The leaders and creatives at brand and experience design agency Latitude firmly believe that the act of working for a purpose greater than ourselves is what magnifies and elevates talent.
“We live in one of the richest countries in the world, and we are surrounded by opportunities every day that some people will not see in a lifetime,” says co-founder and president Jeremy Carroll. “It is our responsibility to go to the ends of the Earth and serve in a big way by using our time, talents and treasures to reach people around the world in a way that elevates humanity.”
Since 2009, Latitude has been investing 50 percent of its profits in ways that “elevate the lives of people living in developing countries.” The investment is key here—Latitude does not do pro-bono work, nor do they do discounted work.
“We believe non-profits and for-profits need to invest in great brands, thus ensuring greater success in their project,” Carroll says. “Our experience has proven that working both here and around the world, for free or at a discounted rate, does not necessarily deliver a quality brand. The success of any project, however, comes from within these organizations and their investment in a project is one of the key components.”
“Too often, non-profits and/or for profit businesses want a quick brand fix,” adds Glenn Deering, senior strategist at Latitude. “However, branding is much more than just a marketing discipline; it is foundational strategy for building business.
We talked with the Latitude team about their recent branding project for Fleuri Bakery in Titanyen, Haiti—a Healing Haiti initiative to empower families through social enterprise. Latitude has been involved with Healing Haiti since 2009, and has invested $125,000 in the building of Fleuri Bakery and job creation center.
“Our greatest hope for this project is to create a brand in
which the Haitian people can take great pride.”
—Latitude co-founder and president Jeremy Carroll
Branding Haiti’s Fleuri Bakery
Healing Haiti, a non-profit 501(c)3, is launching micro-enterprise startup Fleuri Bakery as part of their initiative to empower families in Titanyen, Haiti, to stay together during economic struggle. “The community is the center of this project, to unify families and give glory to God through social enterprise and the strengthened family,” says Jeff Gacek, Healing Haiti director and co-founder.
Healing Haiti asked Latitude to create a brand that would stand for something larger than the business itself. So, the team created a brand that is centered on “the flourishing spirit and God-given talents of the Haitian people.” They built the brand on the belief that healthy families build healthy communities.
Furthermore, the brand needed to serve not only the Haitian community, but also the Healing Haiti organization and its fundraising efforts in the U.S. “It needed to bridge the cultural divide and demonstrate the program’s spirit within Haiti and beyond,” Carroll says.
Carroll notes that packaging is an important aspect of the program, as Fleuri will be selling and delivering their goods to restaurants in Port-au-Prince as well as resorts and hotels throughout Haiti.
“Our greatest hope for this project is to create a brand in which the Haitian people can take great pride,” Carroll says. “We want them to take complete ownership of the brand and use it as a beacon to promote their tremendous talents and flourishing spirit. The beautiful brand work will enable Healing Haiti to sell branded merchandise like apparel and gifts to help fundraising efforts in the states.”
“The deeper branding challenge has been to create a brand that
could become a vessel for future growth of the program.”
Challenges and Rewards Along the Branding Journey
The creative team faced several challenges, including language and cultural differences, but Latitude’s history of annual service and insight trips to Haiti, plus the strength of their relationships with several organizations, give the team quite a deep understanding of Haitian culture. One Latitude employee, Djovany Filasame, hails from Haiti and assisted with language and translation obstacles. And Latitude’s creative director and senior designer traveled to Haiti during the branding process in order to directly connect to “the people and spirit of the project.”
“The deeper branding challenge has been to create a brand that could become a vessel for future growth of the program,” Carroll says, noting that the Fleuri brand will also be extended to a small on-site cafe environment, making it a destination within the community. “The larger vision of the bakery is for job and life skills training, and ultimately the bakery could evolve into many entrepreneurial avenues.” Carroll notes that Healing Haiti has developed an entire trade school concept that will start with the bakery as the first trade, followed by the hospitality industry. People will have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and graduate ready to engage in the industry on their own.
“Meeting the hard-working Haitian people that are literally creating this program, brick-by-brick, is definitely at the top our favorite memories list,” says Eric Anthony, creative director at Latitude. “Seeing the passion and pride they have for their community is a tremendous creative inspiration. They have trust in our team to embody their values, ideas and spirit in the brand, and we felt a tremendous sense of responsibility to serve them well.”
Carroll informs us that construction of the bakery and trade school is now complete; the pizzeria restaurant will open by June, and the bakery will be operational, with apprentice training underway, by August.
Design for Social Good—One Project at a Time
With strong branding in place for Fleuri Bakery, Latitude has recently been working on a project for Restavek Freedom (RF), with which Carroll traveled in May of 2015. RF’s mission is to bring awareness of and protection to Haitian children living in slavery, in part due to economic struggle, and though they’re making tremendous progress, they need a platform to connect the Beaureau for the Protection of Minors with tools that will enable them to perform significant functions: keepings records of victimized children, prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring the children’s long-lasting freedom through proper record, protocol and cross-departmental communication across Haiti.
While in Haiti with RF, Carroll shared his vision to create such a tool through a digital platform. The final implementation of the digital platform will happen in late April, with the Latitude and RF teams on site for training with the Haitian Police at BPM.
“For us at Latitude, it is a blessing to have the opportunity to work with organizations whose missions are to protect children,” Carroll says. “I believe when your heart is broken, God reshapes it to serve in a bigger and better way to serve humanity.”