Reno Wired : Building a Brand for CAAW

Reno Wired : Building a Brand for CAAW

A while ago in passing Kevin Jones asked me to take part in something he was going to be doing in a couple months. Something about re-branding some nonprofit in 24 hours or something. I was on my way out to the gym so I was like, “whatever dude, sounds good, let’s #circleback.

Fast forward, I hear more, there’s a website with my Twitter picture, we have a meeting, we have another meeting, and a clearer picture of Reno Wired is seen.

The 24 hour event

I’m no stranger to 24 hour events. And neither is Reno and Reno Collective. For the last few years, members of the Reno hacker/geek community have been participating in hack-a-thons, 24 hour events in which participants create digital programs that may or may not turn into a useful product. The point is to spend a circumscribed amount of time completely immersing yourself in a project. Because let’s be honest here, the tratitional way of devoting an hour here and there to a pet project after the kids go to bed is inefficient and easy to give up on.

A 24 hour event on the other hand lets us completely immerse ourselves in a project, work together as a team, or in the case of Reno Wired, a SUPER team, and see something through from start to finish in one continuous effort. As a pro bono project, donating 24 hours of your time is much easier to do if it’s all at once than spread out over the course of weeks and months.

My personal history with 24 hour events in with bike races and maraton mountaineering pushes. Though I have been aware of the growing marathon coding events in Reno, they largely have not fit my personal skills until now.

Reno Wired

So the point of Reno Wired is to work with a nonprofit agency and completely redesign the brand from start to finish, or soup to nuts if you like that one between 8:00 AM Friday and 8:00 AM saturday. Reno’s Committee to Aid Abused Women was chosen as our nonprofit by Kevin Jones, Jenna Hubert and Julia Kruper. The three then acted as leads for the duration of the event keeping things on track and making key decisions in the execution of the rebrand.

CAAW styleguide

In 24 hours we did the following:

  • Developed a new logo
  • Redesigned all print materials and had them printed by Reno Type
  • Redesigned the website
  • Build a new WordPress site with custom posts for the content, payment gateway for donations and integration with mail chimp
  • Designed and implemented an email template with content
  • Wrote new brand copy
  • Shot all new photography for branding and advertising
  • Produced a brand video for the website and presentations

Producing a video in 24 hours

All in all producing this video didn’t take much more or less time than my normal service for a video of this scope. But it was pretty cool to be able to get it all done at once and have a finished product the day after starting it. Even if I was too sleepy to watch it. I did have lots of help with the project.

Shooting video interviews at CAAW. Photo by David Calvert

Shooting video interviews at CAAW. Photo by David Calvert

My sister, Carrie Henderson who is an Account Executive at the Bauserman Group, went with me on the shoot and was my producer, helping stage and conduct the interviews.

Photographer David Calvert went with us and shoot photos of the facilities, staff and clients and ended up with some really great images for the website and collateral. Calvert is great at photographing people. He has an eye for smiles and genuine human interactions that really was perfect for this project. He even took a bunch of photos at the event which you can view here.

Designer, Tyler St. Pierre, set with me during most of the edit helping me whittle down the content into a 3 minute video that told a complete story. Tyler also designed the beautiful name tages in the video and the infographic slides that appear throughout. His creativity and strategic thinking was a huge benefit to the project, and it was awesome working this closely with him.

Rob Gaedtke spent a few hours finding the perfect music bed for the video. Finding the right music is hard and HUGELY time consuming. If I’d have had to do that myself, I wouldn’t have been done by 8:00 AM.

Mike McDowell helped proof the copy in the video. But a little caffeine might have helped reduce the 3 hour delay between noticing a typo and communicating it to us.

3 AM Screening of the CAAW video

3 AM Screening of the CAAW video

In the end we made a video that I’m really proud of. It was an amazing experience to work hard on something most of the night, then pack my office with the team for the first showing at 3 AM.


A great experience

This will go down as one of the best experiences of my career. Not only did we do something that was greatly appreciated by the client, that we know will benefit the community, that we as individuals feel is some of our best work, but the experience of working with old friends and new friends from many different agencies in such a collaborative, positive and thoughtful environment was amazing. Everyone worked together beautifully and the final product was something we are all be very proud of.

Thank you all! And thank you to Kevin for inviting m to be a part of this. I look forward to participating in this event, or this kind of event again.