At the end of our work helping a nonprofit develop their brand, we always share this nugget of truth: brand ownership is not the same as memorization. The Rochester Educational Opportunity Center (REOC) recently provided a stellar example of how we can all think about bringing our brand to life by engaging our teams, whether staff, board, trustees or volunteers.

REOC came to Causewave to help develop a brand platform that truly describes their organization, which operates in a field that has changed dramatically in the last decade. REOC is part of the statewide network of ten Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs). It has provided quality, tuition-free, short-term College Preparation, Career and Technical training for adults in the Rochester area for over 45 years. It is sponsored, in part, by The College at Brockport.

From the beginning, REOC leaders focused on shared ownership in the process, putting together a diverse team of employees and stakeholders from across the organization, including employees at all levels, to participate in the brand development workshop. Together, they developed a brand platform that is rich, well-rounded and aligned with where the REOC is heading.

To begin breathing life into their new brand, Roosevelt Mareus, Dean/Executive Director of the REOC, brought together the full REOC staff to kick off the new school year. Everyone was given a tutorial on what the concept of brand means and its importance, survey results from the process, and an overview of how the brand was developed during the workshop.

Three staff members, who participated in the workshop presented the REOC brand platform: Wendy (faculty) presented the target audiences, Jeannette (professional staff) presented personality traits and brand essence, and Doug (maintenance) presented the brand promise.  They didn’t just read the brand elements, they talked about what each one means and how they plan to truly incorporate it into their own daily actions.

In the spirit of ownership, Roosevelt then asked people to pair up to role-play one thing they could do right away to start living the brand. Volunteers enthusiastically shared many examples that it turned into a fun competition among the employees. Roosevelt took the stage to cheer-lead and challenge everyone to start living the brand right away. As someone who leads by example, Roosevelt shared how he plans to begin by focusing on incorporating the brand promise into internal operations.

To cap the event, Roosevelt did his best Oprah audience giveaway impression and passed out t-shirts that have the REOC brand essence on the front and personality traits on the back.

REOC and Causewave worked collectively to develop our brand platform. Causewave did a great job with helping us to create a successful and exciting brand,” shared Roosevelt. “Our faculty and staff wear our brand t-shirts with pride, knowing that REOC has been and will continue to create ‘Life-changing opportunities.’

Causewave is excited to see REOC staff so enthusiastically embracing the results of the hard work that their colleagues put into developing such a thoughtful brand platform. We look forward to seeing REOC continue to expand their impact in our community through free, hands-on training and connections to in-demand jobs.

If you have questions about bringing your organization's brand to life, give us a shout at or 442-0200.