CAMPAIGNS: Horizons' new look helps put focus on its community role

PR Team: Horizons (San Francisco) and Manmade (San Francisco) Campaign: Revitalizing One of San Francisco's Oldest Nonprofits Time Frame: September 2002 to present Budget: $17,500

PR Team: Horizons (San Francisco) and Manmade (San Francisco) Campaign: Revitalizing One of San Francisco's Oldest Nonprofits Time Frame: September 2002 to present Budget: $17,500

Horizons, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to reducing substance abuse among young people, has existed since 1965, and has contact with more than 12,000 youths from low-income neighborhoods each year. Despite its impressive impact on the community, Horizons felt there had been some dilution of its mission statement over its 38-year history. Nora Rios Reddick, executive director for Horizons, explains, "We were in the process of developing a strategic five-year action plan. Ensuring that people knew exactly who we were was one of the first things we needed to do before going ahead with that." Strategy The organization called upon Manmade, a local design firm that specializes in rebranding, to help revitalize its image and expand its reach. The objective was twofold: to establish a consistent identity within the community by aligning the staff under a unified vision, and to develop a more professional appearance to attract private investors. Tactics Manmade assessed Horizons' history and current status of its identity through questionnaires that were taken by the management, staff, youth, clients, and members of the community. "We wanted to get truly candid feedback from every level," says Jon Williams, Manmade's creative director. "The responses from the children really helped fuel our decisions." Based on the results, the firm performed a four-week research process, through which it developed a revamped mission statement and logo. "Community" was one of the key words drawn from the questionnaires that came up repeatedly. The final statement - "The success of the individual is the strength of the community" - and logo, derived from the Mayan symbol for community, reflect that. When considering the most appropriate color for the new logo, a concerted effort was made to avoid any gang-related colors. The two predominant gangs in the area currently use red and blue, but many have also evolved into wearing pink and baby blue to avoid detection by police. Black was ultimately chosen for its inclusion of all colors, lack of ambiguity, and ability to withstand various methods of reproduction. The new identity was implemented on letterhead, business cards, envelopes, and brochures. Manmade also developed a bilingual website in English and Spanish, which has sections designated for youth, the community, and potential investors. Horizons staff members - from management to janitor level - were given jackets with the new logo. Additionally, the building, located in San Francisco's Mission District, was dressed with a flag and two signs that reflect the new look. Results Since the rebranding, Horizons has secured funding from Sirens Society, a group of professional women that were in search of a nonprofit to support. The group has also received money for summer programs from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Funding for mental-health services has been promised from the Department of Public Health, which found out about Horizons through its website. Williams says the goal of unifying Horizons' internal departments was exceeded, and has begun trickling down to the children it helps. "Because everyone was consulted on the effort, everyone is a stakeholder and feels a part of the identity. Some of the kids have already asked if they can purchase T-shirts with the new logo." Future Manmade will continue its relationship with Horizons to help keep the new identity consistent. It will maintain the website and work on other promotional materials. Currently, the firm is developing postcards for a direct-mail effort.

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