Second Harvest Food Bank Branding and Strategic Communications

After 30 years, what started as a food pantry is now a major Ohio food bank and a leader in the nonprofit community. With the need for food assistance increasing, awareness is critical.

Second Harvest Food Bank Logo 2 Color Solid Short tagClient: Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio
Second Harvest is a model of an organization that practices and makes believers in its brand: stakeholder perceptions of Second Harvest have never been higher.

The Cause: Hunger Relief

Led by a dynamic Executive Director and a very active board of directors, Second Harvest determined that in order to raise awareness of the food bank and its mission, it would need to realign itself with its brand.

Second Harvest's story is all about ending hunger. While this mission is focused, the stakeholders are many: foundation, corporate and individual donors; food pantries and human services agencies; state and local government entities. Projecting competence, professionalism and integrity is key.

From One Voice (clarity of messaging) and donor relations, to maintaining its visual brand framework, Second Harvest continues to be an example of one of the most successful brand implementations in the northeast Ohio nonprofit community.

Keys to the solution, in both visible and invisible branding, are:

  • A comprehensive redesign of its visual brand framework (including typography, photography, and color palette), in all print and electronic communications
  • A strong presence of its tagline and extensions: More Food; Less Hunger. Growing Hope.
  • Messaging and writing that consistently explain what the food bank does in the communities it serves.
  • A strategic plan that revealed new opportunities and needs for donor recognition, donor relations, and awareness.
  • New opportunities for awareness building, such as social networking, business partnerships, and corporate support.
  • A comprehensive web presence, focused on the resources and informational needs of member agencies, foundations, volunteers and donors.

The results of the multi-year branding initiative have been measurable in media exposure, an increase in donations, and greater awareness in the minds of the community and supporters. Second Harvest continues to make believers in its cause.

Second Harvest Multi Purpose Cards

The Second Harvest print, digital, and social media have been instrumental in explaining the role of the food bank in the communities it serves, and how people can help by volunteering, advocating, and donating.

The Results:

Second Harvest moved into the $5M Nordson Food Distribution Center in June, 2015. With its growth fueled by the growing need for emergecny food assistance, its identity has been design-driven to serve its purpose, and is completely integrated across media and experience.

SHFB Capital Campaign

Thanks to Julie Chase-Morefield, Executive Director for this feedback on our impact:

"Second Harvest has worked with Aespire for a number of years, but over the past two years during the design and build of our new facility their work for us has achieved an entirely new dimension. Although Aespire had helped us create a recognizable logo and presence, we worked with the Aespire team to bring it from paper to full-color throughout our new facility. The colors used throughout the building are a reflection of the colors used in our printed materials and our website—orange, blue, red, purple, green and yellow—creating a total experience through wall color, signage and donor recognition. While large corporations may be able to achieve this is, it is rare for non-profits. Aespire helped us open a new chapter for Second Harvest with crisp, vibrant façade that expresses who we want to be now and in the future."

Second Harvest Website 720px

How has Aespire helped create greater impact and advance your organization's cause?

Through the branding process, Aespire helped us communicate not only the mission of the organization but some of our culture as well.  Starting with our new logo through our materials, website and the design of our trucks it tells our story.  During a recent study a number of donors recognized our trucks with our logo as being the most identifiable thing about our organization.

How has Aespire helped empower your organization to fulfill its mission?

Aespire has helped us be able to communicate our message in such a way the volunteers and donors understand our purpose and want to be involved.  With the staff it created a cohesive image that bolsters our internal culture.

How has Aespire helped your organization create more stakeholder and community engagement?

The website design has been key to community engagement and we receive many compliments on its design and functionality.  But it goes further because Aespire has helped us look at everything as an extension of our brand: messaging, letters, signage, materials, website, social media and even the shirts our staff and volunteer wear.

How has Aespire helped your organization with fund raising initiatives?

In particular with its gala event, Generous Helpings, Aespire created the logo, materials and ads.  A recent donor commented about the invitation for Generous Helpings that it was unique and well-designed and looked like us.  Everything sets the tone for how we want to be perceived and the event is something that sells out every year.

How has Aespire helped your organization achieve its strategic communications goals?

By understanding what we do as an organization and complexity of the issue of hunger.  Aespire is not just using a cookie-cutter methodology of “communications for non-profits” but looking at who we are uniquely as an organization and helping us hone the messages to the community. 

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