Food for Thought: A New Brand Identity for Healthy Living in Idaho
It’s hard to get folks to change ingrained habits, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Add to this the changing—sometimes wholly contradictory—advice from the government, medical professionals and food industry, and it’s not hard to see why Americans are as confused as they are overweight.
Recently Oliver Russell was selected by Eat Smart Idaho—a program of the University of Idaho College of Agriculture and Life Sciences—to create a brand to help educate low-income Idahoans about proper nutrition and physical activity.
Learning more about low-income moms
As in so many cases, one of the keys to attacking issues like obesity comes down to educating and persuading the most important people in any household: mothers. Moms typically plan the meals, shop for the groceries, and generally feel responsible for the wellbeing of their family members.
To understand the attitudes of low-income mothers in Idaho, we conducted focus groups with both English- and Spanish-speaking women, in conjunction with Allen + Jensen, an L.A.-based consumer research firm. A few things stood out to us from these conversations:
- In Idaho, at least, there’s low awareness of most major health initiatives (Let’s Move, High Five, NFL Play 60, etc.).
- The combination of guilt and stress these moms experience trying to balance family needs with the demands of multiple low-paying jobs is overwhelming.
- And most important, the fear of not living long enough to see their children grow and prosper, to “not be there” for them, was the motivating factor for these women to change their behavior and purchasing habits.
A name that sets the table for change
The fact is most people understand it’s unhealthy to eat a quart of ice cream in one sitting and do it anyway. That’s because overeating is an issue of emotion not logic. As eye-opening as the statistics are (74% of men and 67% of women are overweight in America*), it’s not enough to inform them with data. You need to find an emotional lever to create real change.
After generating hundreds of names for the new healthy eating/active living initiative, one jumped out at us in light of what we learned in our research: Long Live Idaho. Idahoans are deeply proud of our state. And our primary audience, moms, desperately want their families to lead long, fulfilling lives. It gets at the more powerful, emotional “why” instead of focusing on the less appealing “what” (nutrition and physical activity).
For an accompanying tagline we chose “Let’s get healthy together,” a strong call-to-action that acknowledges that better nutrition and activity are something that must be addressed at the family and community level to be successful.
Bringing it all together visually in a logo
For the logo, we wanted something that felt fresh, positive and less governmental. We avoided adorning the letterforms with the fruits, vegetables, and soccer balls you see so often in this category.
Our ultimate selection takes the form of a talk bubble in keeping with Long Live Idaho’s battle-cry nature. The logotype is bold, informal and fun, which make it feel less like an edict from the legislature. For color, we chose a vibrant green representing growth and energy. It’s a mark that will be hard to miss whether on a billboard or a bumper sticker. And with a name like “Long Live Idaho,” there’s a good chance you’ll see Idahoans wearing it proudly on hats and t-shirts, helping to spread the message.
Taking it to the people
With the approval of the name and logo, Oliver Russell fleshed out the brand further, developing messaging, brand differentiators, and value propositions that will serve at the heart of its communication as the brand rolls out in schools, clinics, online, and in the media.
Now stand up and go for a brisk, 30-minute walk.
*National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–201