THE PROBLEM:

Georgia's Jefferson County does not provide animal control services, nor an animal shelter, to its community.  Therefore, Jefferson County, a rural agricultural community comprised of three main towns, is plagued with a large stray cat and dog population due to a lack of resources available, a high rate of animal cruelty cases along with illegal dog fighting, and animal neglect due to high rates of poverty and lack of education on animal care. Jefferson County Animal Rescue, a new local non-profit animal welfare organization, will provide education and animal welfare services to the community. The new organization does not have an identity nor brand strategy.

THE DESIGN SOLUTION:

This project will create an identity system and brand strategy for the new organization, will provide a collection of identity assets in an asset package, will develop brand guidelines, and will develop a fundraising and marketing plan based on industry best practices.

"Better branding can help you save more animals" (Adams, 2016).




The project began with extensive research with the goals of identifying branding and marketing best practices in the animal welfare industry, of identifying the target audience for the animal welfare industry and charitable giving, and the goal of identifying the needs of the organization and the community it serves. 

The most important findings changed any preconceived, stereotyped ideas that were held before the project began. The research guided the project and, because industry standard best practices are followed, this will ensure the long term success of the brand.

It was first assumed that an animal welfare organization should use sad messages with photos of animals in horrible situations in order to reach the target audience. However, the research proved this to be a false notion and that positive messages increase donations and membership to animal welfare organizations.  This data helped guide the development of the voice and tone of the brand.



This project is based on human-centered design and utilizes IDEO's Design Kit: The Human-Centered Design Toolkit. The human-centered design approach was chosen because it focuses on the needs of the community and will guide the organization into meeting those needs. Instead of the project focusing on a particular demographic and persona, this project focuses on the needs of all members of the community.

"For a design to be successful, it must serve the needs and desires of actual humans" (Hall, 2014).



During the research phase, the organization's identity was assessed.

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION
When the organization was initially founded, the name of the organization was "Friends of Jefferson County Animals."

NEED: The organization needed a name that more accurately expressed the purpose of the brand to the target audience.

SOLUTION: It was recommended the organization change its name to Jefferson County Animal Rescue. This name more accurately communicated the purpose and mission of the organization to the target audience. It is also more memorable because the target audience has familiarity with the phrase "animal rescue."

THE ORGANIZATION'S FACEBOOK PAGE
Initially, the organization's only online presence was a Facebook Page. The organization's Facebook Page lacked focus, cohesion, and used photographs that were blurry and did not positively and strongly feature the animals in their care. The custom URL of the Facebook Page was https://www.facebook.com/dogpuppycatkittenplace. The organization did not have an editorial calendar, did not have a guiding structure for posting on Facebook, and its editorial content did not follow industry best practices.

NEED:The organization needed a branded Facebook Page and editorial content that was cohesive of the message of the brand and followed industry best practices.

SOLUTION: It was recommended to the organization to change the custom URL of the Facebook Page to facebook.com/rescueouranimals to match its domain name of rescueouranimals.org.

NEED: The organization also needed additional online presence, such as a website, instead of just relying on Facebook to communicate with its target audience.

SOLUTION: It was recommended to the organization to purchase the domain name rescueouranimals.org for the website. This domain was chosen for its length, simplicity, and memorability. It also differentiated the organization's website domain name from other animal welfare organizations.

THE ORGANIZATION'S GOFUNDME PAGE
The organization's first fundraiser is a GoFundMe Page with the purpose of raising money for the immediate needs of the organization. The tone of the message and imagery of the GoFundMe Page is not cohesive with the new brand strategy and its editorial content does not follow industry best practices.

NEED: The organization needed a branded GoFundMe Page with editorial content that follows industry best practices and is cohesive with the message of the brand.

THE MISSION AND VISION OF THE ORGANIZATION
Initially, the founder of the organization established the mission and vision of the organization by completing the "About" section on the Facebook Page.

NEED:The organization needed a mission statement that brought focus and cohesion to the brand.

THE ORGANIZATION'S EMAIL
The organization's email address was initially "friendsofjeffersoncoanimals@gmail.com."

NEED: The organization needed branded email that was cohesive with the brand's message and strategy. 

SOLUTION: The organization will use email at @rescueouranimals.org to provide brand cohesiveness and for email that is simpler and more memorable.
It was suggested that the mission statement be revised to be a focused, concise explanation of the organization's reason for existing and its long-term goals. The new mission statement is community focused and concise.




After the research phase, the project continued with the development of tone words to represent the organization and to guide the project. The tone words will guide the organization in its communication with the community.
A great logo can tell the story of the brand. The logo communicates the rescue mission and purpose of the organization. The logo contains symbolism of a home to communicate that the organization is a foster-based animal welfare organization and that the animals live in foster homes. The rescue cross, placed between the cat and dog, subliminally communicates that the organization services both cats and dogs. The dog, with his cape, represents the hero volunteers of the organization. The logo is simple, yet strong, and invokes emotions of pride, strength, compassion, and trustworthiness.

Because the organization does not have a budget for printing, a branded Google Doc template was created for the organization. This will allow the organization to self print as needed.



The business cards use variable printing. The front of each business card is different, featuring an animal in foster care. Utilizing the business card to feature adoptable animals can help increase the adoption rate. It also allows the organization to keep the animals "in the hearts and minds" of the community.


 
References:

Adams, B. 2016. Brand New You. Animal Sheltering. https://www.animalsheltering.org/magazine/articles/brand-new-you

IDEO. (n.d.). Design Kit: The Human-Centered Design Tool Kit. Retrieved from: https://www.ideo.com/post/design-kit

IDEO. (n.d.). What is Human-Centered Design? [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://www.designkit.org/human-centered-design

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