20-year sapling

Our New Mark: 20 Years of Growth

It’s an exciting day. Today, we unveil a new mark for Banyan Communications.

Over the past several years our company has grown. We’ve developed new services, brought in new people. And in many ways, we had outgrown our previous mark. Our 20th anniversary has given us the opportunity to update our mark to reflect the company that we’ve become.

Now, I’m happy to officially introduce you to the new visual mark that will carry Banyan Communications forward.

The new mark is simple and elegant… and has been designed by our best visual designers to be used within a system.

Let me tell you about a few of the little details that make this mark special.

1) It respects the past (trunk)

The Trunk: After 20 years our sapling is all grown up. The trunk is a minimized element in the new mark, mature and thick. Inside each ring represents a year of our history. We have realized the potential in the sapling and it reflects a reality of 20 years of growth. We honor the original trunk (storytelling & filmmaking) with a shadow.

2) We are Banyan…literally (letterforms)

Letterforms: Our company and the Banyan tree have a similar growth pattern. This unique tree system expands by sprouting new trunks.; similar to how we have brought more people and services into the company. We have added: strategy, engineering, research, and design. The letterforms represent the people and services we provide – We are “banyan” in a very literal way.

3) Our work is our product (canopy)

Canopy: The rectangle above is referred to as the “canopy” and represents our work. The collective output of our company is the work that we put out into the world that inspires change for good; The Banyan tree works together to push out many tiny leaves that are visible as a mass (the tree canopy) from a distance.

So that’s the new logo.

It’s a more accurate depiction of who we are as a company. We’ve grown beyond a 20-year-old sapling into an elegant and more readable mark. It respects the past, it represents us…and our work in a very literal and meaningful way…

So the next time you come across a Banyanite, congratulate them on the 20-year mark… oh, and ask for a new business card, they are really cool!

I don’t see anyone smoking a cigarette or drinking a sugary beverage, do you?

Niche Before Niche was Cool: Thoughts from Dragon Con

“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”

Simon Pegg

Every Labor Day Weekend, downtown Atlanta is flooded with football fans dressed head to toe in football paraphernalia and people dressed as their favorite characters from anime, movies, books, and television. Often both groups are also looking at each other with almost identical expressions, looks that say “Why would you spend so much time and money on something so  . . . silly?!” I plan to attend Dragon Con this weekend, putting me firmly in allegiance with the people letting their geek flags fly. As a reader of this blog, you know that Banyanites see intersections with our work all over the place, and my plans over the holiday weekend are no exception.

What does Steampunk Star Wars have to do with Health Communications?

The same hotel that hosted the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (NCHCMM) just a week earlier is holding a session on race and gender in science fiction down the hall from where there was a NCHCMM session on gaming and tobacco prevention. Both conferences include academic studies, discussions of multiple media formats, and tips on getting your story out there. One significant difference is that while NCHCMM was in the Hyatt Regency, Dragon Con is in the Hyatt, the Hilton, the Marriott Marquis, Westin Peachtree Plaza, and the Sheraton; covering much of downtown Atlanta. At NCHCMM, there was a lot of talk about getting messages “where the eyeballs are,” but it’s obvious that Dragon Con knows a good bit about that as well.

photograph courtesy onceuponageek https://www.flickr.com/photos/onceuponageek/

photograph courtesy onceuponageek
flickr.com/photos/onceuponageek

It’s become increasingly difficult to explain exactly what Dragon Con is. Science fiction convention is the lazy answer. Dragon Con is about books, comic books, movies, television shows, web series, and games of every kind. There is science fiction, fantasy, anime, animation, hard science, skepticism, technology, and a whole track devoted to engineering and invention. Think of an interest, and I bet you will find a place to learn more and/or talk about it with fellow enthusiast.

In health communication, we have embraced targeted messaging and careful consideration of the specific audience for changing health behaviors. As someone who never misses the Annual Dragon Con Parade – even if I often skip several years between attending the actual convention – I’ve been amazed at how much the topics and tracks continue to grow over the last 20-odd years. Niches abound at Dragon Con, and there may be no better place to learn about how to engage a small but devoted following.

Holy Crossplay, Batma’am!

For my money, the people watching and the costumes are the best part.

That’s why the parade is a must-see event for me. Fans take their passion about their entertainment incredibly seriously; spending massive amounts of thought, energy, invention, imagination, time and money on their fandom.

photograph courtesy the nerdy girls flickr.com/photos/thenerdygirls

photograph courtesy the nerdy girls
flickr.com/photos/thenerdygirls

I can appreciate a meticulously rendered reproduction of something seen on a movie or somewhere else. However, for me, the ones who take a concept and make it their own are the best. How could you not be inspired by the creative mash-ups you see at Dragon Con? Steampunk versions like the Star Wars picture have become pretty common in the last few years, but you will also see re-interpretations like the Box Heroes (see picture above) and the woman who came dressed as a knitted hat from the short-lived Firefly TV show (below).

So, what do I want to bring back to my work at Banyan from Dragon Con 2014? Here’s my list:

  • Inspiration- I will definitely want to come up with some of my own ideas that are even half as ingenious.
  • Courage– I may choose less revealing ways than wearing that much spandex in public, but I will try to be brave.
  • Grace– I wouldn’t make it down the hall in those heels much less a whole parade route.
  • Passion– When people love something, it changes them.
  • Vocabulary– Every fandom has it’s own language, and I love new words. I’ll learn more portmanteau words than I know what to do with.
  • Fun– We should all have some. In life, in our spare time, at work (after all, health communications can be fun, too).

 

2014 NCHCMM Exhibitors

What’s Your Story?

Last week – as has been the case for the last eight years – people from across the country with a vested interest in public health and effective communication converged in Atlanta.

2014 NCHCMM Program

2014 NCHCMM Program

For the second year in a row, I’ve had the opportunity to join them. Between networking opportunities, workshops, presentations, and plenary and poster sessions, the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media provides an opportunity to compare notes, be inspired, and use lessons learned to do a better job in your corner of the world.

Conference organizers chose “What’s Your Story?” as the theme for this year’s event.

We all have one to tell. And here at Banyan, so much of what we do involves crafting and telling a compelling narrative. We work on a wide variety of public health-related projects, many with a prevention focus and even more that involve a component of storytelling, in one way or another.

Given my interest in social media (not to mention my work-related responsibilities) I gravitated toward sessions related to measurement and analysis; data-driven health communications; and using new media storytelling and entertainment to reach at-risk audiences.

Figuring out where to be in the social media can be a challenge in and of itself: how do you decide among / between Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vimeo, Vine, or YouTube?

One presentation provided some simple ground rules to keep in mind. For instance, do you have:

  • Access to design?
  • A paid media budget?
  • Staff with the time and knowledge to create and manage content?
  • Capabilities to measure effectiveness?

The points above relate specifically to Facebook, but they are worth considering before establishing a presence on any social media platform.

Other simple takeaways anyone can put into place as part of a social media strategy (regardless of how simple or in-depth it might be):

  1. Understand Your Audience Figure out what moves them – what are they passionate about?
  2. Understand Their Preferences What type of content would they most like to receive?
  3. Edit Content Ruthlessly Enough said.
  4. Evaluate Are your efforts effective in the way you want them to be?

NCHCMMTweetIn addition to the breakout sessions, keynote and plenary presentations on storytelling and maximizing inspiration provided new ideas and tips to help conference attendees craft and hone effective messages.

Given the conference was taking place in the midst of the Ebola outbreak, I also took advantage of a last-minute session on prepping public health folks to discuss the disease in their communities. A “how-to” session quickly became a dialogue about how CDC handles an outbreak in which misinformation and lack of understanding can prompt fear. Toss in NBC’s former chief science correspondent Bob Bazell (now a professor at Yale) asking tough questions and you have a conversation custom-delivered for the former reporter and CDC health comm specialist in me.

It.was.fascinating.

I’m looking forward to 2015 already.