American Red Cross

The rising rate and severity of catastrophic disasters across the globe prompted American Red Cross to revisit their strategy. Time was of the essence, and ensuring the entire organization understood and was aligned on their 5-year plan was critical. In a collaborative partnership with ImageThink, American Red Cross leveraged the universal language of visuals to communicate and implement their vision and plan on a global scale.

Graphic of ImageThink Method - Implement phase

The Disaster Dream Team

The American Red Cross (ARC) is a global humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and education. Their vital services include blood donation drives, support for military families, health and safety training, disaster response and recovery, and international services. In addition, they teach lifesaving skills through a variety of educational programs to prep communities for emergency events. To put it lightly, the importance of ARC’s work cannot be understated.

The Senior Vice President of ARC’s Disaster Cycle Services Team, Brad Kieserman approached ImageThink with an aspirational vision and large problem. Brad and his team are first responders to the floods, earthquakes, and wildfires that the majority of us only read about in the news. With the rate of disasters continuing to grow, the world counts on Brad and his team to mobilize help as needed. In an effort to provide better, faster, and more equitable care for those in need, the Disaster Cycle Services Team developed a 5-year plan. The problem? Brad wasn’t afforded the luxury of a globe tour to ensure the larger organization understood and could act on it.

Knowing visuals have the power to clarify, align, and motivate, they reached out to ImageThink to create a strategic visual.

An aspiring vision, a bump in the road, and a global strategic plan

In an initial Planning Call with ARC, ImageThink uncovered the storyline, context, key ideas, and objectives of the strategic visual. Then, ImageThink’s visual strategists got to work developing a Concept Sketch: a black-and-white outline of ARC’s vision and strategic plan. Once completed, ImageThink shared the Concept Sketch with Brad and his team. Unexpectedly, receiving the sketch led to a halt in the Creative Process. ARC realized their vision and certain elements of their plan weren’t immediately clear.

While it’s not often that this happens, it’s a true testament to the power of visualization. Working visually can reveal gaps in one’s thinking, or, in American Red Cross’ instance, where things are unclear. With additional time, the Disaster Cycle Services Team recognized where their message lacked clarity. They returned to ImageThink with a renewed vision and plan.

ARC determined that the central components of their plan must link to their larger vision of becoming the most trusted disaster relief provider. The 5 pillars of their strategic plan – presence, access, readiness, the 3 H’s (health, hunger, and housing), and simplicity now mapped precisely to their ultimate goal. In a collaborative effort, ImageThink refined the details of ARC’s strategic visual, anchoring the elements of their plan to their overarching vision.

ImageThink's strategic visual created for the American Red Cross. This strategic visual contains their 5-year plan and overarching vision.

Extending American Red Cross’ reach and resonance

By the time ImageThink’s Creative Process had concluded, Brad and his team were thoroughly impressed. Not only did the final strategic visual clarify their 5-year strategic plan and vision, but it also perfectly encompassed the impact of their work. Empathetic and brand-aligned visual depictions ensured the asset would communicate, resonate, and inspire.

American Red Cross was eager to adapt their vision and 5-year plan on a global scale. To do so, they inquired about ImageThink’s translation services, and had their strategic visual translated into an additional dozen languages. Taking this extra step helped expand the reach of their initiative and established organizational alignment within their areas of operation. ARC continues to implement their plan today.

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