Keep designers and writers in the same room

Creatives working together

Creatives working together

Have you ever been in one of those team-building exercises where the group’s split into two teams and given the same project but with different parameters? For example, the audience for Team A’s widget will be males age 18-24, while Team B’s widget is aimed at women 35-49. It’s a great way to force people to think outside their own experience.

This must have been what happened with a recent Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network annual report.

Team A – the design team – must have been told, “Our audience is the children of elderly parents, so show our residents looking happy, healthy, energetic and playful.”

Team B – the writers – must have heard, “Our audience is the accountants of the children of elderly parents. Forget about the residents: Brag about the company.”

The disconnect between warm photos of residents and jargon-filled copy in this report is harsh and jarring. Next to a great photo of an older couple sitting in front of a white picket fence holding hands is this tidbit: “As part of our mission to deliver more customized care and services, Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network actively shifted its focus to concentrate on growth strategies, some of which included organizational changes designed to convert existing resources into new growth opportunities.”

“Core business,” “significant growth potential” and “expanding our revenue base” are on the page with a photo of a woman dancing with an elderly man who has to wear a helmet to prevent injury.

“Transformational change” pops up twice within three paragraphs. At least this phrase is on the page with a man using an exercise bike; maybe he’s making his own transformation.

Ten pages of financials and donor lists followed.

If I had only looked at the pictures, I’d have thought Eliza Jennings was a wonderful place for my mother. Once I read the copy, though, I was confused at best and put off at worst. This organization missed a chance to tell its story through the stories of those residents featured in full color.

Were they just window dressing? What was your reaction?

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