97 People, 24 Agencies, 3,831.5 Hour – Forge 54


Jon White

October 28, 2015

In the beginning of October, I was invited to sit on a “Mentor Panel” of the 2015 Forge 54 project. For those not familiar with Forge 54, it is a collaborative, weekend-long marketing experience where professionals and students converge to donate their time and talents to create, inspire, and help great causes. During each high-energy, 54-hour event, our expert creative teams adopt a non-profit organization and work together to totally revamp their marketing and branding efforts. While the teams are working, executives and recruiters from local agencies are invited to observe the up-and-coming talent. At the end of the long weekend, the non-profit organization will not only receive new content, but the research and strategies to back it up, including a plan for the future, tailored to the organization’s current resources.

Unsure on what to expect, I was highly impressed with the amount of people who donated their weekend, skills and sleep schedule to accomplish such a large deliverable. 54 straight hours of non-stop writing, designing, coding, editing and production. A cat nap here or there but most were able to grind thru and meet the Sunday deadline. Early Saturday evening, each group shuffled in to an already cramped conference room at Amusement Park in Santa Ana to present their progress. From the brand strategy to development to video to social media, a team leader pitched their part to a panel of 6 “Mentors”. We were a panel of CEO’s, Creative Directors, to Digital Strategists who had the task to critique and provide feedback to the teams. Truthfully, it was hard especially knowing how much has already been invested in time and materials. Thankfully, at the end of our feedback session, no team had to start from scratch. Most teams were energetic after the presentation because the panel validated their ideas with only minor tweaks. Sunday night, Wells Of Life was presented and given a refreshed brand style guide, website, social media presence, PR strategies and tactics, an app and promotional videos all to help the organization drive donations and to build wells for those without access to water in Uganda. 

In their third year, Torrey Tayenaka and Forge 54 successfully helped another non-profit move closer to achieving their vision and goals. I am proud to be a part of the 2015 Forge 54 team and look forward to being a part of next years. 

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