricing and Marketplace Assessment
Establishment of Mission and Values
Establishment of Organization Goals (what gets measured gets done)
Strength Assessment of each Employee
Establishment of Individual Roles, Connected to Purpose
Communications Coaching: Everything is Marketing
Design and Execution of all Communication Tools
Re-orientation of each Employee (nothing will change without employee engagement)
Executive Speeches and Presentations
Leeann Chin, founded in 1980, was a mature concept by 2004. In the '80s and '90s, they had won every "Best Of..." award imaginable. They were loved. They were unstoppable. And then all that changed. By 2004, they were the after-thought, the choice for my parents, but not me. They were losing ground, scrambling with different ad agencies, and running overlapping aggressive discount programs. They were also obsessed with talking about the superiority of their product – Asian food. (Please note: while it is vitally important that YOU obsess over making the best computers, the best coffee, the best Kung Pao Chicken, or whatever your organization lives to do, it should not be the obsession of your communications. Instead, you must drive a bigger conversation, and customers will assume you have the best product.) No matter what they tried, they could not reach new customers. And, to add insult to injury, their current customers were happily using the aggressive discounts, further cutting into revenue and profit. Store comps (same store sales compared to the previous year) fell to -8%. In a great economy, with the hometown advantage, -8% is decidedly scary.
As I walked through their headquarters, I was struck by this realization: good creative is not a predictor of profit. The marketing at Leeann Chin was attractive. Professional, polished. But it wasn't working.
It was my responsibility to resurrect the organization. How to do that...what communication message to use...that was the million dollar question. One morning, I came across an article in a science journal discussing the history of hydrogenated fats, and their altered molecular structure. (In 2004, no one in mainstream America knew about hydrogenated fats, or Trans Fats, as they are now called. It would not be added to nutritional labels until 2006.) I was intrigued. That same day, I became an expert on hydrogenated fats: how the human body reacts to them, their widespread use in almost every packaged food in the United States, and in almost all restaurant meals, their link to cancer, and so much more. This could be it...Leeann Chin could be resurrected with this. Overnight, they could become a frontrunner again, and make competitors like Panera, Applebee's, Quizno's, etc. look decidedly out of touch with a consumer insisting on transparent corporate practices and better food options.
After a day of research, I will never forget gingerly picking up the phone to call the head chef. I did not tell him why I was asking, I simply inquired if his restaurants cooked with hydrogenated oils – which are much easier to control at high temperatures, and much cheaper than pure oils. As I waited for his answer, I knew I was holding my breath. And praying. He said matter-of-factly, "no, we've always used pure corn oil. It's just better."
I wrapped a Trans Fat Free educational effort and a vibrant "Live Full Color" message around the idea of "no compromise." People were sick and tired of compromising in their lives. They weren't satisfied with either/or. They wanted it all. Applied to food, this meant that people wanted great food AND they wanted to feel great about the food. Why should it have to be one or the other? They wanted to be able to go to a restaurant that looked special and felt special...and be able to afford it. They wanted to support successful companies who were also transparent companies.
The "We are Trans Fat Free. Are You?" educational effort did exactly what I had hoped: it re-established Leeann Chin as a leader; it put the restaurants front-of-mind; and most importantly, it resurrected comps from -8% to +8%. A significant accomplishment.