multimedia campaigns

NROC | Networked for Change

Networked for Change, NROC 2017

Education leaders take action to scale innovative practices

CHALLENGE

In 2016, NROC's marketing leadership identified "Networked for Change" as the theme of their upcoming 2017 annual member meeting.  Blue Marble was tasked with developing a visual identity for the theme.  

INSIGHT

The team at NROC felt inspired by aspen trees and wanted to use an aspen forest as a metaphor to describe how being "networked" is a powerful force for change. We agreed that the idea was a great fit for this collaborative group of education leaders. The branding program would need to appeal both to young teachers and seasoned administrative leaders.

"Networked for Change emphasizes how natural and human systems of connection encourage resilience and evolution. The NROC Network of members is a powerful force for change, unified by a commitment to honor and support all learners."

—Amanda Melton, NROC Marketing Director

For the campaign visuals, we created an illustration of an aspen forest spreading across a landscape with connected roots underground. In addition to creating the illustration, we developed the overall visual identity, including the Networked for Change logo and a style guide with defined colors, fonts, and graphic elements. Working closely with the NROC marketing team, the theme was integrated into conference activities. The visual identity was applied across a range of media, including signage, name tags, agenda, tote bags, notebooks, a card deck, slide presentations, websites, emails, conference app, and more.

RESULTS

The Networked for Change branding succeeded in capturing the mood of this nonprofit project as its membership works behind-the-scenes to re-think pathways to student success and improve outcomes within the U.S. education system.

2017 Ambassador award winner and California Adult Education professional, Penny Pearson proudly displays her award featuring the Networked for Change aspen illustration.

(click images below to view as slideshow, scroll down for video case study)

Video case studIes: NROC Annual Meeting 2017 Highlights


About NROC Membership / Annual Meeting 2017 Graphics

Creative Direction: Christine Fisher (BMC) / Amanda Melton (NROC)
Art Direction, Design, and Illustration: Christine Fisher, Blue Marble Creative
Photography: Jennifer Jones   ||   Videography: Wiley Watson
Aspen concept: Terri Rowenhorst / Ilse Wolf  ||   Video direction / project assist: Suzanne Wright Baumhaukl


CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Education

 
 

EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

EdReady | Math assessment and intervention

From middle school to college, students across the U.S. are using EdReady to fill their knowledge gaps and surpass their own expectations.

CHALLENGE

When NROC's founder, Gary Lopez, first told us about his vision for EdReady in 2012, NROC had recently secured funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build EdReady. The big goal for EdReady was to help vastly more Americans complete college. EdReady would be a free online tool with a more advanced and customized version used in educational institutions nationwide. The app would allow students to self-assess for math and English readiness and then follow a personalized study path to fill in their knowledge gaps.

EdReady needed to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Imagine a student headed to a rigorous college STEM program, or an adult with math anxiety striving to earn a G.E.D. A project like this requires the involvement of many stakeholders. Blue Marble was engaged to handle design for EdReady, both UX design and the brand identity and marketing materials.

INSIGHT

Christine Fisher and John Watson of Evergreen Education Group discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

Christine Fisher and John Watson of Evergreen Education Group discuss EdReady with high school students during a day of user testing.

NROC is unique in that their work is guided by a national network of educational institutions. Therefore, the need to get buy-in from students, schools, and other education leaders is embedded into its business model. 

Blue Marble helped with focus groups to test our assumptions and gain valuable insight into the user’s experience with early prototypes. Within the first three months, the interface underwent three major revisions based on feedback from students and teachers. We observed a wide spectrum of attitudes about math and college, learning our target audience's own language so we could gain their trust and engagement.  

RESULTS

  • EdReady is currently being used by institutions across the U.S. including some entire state systems such as Montana, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina, and others.

  • A short documentary (about Montana) is available to show what a statewide implementation of EdReady looked like in 2015. Blue Marble was involved in the production of this film, conducting the interviews and providing feedback during the editing process.

  • EdReady has matured from the concept stage to become a fully functional product with a coherent brand and story that continues to unfold.

  • Based, in part, on the value EdReady brings to educational institutions, NROC has been able to increase membership and is working toward becoming a self-sustaining project.

Work Examples

Explainer Video

Blue Marble produced this first explainer video in 2014, including script, storyboards, illustration, voiceover, motion and sound design. Due to our careful planning the video serves a variety of needs and has been customized for multiple states and school systems.

Promotion

In 2015 we produced a six-part  online toolkit  for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

In 2015 we produced a six-part online toolkit for education leaders to promote EdReady within their own institutions. A variety of customizable materials and a complete style guide were included.

The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

The toolkit was also shared as a credit-card-sized flash drive in conference bags. Our work has included designs for conference signage, name tags, and collateral.

User Interface Design

A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.

A suite of reports allows administrators and teachers to support students using EdReady. How is Ms. Sandoval's Algebra 1 class performing? How has Elizabeth been spending her time inside EdReady? How did Jonathan reach his target score so quickly? Blue Marble helped NROC to create a system that answers questions like these based on research into the needs of EdReady's administrative users.

The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

The "study path" where a student can learn about topics they need to study, then check their knowledge to improve their scores. Students can learn and assess themselves at their own pace in a low-stakes environment with constant feedback.

 

CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Interaction/interface design

Customer/user experience

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

Illustration, photography, video production, motion graphics

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project


 
 

“We’ve got many students falling out of higher education. The work NROC is doing in technology and education could not be more important.”

– Martha Kanter, Former U.S. Department of Education Undersecretary




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

Hundreds of education leaders have contributed time and expertise to this project and the underlying learning resources. It is truly a labor of love for many.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To learn more about the organization behind EdReady, and to hear what education leaders are saying about EdReady, see the above video. You can also learn more about our work on The NROC Project.

NROC | From product to purpose

From product to purpose

Highlighting mission to build a better brand

CHALLENGE

The NROC Project (NROC) is a national nonprofit that gives education leaders, teachers, and learners a voice in the production of digital content and software. Originally known as a “national repository of online courses,” the organization has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others to build award-winning online learning tools. NROC is especially unique because they receive membership fees from educational institutions. Membership institutions share in both the work and the rewards of these development efforts. In this way, institutions are able to guide the development of learning materials to their own high quality standards while gaining access to excellent resources at a fraction of the typical cost. 

When Blue Marble first started working with NROC in 2008, the organization was comprised of several passionate staff with deep roots in education and technology. They had created various projects and initiatives lacking one recognizable name. The group was successful at securing grant funding and delivering quality work, yet it was difficult to gain recognition in a crowded and competitive marketplace. We were tasked with helping to narrow their approach and to define a brand architecture that could be used consistently long-term. 

INSIGHT

Over its 10-year history, NROC had proven to be much more than a static, “online repository.” Its unique attribute was its truly active community of education leaders. We began our work with a research and discovery phase, where we gained an understanding of the founder's longer-term vision. With that perspective, we suggested modifications to streamline the language for the organization’s projects. While many of these projects were complex, we realized the need for clear, concise names and consistent themes to address a diverse, national audience. This has been a multi-year process, and we are proud to say that due to the persistence and determination of everyone involved, NROC is increasingly gaining recognition for their valuable and innovative work.

 

RESULTS

Taking marketing to the next level

  • NROC began referring to itself as "The NROC Project" to change the focus to the active and participatory nature of the work while retaining their history. 

  • The visual identity has become more modern and professional, with an evolving suite of print and digital collateral to clearly articulate the mission, values, and offering.

  • Various elements of NROC's customer/member experience are now better aligned with the overall organization's identity.

  • NROC has a style guide and templates that staff can use to unify ongoing communications.

  • NROC hired a dedicated marketing director, who brought decades of experience in corporate marketing and collaborated closely with Blue Marble to grow an integrated in-house marketing department.

 

NROC-website1.jpg

CLIENT

The NROC Project

SERVICES

Communication strategy

User experience design

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Website design and development

Print and digital publication

Training and ongoing support

FOCUS

Education


“I think of Blue Marble as part of our team. Without their vision and creativity we would not have a fraction of the success we have enjoyed. Blue Marble took the time to understand the students and instructors that we serve, as well as the challenges we face. They committed creatively and emotionally to both our business success and our mission success.”

– Gary Lopez, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, The NROC Project

The World Bank | A plan for transformation through tourism

A plan for transformation through tourism

Harnessing tourism for growth and improved livelihood

CHALLENGE

After two years of intensive research and data compilation, the World Bank’s Africa Region Finance and Private Sector Development Unit had devised a strategy for tourism development in Sub-Sahara Africa in an effort to: formalize its involvement in tourism in Africa, create a framework for future interventions, and prioritize tourism-related activities. To garner support and funding from the World Bank’s key internal and external stakeholders, the research team needed to succinctly explain their findings and recommendations in a format easily accessible to The World Bank’s Africa-based staff and partners. 

INSIGHT

Through a series of work sessions with the research team, Blue Marble helped to identify the project’s key messages and explored various ways to present them. After several iterations of data visualizations and story sequencing, we developed a shared understanding of the story and how best to tell it. A strong visual identity for the project and a series of graphics to represent core findings were critical components for building awareness of the work and explaining complex ideas that might otherwise be lost in cultural translation.  

RESULTS

Confidently building stakeholder engagement

  • The body of work that the research team produced was packaged into a compelling story from which a presentation, printed brochure and one-sheet were produced. These materials have made the research and resulting strategy accessible to a large number of people that would not otherwise be exposed to or understand the lengthy report.
  • The research team is able to share their recommendations in a universal format with multiple audiences who have different cultural perspectives.
  • A visual articulation of the strategy has made core concepts tangible and enabled the research team to gain support for the implementation of their plan.

FORGING AHEAD

For the last several years, the Africa Tourism Strategy team has continued to promote its work and publish updated recommendations and findings as the project evolves. As part of a promotional campaign for AFTFP Tourism's recently released book entitled "Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods," we created an informational booklet and one-pager which was shared at the United Nations World Tourism Organization's 2013 General Assembly.

 

CLIENT

The World Bank

SERVICES

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Economic Impact


Gorge Owned | GO! local

GO! local

Helping people invest in a vibrant community

CHALLENGE

The Columbia River Gorge is comprised of many small towns scattered along the banks and mountain valleys of the Columbia River in both Oregon and Washington. Historically, there has not been a regional membership organization focused on helping community members invest in a strong local economy, a healthy environment, and a vibrant community — or the triple-bottom-line. In 2010, Gorge Owned (GO!) was launched to do just that. When GO! founder and now director of marketing and member services approached Blue Marble about joining the steering committee and later board of directors, we were excited to help this fledging nonprofit become an anchor for economic and community development in our region.

INSIGHT

Being a start-up, it was important that GO!’s brand identity and collateral set a strong foundation for building awareness and membership as well as conveying credibility and establishment. It was also important that GO! speak to a diverse population base. As part of the steering committee, Blue Marble helped determine the organization’s value proposition and create messaging and collateral to support that..  

RESULTS

GO! launches and continues to grow

  • With our help, GO! established the region’s first and only “buy local” campaign that incentivizes residents and visitors to shift their spending from national chains to locally owned, independent businesses. We developed a variety of “GO! Local” materials such as posters, T-shirts, stickers, business enrollment packets, awebpage and infographics to grow interest in this campaign, which annually draws more than 200 participants.
  • GO! has grown from 40 members in 2010 to more than 180 members in 2014. Blue Marble designed a brochure that serves as a key marketing piece to grow membership.
  • Once led by volunteers, GO! now has .7 FTE, has secured grant funding, has garnered strong local support, and continues to build upon the brand and marketing materials that Blue Marble initially created.

FORGING AHEAD

GO!’s meaningful brand is a critical piece of the organization’s overall success. People throughout the region recognize it, relate to it and, and want to be part of it. The organization relies heavily on volunteers and community support, and the evolution of the GO! brand is an ongoing collaboration among many talented creative professionals and other volunteers under the savvy leadership of GO!’s founder.

 

CLIENT

Gorge Owned Business Network

SERVICES

Brand and message development

Multimedia campaigns

Print and digital publication

FOCUS

Economic Impact


“Blue Marble’s experience working with triple-bottom-line businesses was a huge asset to GO! as the organization was establishing its value proposition. You have a passion and true talent for helping organizations tell the ‘why’ behind their story. Your diverse skill set — being able to leverage our brand into professional, polished marketing materials in different media — was invaluable. People are impressed with what we've accomplished, and tend to think we are more established than we are — which helps us build a strong reputation and community support.”

– Becky Brun, Marketing and Membership Director, Gorge Owned