Last year I met Camila Garay. Camila is an amazing Designer, Art Director, and a certified Life-saver.

Camila shows proof of her many talents
Camila shows proof of her many talents

During that time, I was busy negotiating a corporate alliance with Mukul Beach, Golf & Spa, the first luxury boutique hotel in Nicaragua. As part of my negotiation tactics, I had argued that the hotel should combine funds from their marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) portfolios to finance our new initiative on child rights, social entrepreneurship, and responsible tourism. So, in addition to a comprehensive programmatic initiative, I also promised them a brilliant marketing strategy.

Picture of a girl from Tola taken during design research @UNICEF Nicaragua/2013/Bach
Photo of a girl from Tola taken during design research @UNICEF Nicaragua/2013/Bach

CSR and marketing are (or should be) on the same side of the coin. But this is not about using CSR as good PR. It’s about making your business model sustainable and reaching out to a more conscientious clientele through marketing messages with social impact. Turns out UNILEVER has recently adopted this practice. I want to think I was perhaps ahead of my time.

Transforming ideas into visuals @GarayForm
Transforming ideas into visuals @GarayForm

We worked with Camila and a group of amazing marketing minds (aka, Caroline Bach!) to develop a brand identity for our social entrepreneurship initiative. It was an exciting learning experience for me. Having worked on Human Centered Design approaches, I was somewhat familiar with design techniques. But Camila’s creative process is unique, respectful, and highly creative. And that’s how the Sociopreneur identity was born.

"Sociopreneur - purpose changes everything" @GarayForm
Sociopreneur – “purpose changes everything” @GarayForm

But brand identity is not only about making beautiful products (although this was a deliciously fun by-product!). It’s about conveying an idea in a highly visual form. It’s also a powerful persuasion tool. The private sector knows this all too well. The public sector, not so much…

By introducing brand identity in a development initiative, we were not only able to close the deal with our corporate partner (it was a beautiful round cherry on the perfect ice-cream!). We were also able to bring clarity and cohesion to our own programmatic messages.

Beautiful print materials explain initiative and appeal to donors @GarayForm
Beautiful print materials explain initiative and appeal to donors @GarayForm

Let’s be honest. In the beginning, the Sociopreneur Initiative was a complicated idea. Because it was based on systems thinking, complexity theory, and collaborative solutions with a wide range of partners, the initiative was difficult to explain in 45 seconds. As a result, we missed out on some key partners and strategic alliances…

Logo development process in action @GarayForm
Logo development process in action @GarayForm

After three months of research, Camila was able to translate the concept of the ‘dual thinker’ into a brand. The Sociopreneur logo (the heart & fire) represents our local entrepreneur’s social commitment and drive to have a positive impact in their communities.

The meaning behind the logo of Sociopreneur
The meaning behind the logo of Sociopreneur @GarayForm

In addition, infographics and cohesive materials, supported by clear and simple messaging (gracias, Caroline!) also helped break down complicated parts of the initiative into easy-to-understand phases and deliverables.

Infographics make great elevator pitches @GarayForm
Infographics make great elevator pitches @GarayForm

The brand identity used in this initiative not only made people proud, but also served to persuade different actors to join the initiative as coaches, mentors, and partners. Today, Sociopreneur is part of a community-based platform named Tola Conecta, with over 1,000 members.

And quite unexpectedly, brand identity also turn out to be a surprisingly powerful and gorgeous tool for social mobilization. Mad Men had a point all along…

Overview of brand identity package
Overview of brand identity package @GarayForm

I'mpossible PolicyNatalia Adler
Chief of Social Policy
UNICEF Nicaragua (twitter: nataliaadler19)
I’MPOSSIBLE POLICY BLOG

 

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