Baltimore Wrap-up

Now that I’m back in Portland (after having survived a horrendous 12+-hours in the Baltimore airport which Delta customer service will be hearing about), I thought I’d finish re-capping the ARC convention.

The last day was spent talking about our “purpose” and began with a presentation by Roy Spence from GSD&M Advertising. Roy’s company began their relationship with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, when they offered to make a PSA along with the Ad Federation. I can’t find it online at the moment, but I guarantee you’d remember it — powerful images from New Orleans along with Aaron Neville’s haunting vocals.

GSD&M has since worked on our new Change a Life PSA campaign that is currently rolling out across the country. Here’s my favorite spot:

Anyway, the process to get to the campaign was a long one and involved the company sorting through our “opinion-rich culture” to find our core purpose. As Roy put it, we’re in the “make a difference business” and our organization is filled with ordinary people who have extraordinary passion and goodwill. Seriously, if that doesn’t make you feel inspired, I’m not sure what will. More on what our official purpose is in a sec…

After Roy’s presentation, I checked out a workshop on community partnerships and heard about some interesting ways that local Red Cross chapters have made this happen. There were some great suggestions — one chapter talked about their partnership with a local football team and another spoke about a collaboration with a major pet supply store. And, even though many people aren’t crazy about HUMMER vehicles, we also heard about the HOPE program, which made me love the gas-guzzlers a little more.

Next up was a workshop on branding and the PSA campaign mentioned above. And, as promised, here’s our Red Cross purpose:

Empowering people in America to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergency situations.

Sounds pretty accurate, no?

From there, we went over the new rules when it comes to use of the Red Cross logo. There’s literally a whole book written on the topic, which was waiting for me when I got back to Portland. But, as one of the speakers said, ours is the only trademark in the world that can protect you in a combat zone, so getting it right is key.

While the thought of adjusting all our materials to reflect new fonts and colors is a little intimidating, I’m pleased to say that we’ve already started the process. You might not be able to tell, but this very blog reflects the new graphic standards!

Anyway, all in all, the national convention was a great experience. It was fun to put faces to names — Wendy and Seth, in particular — and I definitely walked away both inspired and informed. Even the hours upon hours that I spent at BWI gave me some good bonding time with Antoinette!

I’ll leave you with the text from the MasterCard ad in the convention booklet…

caring: $0
dedication: $0
compassion: $0
making a difference: priceless