Two Organizations With One Goal
Rochester-based organizations Deaf IGNITE and Willow Center have been supporting survivors of domestic violence for over 20 years. They’ve frequently worked together, lending resources and expertise to each other whenever needed. While Deaf IGNITE is all-Deaf staffed and focused on Deaf survivors, the Willow Center supports survivors throughout the Rochester area, including those who are Deaf. Knowing that Deaf survivors benefit from direct communication in ASL and cultural understanding, the Willow Center often looks to Deaf IGNITE for expertise and Deaf IGNITE to Willow for broader support. Their coming together was years in the making.
Home To The Largest Per-Capita Deaf Population
Deaf IGNITE was founded in 1998 specifically because of the needs of the Rochester Deaf community. Rochester has one of the largest Deaf populations in the US, anchored largely by the NTID/RIT community and Rochester School for the Deaf. Given the greater prevalence of abuse experienced by Deaf individuals, Deaf IGNITE has supported thousands of survivors over 20 years. Joining forces with the Willow Center made sense because it reduced overhead and would allow both organizations to access more funding and opportunities to serve Deaf survivors – leveraging the community network of Willow and the niche expertise of IGNITE.
Announcing A Model For The Future
We decided to use the announcement to show that both organizations coming together did not mean a loss of a niche service organization for the Deaf Community but there would be greater opportunities to reach out to and serve Deaf survivors. One way of showing this instead of saying this, would be to immediately update the Deaf IGNITE website and to produce high quality communications assets to support the announcement. This would help Willow and Deaf IGNITE to explain their intentions and to show their shared values.
We worked with Tipping Point Communications, Willow Center and Deaf IGNITE to produce the announcement video, update the Willow website and create a new Deaf IGNITE micro-site. This included creating a generic service introduction video for both sites that would last beyond the initial announcement. Because Deaf IGNITE is a known entity in the Rochester community, we wanted to be sure there was not an abrupt change to Deaf IGNITE’s community outreach. We created a new logo and icon that merged both organization’s logos into something that could help smooth the transition from the Deaf IGNITE brand to the Willow Center.
To ensure brand consistency in all of our asset creation, we met with Truth Collective, a Rochester-based marketing agency that created the original Willow brand identity and its prior award-winning campaigns. Meeting with them helped informed the overall tone of the campaign and messaging while staying true to the Willow identity.
Working with Tipping Point Communications, a press release was produced with an American Sign Language version interpreted by a Certified Deaf Interpreter. The same CDI was used in an overlay on the announcement promo video whenever Willow Center CEO Meaghan de Chateauvieux appeared in the video. Voice interpretation was recorded for Deaf IGNITE executive director Susan Demers-McLetchie in an effort to make the video as widely inclusive as possible.
We believe all organizations should take the added step of providing ASL and voice interpretation in addition to captions when making major announcements or introducing significant initiatives. When communicating with the Deaf Community, providing a bilingual message is always the best and right medium.
We were proud to support this campaign and honored to be a part of such an important undertaking.