Branding a Hug
My absolute favorite part of working in advertising is working with nonprofit organizations.
People who work at nonprofits are a different breed. You can feel their passion for their cause and see the choices they’ve made in their lives to prioritize others over their own needs–to give a voice to those who don’t have one. This is also why I am part of Ad2OKC’s Public Service Committee.
Ad2OKC’s Public Service Committee boasts some of OKC’s best advertising, marketing, and public relations professionals with one goal: to give back to our community by providing insight and resources to a nonprofit. Nonprofit organizations submit proposals each year lining out what their mission is and how they could envision our talents supporting them. Past campaigns we have worked with include Rebuilding Together, an organization dedicated to rebuilding lives and neighborhoods–making homes safe, warm and dry; and Preservation Oklahoma, the state’s only private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and coordinating historic preservation activities throughout the state.
This year we chose Free Mom Hugs. Free Mom Hugs advocates for equality for the LGBTQIA+ community by providing resources, education, and support. Sara Cunningham, founder of Free Mom Hugs and the author of the book How We Sleep at Night: A Mother’s Memoir, started the group in Oklahoma in 2014. Today it has blossomed into unique, love-filled chapters across 48 states with members offering hugs, support, and resources to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Free Mom Hugs came to Ad2OKC with an interesting problem: They had exploded almost overnight with chapters popping up across the country, and while they have a head office (located in Oklahoma City), they hadn’t had the chance to create a truly centralized brand, messaging, tone or design elements. They just had a logo and a mission. With those things alone their members had run forward with full hearts. I love all things branding and layout, so this was a sweet song to my ears.
So how do you bring together the public service committee’s 48 unique voices in a single document that reflects their passion, voices, messages, and tone?
You start with listening.
We had Zoom calls with the Free Mom Hugs board and chapter leaders across the country to hear their stories and what they had been creating. We wanted to be sure the work they had already put into their individual chapters was included and used as guidance for other chapters. One thing was amazing—each chapter might be saying something slightly different, but it always had a core theme: compassion, clarity, empathy, community, and honesty. We also went through all chapter Facebook pages to research what they’ve been telling their members, what language they’re using, and what tone they’re taking. The work these chapters have done was spectacular and carried our new centralized brand guide.
The new Free Mom Hugs brand guide provides its chapters with information about the brand, mission, values, brand voice, FAQs, writings tips and tricks, copy styles, social media tactics, logo usage, typography, color palette, photography, file formats, talking points, instructions on how to write and place an op-ed, public relations and media outreach, how to get donated media, interview tips and more. We also built a series of social posts, digital ads, billboards, and bus benches with messaging based on donations, volunteering, and accessing resources.
These resources are going to set Free Mom Hugs and its unique chapters up for success. Having a united voice to reach into communities is key. With these assets, they will be clear and consistent, open and personal, true and authentic, inspirational, and positive.
To find out more about Free Mom Hugs, visit them online at FreeMomHugs.org, on Facebook, or through one of their 48 chapters across the country.
Sonni Adams is the VP, Creative Director at Freestyle Creative and serves as the Creative Director for Ad2OKC’s Public Service Committee.