Karen Ruan, Executive Director
The OC Bar Foundation

The Orange County Bar Foundation is committed to keeping at-risk youth in school, healthy and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening. Karen’s leadership carefully balances the legacy of the organization’s 40-year history with current needs to adapt towards a sustainable future.

When our 40-year old organization needed a brand refresh, we turned to The Olin Group and never looked back. The Olin Group team helped us identify big holes in the community perception of what we do, as well as discrepancies in how we talked about what we do internally. Left without much to work with, our well-intentioned staff had been generating ad hoc marketing materials out of necessity, expending unnecessary effort and leading to inconsistencies. In order to grow and continue effectively, we had an urgent need to better convey our true impact and value in the community – an urgent need for “a look” that worked. The Olin Group thoughtfully and efficiently collected input from our 40 board members, 20 associate board members, and 15 staff; in our case there are a lot of stakeholders with a vested interest in what we do. Remarkably, they made this process painless, and we all know few things in this world are! They delivered exactly what I wanted: updated messaging and a style guide that we could all get behind and use for a website rebuild, annual reports, marketing collateral, etc. They also reorganized our programmatic offerings into understandable categories, helped us craft a legacy statement, and other thoughtful details that make it more possible for us to function at a higher level when seeking funding and developing communications products. Ultimately, The Olin Group’s brand refresh opened the dialogue within our staff and board about other critical directions we need to adapt as a higher-level organization. These conversations would have been impossible to start without a basic, collective grasp on our organizational identity.

The way nonprofits do business is very different than the way private companies do business, and The Olin Group understands the particular needs of nonprofits in a way that most consulting firms can’t. Because of this, the process didn’t take a lot of time, was not invasive, and we quickly got exactly what we needed.