Brand Strategist

Rice Rivers Center

 Rice Rivers Center

Rebrand & Communication Strategy

The Ask

The VCU Rice Rivers Center is a river research field station situated on the James River about 23 miles east of the main VCU campus. RRC is great at talking to fellow scientists and academics, but they struggled with communicating their mission to the general public. They asked us to help them better define who they are and what they do so they can reach a wider audience.

Why I Love This Project

This was a long-term side project that my teammates and I worked on for nearly six months. It was a chance to work closely with a real client and on a brand unlike anything else we’d been assigned to date. The RRC staff was thrilled with our ideas and plan to implement them.

The Problem

We talked to a lot of people who had heard of RRC work like the Atlantic Sturgeon Recovery Program or the Oyster Shell Recycling Program, but very few had heard of the Rice Rivers Center. On top of needing to help RRC define their brand, we needed to find ways to raise awareness as well.


The Findings

Through a series of one-on-one interviews, we learned that most people know scientific research is important, but they’re unlikely to seek it out. But what they do care about is the outcome of scientific research. They care that the seafood they eat is sustainable and healthy, that the water they kayak in is clean, or that plants and wildlife thrive.

RRC has a hand in all of those outcomes, but the people of Richmond aren’t making the connection.

The Vision & Mission

We took their vision and mission from one long statement:

“The Rice Rivers Center’s vision is to be internationally recognized for its academic programs focused on scientific research, education and public outreach, and for informing public policy related to river ecosystems, their watershed and the conservation of species that inhabit those watersheds.”

To a split up and simplified vision statement and mission statement that can guide the RRC internally.


The Strategy

The Rice Rivers Center needs to claim ownership of the positive outcomes of river research by putting their name on the results.

The Branding

For the new RRC brand, we created a dynamic system that can carry them into the future. The logo framework can be adapted to suit the entire RRC or individual research projects.

The Plan

We wanted the RRC to make sure they were reaching a wide audience. Since their brand recognition is low, they need to make sure they’re meeting people where they’re already engaging with the positive results of river research. Here are some of the highlights:

The Team

Co-Strategist: Caroline Moyer-Kardos
Art Director: Joe Jones