The Jewish Agency for Israel. Brand Strategy, Copywriting, Design + Marketing materials.
REBRANDING AN ORGANIZATION THAT WORKS TIRELESSLY FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Most people in the Jewish community are familiar with The Jewish Agency for Israel and have a fair idea of some of the things they’ve done in the past, like helping Jews all over the world emigrate to Israel after World War II. But many people haven’t been clear about what they do today, which was an issue for the world’s largest Jewish organization. The fact is that besides being a driving force behind the establishment of Israel, for almost 85 years, The Jewish Agency has been connecting Jewish people around the world to each other and to this special land.
When they approached us for help with their brand, we were excited and deeply humbled as Israelis. Like a lot of clients whose brands drift farther and farther away as their mission and purpose evolve over time, they knew something was wrong, but they needed help to find out where and how exactly to begin fixing it.
Over the course of six months, we worked side by side with this remarkable organization to develop a completely new brand strategy based on who they are and what they do today, a process that included more than thirty interviews and meetings with team members and leaders. As we dug, we began to understand what they were all about, and we developed a brand story based on a core promise that The Jewish Agency was able to stand firmly behind. Its essence was this: Everything they do today and have done throughout their storied history has been to keep Jews united. For a people separated by geography but linked by heritage and culture, The Jewish Agency exists to keep everyone connected and strong. The manifesto, which we wrote in both long and short versions, built toward the tagline that everything else flowed from:
Every one of us, together.
Then it was on to a new visual identity. Before nailing down the design language of such a legendary institution, we did a lot of homework, including a comprehensive review of their communication archive. We had to quickly become experts on where their brand had been before we could set about taking it someplace new. And the knowledge we gained through this process was invaluable when we began exploring different ways to visually express the strategy and story. Eventually, we presented five distinctly different directions and our clients chose to move forward with the one we were all most excited about.
The new identity incorporates vibrant colors for a vibrant and colorful people, and it uses a weaving motif to convey the idea that individual threads join together to make a strong, beautiful fabric. In The Jewish Agency’s new visual identity, each Jew is part of a vibrant tapestry of identity and history…every one of us, together.
Perhaps you can imagine the extensive photo library an organization like this one built up over the decades. Or perhaps you can’t – even we were surprised! Our challenge here was not a lack of assets; it was instead in advising The Jewish Agency on how to use them to their most powerful advantage. We showed them how to frame photos in their communications to draw attention to the people in the shots, because serving people is at the heart of what they do. We also shared with them simple ways to enhance the aesthetic qualities of shots that were taken under less than ideal conditions or by people without a lot of photographic expertise. By the time our project was winding down, the very same photo library was yielding images that were much more relevant to their new brand.
SPEAKING WITH A NEW VOICE
Of course, in addition to pictures, we had to think about words: The Jewish Agency needed a new way to talk with people. It needed to be human. Clear. Inclusive. Headlines and subheads in a wide variety of marketing materials played a key role here, because they offered an opportunity to speak about beliefs and values in this new voice.
The Performance Report 2016-2017 was a critical document, not only for The Jewish Agency itself, but as the first expression of the new brand – the first time they spoke to the world with their new voice. As the primary annual communication with donors and employees all over the world, the Performance Report offers a look back at the past year for the organization and includes profiles of people who were touched in some way by The Jewish Agency. Whether it’s detailing the aid provided to Jews in the former Soviet Union or sharing the story of someone who made Aliyah (emigrated to Israel), the 44-page report we created was a testament to the emotional power of the new brand as well as an overview of the amazing work the Agency does.
The set of almost 30 sell sheets we produced are one of The Jewish Agency’s most important fundraising tools, providing in-depth looks at some of the key programs The Jewish Agency funds and runs. Our first step was to create a template or outline for they would be organized and how we would talk about the programs, and then we developed one sell sheet for each in line with the new brand guidelines. We ended up with a family of sheets that shared a beautiful visual unity but that also captured each program’s individual goals, statistics, and stories.
Impact Pages posed a challenge similar to that of the sell sheets because they had to work as a coherent group while allowing each page to tell a different story. Impact pages offer a look at places where The Jewish Agency has made a big difference in the Jewish world. Selecting the right images and copy and keeping them finely balanced was crucial, because these pages are where The Jewish Agency tells the stories it’s proudest of – those times when it has most successfully fulfilled its long-held mission.
Everything we learned and created in the course of this extensive rebrand culminated in a 70-page brand book that outlined all the dos and don’ts of the new brand to the last detail. This is a critical step we urge all our clients to take to maintain the clarity, relevance and vision of the brand everywhere it appears. We’re excited to see how this project continues to roll out, and we look forward to being with this amazing organization every step of the way.
This was a source of so much pride to us here at natie, not only because of the profile of the client and the esteem in which we all held them, but because of the work we put into it, too.
This was the full team at maximum capacity for an extended period. It really did take every one of us…together.