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Case Study: Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL)

Challenge

For over 20 years, Seattle Arts & Lectures has brought the Seattle area community together, creating rich experiences by presenting the world’s most creative thinkers, and programs taught by the area’s most dynamic writers and teachers. SAL has provided venues where the area community connected in the transformative power of the imagination – in the auditorium and the classroom – in the spirit of creating a more inspired, curious, and engaged community.

Over the course of just two decades, however, the Seattle area had seen phenomenal economic growth and seismic shifts in its demographic composition. SAL leadership wanted to engage with the broadest possible range of bright, curious people of all ages and backgrounds in the region who enjoy language, literature, ideas, and learning through its increasingly varied and exploratory programming. SAL's original branding had long since ceased to serve this goal, and was failing to connect with the area's younger and demographically diverse community.

The challenge of the new identity system was thus to retain and reenergize SAL's current audiences, to better cross-pollinate the educational and public programs, and to rapidly expand both of these audiences.

Solution

A careful, highly collaborative research phase, consisting of a series of in-depth interviews, creative exercises, and facilitated group sessions culminated in the organization’s first fully articulated brand positioning and messaging framework. This living document spelled out SAL’s mission and brand strategy in a way that was both empowering to the organization’s management and staff, and which directed the subsequent development of a vital new visual identity system and a complete transformation of all digital and collateral marketing communications media.

The new brand positioning and visual identity make clear that SAL is not (simply) a well-turned phrase or an aesthetic abstraction. It is about the interaction between a writer and her readers, between individuals sitting side by side in an audience, between teachers and students learning about themselves and one another in often intimate exchanges of personal meanings and experiences. SAL is fresh meaning on the tips of our tongues.

Responses to the new digital media, as well as event, advertising and marketing collateral have been extremely positive. Events have been filled to overflowing. Courses have been sold out. And, beyond the numbers, members of SAL management and the board of directors have been energized by the excitement and steady flow of praise generated by the new brand and all-new media.

 

 

 

The challenge of the new identity system was to retain and reenergize SAL's current audiences, to better cross-pollinate the educational and public programs, and to rapidly expand both audiences.

Experience includes ...

T-Mobile US
Microsoft | Windows Phone
Microsoft | Worldwide Marketing
Microsoft | Partner Network
The US-Japan Council
Seattle Arts & Lectures
Expedia
Drexel University
George Mason University
PhotoRocket
American College of Cardiology
Comient
Jobfully
Snackdish
Dolby
BroadSoft
American Chamber of
_
Commerce in Japan
Vodafone
The Brookings Institution
Kodak
AARP
Gateway
AIG
Lipton Teas
Mazda
De Beers
Jack Daniels
Shiseido
Ford
Howrey LLP


 
 

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