Thursday, February 19, 2009

Inventive Idea

This morning I met with Valerie Gates, creative director at Gates Studio, who had contacted me through LinkedIn - just looking to network and connect. We discussed the state of the industry, local agencies, and tossed a couple of ideas back and forth.

We also were discussing marketing ideas and how to promote one's name in today's industry and economy. Valerie shared her current project with me, an idea that I think is incredibly inventive and a brilliant marketing tool for her studio.

This is definitely thinking outside of the box and proactively. She has issued a press release which I'm including below and reached out locally and nationally. The Boston Globe is featuring her story in their Sunday Globe edition. Oprah is a personal goal of hers. Aside from the idea of helping others she is creating quite the brand awareness for herself and her studio.

She, along with her business partner/husband, is documenting the experience on her blog at

Press Release
Wellesley, MA… When Gates Studio founder and principal, Valerie Gates read Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable and Miracle this winter, she knew she had to do something to help the small organic farms and the local food movement in the Boston area. Gates came up with the idea to offer local growers and farms her studio’s professional design and branding services on a creative pro-bono sliding scale. With help from the non-profit group, Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, she put out the word to local farms that she was offering her studio’s services on a first-come, first-served basis as follows:

First five farms: a barter agreement of design time and services for organic food or CSA shares
Next five farms: 75% discount on rates for services
Next five farms: 50% discount on rates for services
Next five farms: 25% discount on rates for services

By the end of the second day, Gates had over 16 farms and local growers lined up to take advantage of her unique offer. “I wanted to do my part in helping even out the playing field for small growers and help them compete with larger farms and organizations that have larger marketing budgets,” explained Gates. “I also wanted to find a creative way to get my family to eat more organically and introduce them to sustainable farming life by creating a relationship with these local farms.” Gates Studio will also run a blog showcasing the farms and progress at

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