The Ask:

Create a brand identity for a new Culinary program in Richmond’s East End.

Objective:

Build a identity that reflects this new symbol of opportunity.

The Strategy:

Reynolds Culinary Institute challenges the recipe of expectations.

When a new culinary program asked us to find its identity, we were up for the challenge.


A Little Background:

When a community college needed to brand its new culinary program, we seized the opportunity to challenge the recipe of expectations regarding the quality of education a community college could provide. This identity needed to have an impact and symbolize a welcomed change in a geographic area that is currently in distress.

Drawing heavily from the new building’s architectural flair and the city of Richmond’s creative nature, “The Kitchen at Reynolds” is a brand identity campaign designed to increase student enrollment and entice potential donors to complete the project’s funding.

What We Knew:

  • The location of the school is in a distressed district of Richmond called Church Hill.
  • The growth of Richmond’s food scene will require an influx of 3,000+ new culinary jobs each year, most of these jobs being mid-level line cooks.
  • Reynolds needs to target younger students right out of high school who might not be looking into traditional programs as well as older students looking for a second degree.

Research:

“A chef telling you it won’t work is far less effective than letting them do it and seeing what happens.”
– Jesse Miller, Executive Chef

Current students and Executive Chefs – We learned about the program, its core values, and the needs and expectations of its students and staff.

Church Hill Activities and Tutoring –  We interviewed local businesses and volunteer organizations to better understand the needs of the community and how this program could fit in and help address their needs.

Fundraising Management Companies –  By talking with local fundraising organizations we explored opportunities to attract more donors and encourage greater investment for the future of The Kitchen at Reynolds.


Brand Opportunity:

Food Has the Power To Build Cities.

As food moves in, we see areas grow, develop a unique identity, and provide opportunities that were once absent. We can bridge the gap between the economic and skill development needed to grow and nourish a thriving culinary industry that has the power to transform neighborhoods.

“We want our own sense of self identity and independence. A sense of pride.”– Jesse Miller, Executive Chef

Brand Position:

Reynolds Culinary Institute is the Epicenter of Culinary Development.

Epicenter

A central location for culinary expertise and opportunity in Richmond.

Culinary Development

Has the power to bring restaurants, jobs, and housing to a neighborhood and a city.

Communication Opportunity:

We Welcome the Advantage of Being Underestimated.

Nationally, community colleges are considered starter-schools, a stepping stone to a four-year degree. Not unrelated, culinary schools tend to keep to a very conservative, monotoned voice. This provided us the opportunity to create an identity that breaks predefined constraints and introduces an interesting point of view in the culinary field.

Communication Strategy:

Challenge the recipe of expectations.

We Challenge

That East End can’t thrive as other Richmond neighborhoods do.

That a community college doesn’t carry as much weight as a 4 year degree.

That a culinary program can’t have an interesting point of view.

Introducing
The Kitchen

A new take on the culinary arts
fueled by innovative education and community involvement.

Logo and Branding:

The new logo presents an exciting new face for the culinary program at Reynolds Community College. It combines culinary excellence with the school’s continued commitment to sustainability.

Promotions, Donations, and Celebrations:

First, we want to get people talking by putting up promotional signage on the construction mesh that surrounds the construction site of the new building. We also want to bring awareness to local restaurants by giving The Kitchen alumni decals to display on their windows.

In order to encourage donations we will offer commemorative spoons that will display donor names at the school. Lastly, we want to celebrate students’ achievements by creating a cookbook that showcases their personal recipes.

Collateral

The Kitchen isn’t only a brand. It is an identity. We want its professionalism and opinions to be visually showcased in all of the marketing we do from food packaging to traditional print advertisements.


  • "Jacob is a great tactical thinker and amazing digital designer. He works very diligently on his projects, which is great. He is willing to do a lot to produce good work."

    Anonymous Brandcenter Classmate
  • "He provides smart, actionable, strategic thinking, and then he can make that thinking look pretty."

    Anonymous Brandcenter Classmate
  • "He's a good boy. I don't have very many complaints."

    My Mom
  • "If Jake was a pet, he'd be a golden retriever. He's incredibly friendly with a huge heart, and is non-judgemental."

    Anonymous Brandcenter Classmate