2020 has been a year of firsts. We have faced unprecedented challenges that we have faced head-on. Those challenges have been opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve adjusted goals.
As the year comes to a close, our team is looking back at the numerous projects we have gotten the opportunity to bring to fruition. Here are a few of our favorites:
In hindsight, my favorite projects of 2020 were the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Tampa, two Culinary Institute of America events in Napa, and the United Soybean Board meeting in Las Vegas, all of my 2020 trips before the lockdown was even on the radar. At the time, I thought I traveled too much. Now all of those trips feel like a glorious dream.
As far as work that didn’t take me across state lines, my favorite project has been a new coloring book app that we’re developing for our Imprint Publishing division. Clients will have the opportunity to share educational coloring pages with kids through a virtual environment. It’s a creative new direction, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us!
Like everyone, we spent a lot more time meeting virtually and a lot less time meeting in person in 2020. One of the highlights in the marathon of virtual meetings was one we planned and hosted in September. The Soy Nutrition Institute gathers twice per year to hear updates related to soy health and nutrition research and to determine future plans for the organization. This close-knit group of scientists, member company representatives, and U.S. soybean farmers squeezes a lot into a day and a half and takes full advantage of the time we have together – not just through hearty discussion in the meeting room but during breaks, meals, and hotel lobby encounters. We knew it was going to be a big lift to coordinate a meeting that still retained the closeness of the group, even though we were scattered across the country (and globe).
Planning for success: We devoted countless hours to planning and producing the SNI virtual meeting. A minute-by-minute production schedule, a mixture of live and recorded sessions, and coordinated engagement with individuals on the call and the group as a whole resulted in a forum that allowed for impactful information-sharing and productive discussion.
The result: A homerun meeting. We nearly doubled our typical attendance and attendees gave the meeting rave reviews. Satisfaction ratings from attendees averaged around 90 percent, and while there are always areas for improvement, the SNI was extremely pleased with the execution of this meeting.
Collaborating with the Northarvest Bean Growers Association and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has been exciting as a registered dietitian nutritionist. I have enjoyed talking to the growers and promoting the nutrition of dry beans. Getting to interact with and represent the bean growers — and communicate their message and information about farming to consumers — has been very rewarding for me! Helping to debunk myths about farming practices is something I am very passionate about.
This year, we have gotten the opportunity to represent Northarvest at the Menus of Change and Healthy Kids Collaborative through the CIA. I was also able to represent the organization at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. All events have been virtual this year, encouraging us to develop new ways to connect with folks and get our message across in innovative ways.
Being a part of these events in just my first few months with Communique has been extremely rewarding, and I look forward to many more events (hopefully in person) in the future.
I think we can all agree, 2020 has changed everything: the way we communicate, the way we shop, the way we work, the way we greet one another. It also changed how we use social media. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, audiences began searching for brands that do more than simply advocate on behalf of a product or belief. They sought brands that told the story of purpose, of hope, and of value.
The project: One specific social media campaign that resonated meaningfully with our target audience was Soy Connection’s Soy Real Talk campaign. In collaboration with the Soy Nutrition Institute (SNI), the strategic social media campaign addressed common health and nutrition concerns and myths about soyfoods by sharing scientifically-based facts in a visually compelling, shareable way. Additionally, the campaign educated our target audience about the variety of soyfoods available to consumers and explored practical ways to include soy in daily life.
The win: The Soy Real Talk campaign was well-received by our target audience and generated approximately 580,000 impressions, 10,000 positive engagements, and 101,000 video views. Additionally, the campaign expanded collaboration efforts with state soybean boards, providing new opportunities for future partnerships.
There are numerous projects this year that have been great avenues in utilizing our diverse set of skills: developing the Soy and Child Nutrition Guide, collaborating on soy doughnuts, building websites, etc. Topping my list is the Energy Advisor.
A monthly e-newsletter from Ameren Missouri, the Energy Advisor is an accumulation of up-to-date energy information delivered in an appealing, easy-to-read format. Relaying the articles to stakeholders — consumers, legislators, subcontractors, etc. — became more necessary when COVID restrictions went into place.
Personally, my favorite portion is writing the stories. A particular standout is the profile on Rick Page, an Ameren Missouri lineworker. Page has been in the industry for four decades, and you could hear the passion in his voice as he talked about his job.
Despite less than ideal circumstances, there have been positives this year. We learned how to effectively use video chat, set up video conference calls, and host well-attended conferences, webinars, and meetings online. Working on and planning the 2021 issues of the Soy Connection newsletter — which will be taking on an all-digital format for the first time — tops my list of favorite projects.
Planning for success: We held a video conference call to plan the quarterly issues of the newsletter, which will be completely digital starting in January.
The result: We will be distributing the Soy Connection e-newsletter through new avenues of distribution to new health professional communications methods. All-in-all, the new phase of the project will be a step forward in disseminating information to healthcare professionals.