1,000 Words With Simply An Image

In a world where audiences are bombarded with information and content, it is increasingly difficult to stand out from your competitors to deliver a message. Maybe an image is all you need.

The question is, how can nonprofits harness the power of an image to engage their audience? Our answer is always — creativity!


Using photos as content for social media is a growing trend. Many of our clients see increased engagement from their followers when incorporating images into a social media plan. From the growing popularity of Instagram and Pinterest plus Facebook’s new addition of photo comments, the power of the perfect image can’t be denied.

“A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.” – Ekaterina Walter, Fast Company

Why are images gaining in popularity?

  • Quickly communicates a message
  • Breaks up text heavy content
  • Dynamic and engaging
  • Tells a story
  • Easy to share and repost on newsfeeds

An image has power. It can stand out among the flux of information received by your audience. It can invoke an emotion to support your cause. It can be light and fun, offering a glimpse into the everyday life of your organization.

With the rise of smartphones, snapping a photo at an event, during a day at the office, or showcasing your latest program is easier than ever. Post it. Tweet it. Pin It. Voila! You now have creative, dynamic, rockstar content promoting your cause.


The trend seen by this group of rockstars is this: It doesn’t matter if your audience is made up of musicians, scientists or hardcore birders. Images resonate with social consumers.

We want to know, have you used images for your nonprofit branding strategies? What success have you seen?


Beaming with Pride

Around here at BC/DC Ideas, we often talk about our jobs being our “work child.” We nurture it with hard work, make sure it keeps growing, and are always worried about it. So on days like today, we feel like proud parents!

Our client, WithinReach & Vax Northwest, was featured in TIME Magazine for the Immunity Community project. This peer-to-peer vaccine communications project is a landmark program that prepares parents to have tough immunization conversations with other parents. In the article, the reporter uses the Immunity Community program as a framework to support a new study that at least 95% of parents indicated that they had consulted their “people network” for insight into making vaccination decisions. Read the whole article here.

We have been by our client’s side for every step of the Immunity Community project – creating the brand, communications materials, advocate trainings and videos. We’ve felt the stress of training the first set of advocates and feeling the relief of watching the research come in with positive results. It’s been a great two years making this project a reality and we are looking forward to making it all happen again this year.

Why I Vaccinate – Jason and Siara from BC/DC Ideas on Vimeo.

At BC/DC Ideas, this is what we do. We work with our clients to literally change the world. With our clients, we tackle the big and small problems that are keeping our society and it’s most vulnerable members from excelling.

This is what we love. We’re so proud of the work that the WithinReach & Vax Northwest has done. Okay, enough praise. Let’s get back to work!

Bringing Infographics to (Real) Life

When our client, Vax Northwest, asked  us to create an infographic for an upcoming event we let our imaginations grow beyond the pixels of the computer screen.

The Vax Northwest team was preparing for the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, which was an opportunity to celebrate 50 years of vaccine breakthroughs.

Unlike most infographics, this project needed to be part of an informational booth set-up. This infographic needed to be life-size! While this infographic lives well online, it’s true power is in a nearly 6 foot tall pop-up banner flanking the information table in the booth space.

When designing this project, we wanted to capture the spirit of the World’s Fair. To us, the World’s Fair has always been about the citizens of the globe collectively moving forward to a more hopeful future. We wanted to bring that same feeling to our communication—a sense of awe of what we’ve accomplished and a feeling that tomorrow will be even better.

In creating our visual story, we took a global view of the epic battle between diseases and vaccines over the past fifty years. Focusing not only on past vaccine breakthroughs, we highlighted current discoveries and looked to the future to show how vaccine advancements will improve even more lives. The ribbon timeline pulls the reader through the history of vaccine while offering nooks for additional information and highlights.

Another important communication point was to vilify diseases. For many parents, the diseases that vaccines prevent—like polio and mumps—are a generation removed. They don’t fear these dangerous diseases that were a horrible reality for generations past. Through making our diseases villains we are able to be clear that vaccines are heroes and the best the way to protect your family. The approachable illustrated “meanie” disease icons make this a project digestible for both parents and children.

The infographic banner was a success! Vax Northwest noted that many people stopped to read the banner at the event and they have plans on using the banner for events for many events in the coming year.

It’s nearly 6 feet tall! Photo by Vax Northwest.


Birth of a Conference Meme at #scio12

We had the amazing chance to be part of ScienceOnline 2012 this past week and weekend. It’s an incredible labor of love by volunteer conference organizers Bora Zivkovic, Anton Zuiker and Karyn Traphagen. We love adding our energy to this smart group of science communicators.

As part of our contribution to the event, we managed the conference’s tumblog which was an intentional mash-up of images, blog posts, videos and podcasts from the participants of the 3-day event.  Most of the content relied on the skills of the student scholarship recipients including Maggie Pingolt, Nadja Popovich, Tanya Lewis, Marissa Fessenden, Rachel Nuwer and Henry Reich. We also had autopilot Flipcams at the back of some sessions (with mixed results). Enlisting scholarship recipients and using inexpensive camcorders are an excellent, low-cost way to get coverage of an event, if you are not lucky enough to get a live-streaming sponsor.

One of my favorite memes that emerged from the conference this year was the Instagram hashtag #YouveBeenFramed. Instagrammers @louwoodley and @jeannegarb started the meme at the Friday night Banquet by making a simple legos frame supplied by sponsor ThinkGeek and posting fun pics of conference participants. They chose one location for all the shots so the lighting and background was consistent. The best part is the crazy poses of the subjects. The science obsessed can make some great faces. Oh and you know you’ve made it big time when Discover Magazine writer Ed Yong is sad he didn’t get his pic.

As I have previously divulged, I’m obsessed with Instagram. I’m very excited about this new social network to connect people in a new way. It’s a great way to collect images from an event or conference. The beauty of different visual perspectives is a magical thing and great for nonprofits to use in promoting the event next year. See all the #sco12 pictures here.

This is our second year being part of ScienceOnline. We are thankful to Anton, Bora and Karyn for including us in this event. We can’t wait for #scio13!

UPDATE: Nice Twitter convos about #YouveBeenFramed

Insta-Good! Leveraging Instagram for Nonprofits

I’ve totally been bitten by the Instagram bug. The phrase “hang on, I gotta take a picture” is in heavy rotation. I’m even maintaining two accounts – one for BC/DC Ideas and one for the more crazy side of life. Beyond being entertaining for your personal life, there are some great applications for nonprofits and small businesses. Read more…