PivotPath

Our 2022 imPact Year in Review

2022 has been our best year yet.

We kicked off the year with a feature by Gwinnett Magazine of being the Best Marketing Firms in Gwinnett 2021. This fueled our drive and enabled us to partner with 23 municipalities, intergovernmental agencies, community-based organizations, and universities spanning four continents to create and disseminate impactful messaging.

Earlier this month, I was received the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards. The award show, presented by Atlanta Small Business Network, named ten winners the best-in-region for exceptional business practices and entrepreneurial excellence. 

Whether in the field conducting interviews and taking photos for program visibility or in the office crafting messaging and graphic content, our tasks were many, but our mission was the same. Built into our firm’s DNA is the concept of Mother Tongue – authentically reaching audiences where they are to get them the services, products, and resources they need through engagement, education, and empowerment.

We were fortunate to have the chance to prove that no firm works harder on our client’s behalf. That’s our continued mission for 2023 and our promise – this year and the next. 

Happy New Year!  🎉

Sincerely,

Elizabeth M’balu Oke
Founder & President, PivotPath

Elizabeth M’balu Oke winner of the Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards

Elizabeth M’balu Oke winner of the Gwinnett Chamber's Emerging Entrepreneur Award

Release Date: December 13, 2022 

Gwinnett County (Metro Atlanta) Ga – December 13, 2022 – PivotPath President/Founder Elizabeth M’balu Oke won the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber “Emerging Entrepreneur” Award at the Small Business Awards, an annual program designed to recognize entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Gwinnett region.

The Gwinnett Chamber hosted the annual Small Business Awards this morning at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville. The program, presented by Atlanta Small Business Network, named ten winners among the best in the region for exceptional business practices and entrepreneurial excellence. 

“Ninety-nine percent of all businesses in Georgia are small businesses, making this industry a critical component to the future of our economic health and well-being,” said Nick Masino, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber and Partnership Gwinnett. “We are honored to champion these amazing individuals and organizations through today’s program and want to congratulate the nominees, finalists, and winners on their incredible success this year.” 

Rikki Klaus, producer for CNN, emceed the awards program, calling out each of the ten winners by name and category to come to the stage and receive their award. 

Listen to “The Voice of Business Podcast” featuring interviews with the winners of our 2022 Small Business Awards HERE.

The program also hosted featured speaker Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Founder & CEO of Brown Toy Box, who sat down with Jim Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Atlanta Small Business Network, to share her journey of success from start-up to one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2022. 

This awards program comes on the heels of Gwinnett’s recent announcement on being named a five-star accredited Chamber through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where it credited its members and investors, many of whom were present for today’s program, for their commitment and contributions that helped earn this designation for the non-profit organization. For more information on the Gwinnett Chamber and future events and programs, please visit GwinnettChamber.org/events. Photography by Kate Awtrey-King, Awtrey Media Group

About the Gwinnett Chamber

The Gwinnett Chamber serves as the voice for businesses, facilitating quality job growth opportunities while enhancing the community’s
vitality and quality of life. The Chamber offers the metro Atlanta business community a wealth of growth opportunity by collaborating with
regional partners to drive economic and community development initiatives throughout Georgia. Through its fundamental objectives to
help create quality jobs and wealth, strengthen the community, and grow business, the Chamber serves more than 2,000+ member
companies in metro Atlanta while delivering innovative programs to connect businesses locally, regionally, and globally.
www.gwinnettchamber.org

Elizabeth M’balu Oke nominated for Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards

Elizabeth M’balu Oke nominated for Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards

PivotPath President/Founder Elizabeth M’balu Oke has been nominated for the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards, an
annual program designed to recognize entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Gwinnett
region.

Release Date: October 12, 2022 

Gwinnett County (Metro Atlanta) Ga – October 12, 2022 – PivotPath President/Founder Elizabeth M’balu Oke has been nominated for the 2022 Gwinnett Chamber Small Business Awards, an annual program designed to recognize entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Gwinnett region. This year’s program will be held at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville on Dec.9 at 9:00 a.m. “I am so honored to be nominated for the Emerging Entrepreneur Award by the Gwinnett Chamber.”, Elizabeth stated. “I look forward to witnessing and sharing my growth and lessons learned with fellow entrepeneurs. This is only the beginning of my journey.”

Honoring individuals and organizations alike, designations will be awarded in the following ten categories:
• Community Contributor Award
• Culture Creator Award
• Emerging Entrepreneur Award
• Founder Award
• Launch Award
• Minority-Owned/Woman-Owned Small Business Award
• Small Business Award; 0-5; 6-24; 24+ employees
• Support System Award

“Small businesses account for ninety-percent of all business in Gwinnett and are a critical component to our thriving economy,” shared Nick Masino, President and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “We congratulate Elizabeth on her nomination and look forward to celebrating with them at this upcoming awards program.”

For more information on this event or to register to attend, visit GwinnettChamber.org/Small-Business-Awards.

# # #

About the Gwinnett Chamber
The Gwinnett Chamber serves as the voice for businesses, facilitating quality job growth opportunities while enhancing the community’s
vitality and quality of life. The Chamber offers the metro Atlanta business community a wealth of growth opportunity by collaborating with
regional partners to drive economic and community development initiatives throughout Georgia. Through its fundamental objectives to
help create quality jobs and wealth, strengthen the community, and grow business, the Chamber serves more than 2,000+ member
companies in metro Atlanta while delivering innovative programs to connect businesses locally, regionally, and globally.
www.gwinnettchamber.org

PivotPath: 2022 Sponsor for Gwinnett’s Collins Hill High School

PivotPath supports Gwinnett County's Collins Hill HS

As a Gwinnett County business sponsoring one of the state’s largest high schools, PivotPath aims to give back to the community where it began.

Release Date: September 27, 2022 

PivotPath is proud to be the 2022 Gold Sponsor for Collins Hill High School Athletic Department. As a Gwinnett County business sponsoring one of the state’s largest high schools, PivotPath aims to give back to the community where it began. 

“We live in Gwinnett County. PivotPath is headquartered in Gwinnett County, and my husband and I have two kids in Gwinnett County Public Schools,” said Elizabeth M’Balu Oke, PivotPath Founder and President. “It’s the community we live in.”

PivotPath’s sponsorship will help the Collins Hill High basketball and football teams succeed at their fundraising goals for this year. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Athletic Department, mostly for t-shirts to be rolled out at future games. 

PivotPath is a minority woman-owned brand marketing and communications firm, and member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

PivotPath and the City of East Orange — Sharing Stories, Building Place, Growing Pride

City of East Orange

PivotPath is partnering with the City of East Orange to create compelling community branding to support inclusive, sustained development in the East Orange economy and community. 

The Client

The City of East Orange is a storied, small city in the orbit of a global megalopolis, with all the possibilities and complexity. Its people and history are rooted deeply in the Black and immigrant experience. East Orange aims to capitalize on its strengths in the twenty-first century while preserving and enhancing its history and assets. 

Based on initial surveys, East Orange residents express mixed feelings toward their City, from excitement and comfort to frustration and apathy. Like any city, East Orange has hidden gems and undeniable challenges. Balancing hope with practicality, fostering well-founded pride, and uniting residents, businesses, and civic leaders will all comprise elements of the partnership. 

The Work

PivotPath will ensure the City of East Orange can promote its cultural, economic, and community potential through a new strong brand identity and effective City brand roll out. 

Our primary goals include: promoting East Orange as a great place to live and work, unifying businesses and community groups behind a brand, and cultivating community pride. The core strategy will focus on cultivating a narrative of hope and momentum that builds on East Orange’s existing known and unknown assets and strengthens relationships with residents, businesses, and community groups. Key tasks will be identifying existing partnerships and assets, formulating a compelling and unifying brand, and crafting informative graphics and place-based storytelling. 

PivotPath will draw on its experiences with cities and counties in urban and suburban America, especially cities that share some of East Orange’s qualities, such as DeKalb County, Georgia. Our team will utilize their worldwide experience in marketing and placemaking to shape a community brand that deserves national and global attention.

inclusive communications

Inclusive Communications to the Masses

By: Justin Roshak and Ashley Przybylski

Every organization needs flexibility, innovation, and meritocracy to keep up in a fast-paced global economy. Inclusion is a core value that supports these goals, and organizations that prioritize inclusion will find themselves open to new opportunities in staff, partnerships, and markets.

Inclusive Communications. It’s a modern buzzword for an old idea. But what does it mean, and how can organizations practice inclusion when communicating with the public?

Inclusion may not come naturally to individuals or organizations. Differences in culture, language, and perspective can be challenging to identify without prior experience. Technology makes it easy to approach the world with a one-fits-all approach, leaving out some audiences. An organization’s makeup is rarely broad as its potential clients or partners.

Focus on Commonalities

Few organizations are built from the ground up to work across every possible line of geography, culture, and language. The staff you have, and the partners you’ve worked with, will inevitably shape expectations—which don’t always fit new opportunities. Worst of all, knowing when cross-cultural communication has succeeded—or fallen flat can be challenging. 

For example, PivotPath has worked on a series of communications projects in the West African nation of Sierra Leone as part of a European Union international development and democratization project. 

Sierra Leone’s residents speak multiple major languages and many minor ones. As in the US, partisanship is a sharp dividing line—the country is still recovering from a vicious civil war in the 1990s. For messaging to succeed in these circumstances, it must be inclusive. 

When developing outreach videos, clothing and skin color are needed to match local expectations. Images avoided signifiers of political parties or regions (still very sensitive subjects) and leaned into shared national identity symbols. Messaging focused on common goals: peace, democracy, and shared prosperity. At all content production and dissemination levels, communication sought to unite and energize. 

Inclusive messaging recognize commonalities and seeks to build on them. It provides a framework for collaboration while remaining sensitive to natural divisions. 

“The common emotions we all face are things I want our communications for our clients to focus on. If we can do communications that bring people together, drawing the strengths on our differences, then we are truly succeeding.” —Elizabeth M’balu Oke

 

Build—and Sustain—a Diverse Communication Team

The American Civil Liberties Union found that “there are higher voting rates in minority communities where radio station owners are of the same ethnicity”. Media diversity stimulates audiences’ engagement through shared backgrounds. But when there is a lack of diversity, the sense of trust is not as strong and can lead to viewers being less engaged, leading to the voting numbers going down. 

And yet, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Hispanics make up 18% of the workforce but only 12% of the media industry. Similarly, research from Pew Research Center shows that only 7% of newsroom employees are Black, but 11% of U.S. workers.

As with media, so too with any twenty-first-century communications team.

One reason the PivotPath team can succeed in the U.S. and international projects is its diverse makeup. PivotPath’s staff is mixed with team members representing different cultural backgrounds, generations, and social lifestyles and brings diverse experiences in sales, marketing, and journalism. As a result, there is a broader pool of perspectives and ideas than if the firm had hired from only one place or field. 

Organizations should strive toward inclusion in all positions relating to mass communication. But this is just a place to start. By building and supporting a diverse media and communications team, your message has a greater reach as it will resonate with a broader audience. 

Companies also need to listen to what their employees have to say. Hire talented, diverse voices, and listen to them. Employees from underrepresented communities can help their organizations communicate more effectively with these communities.

 

Use Person-Focused Language

 

The words we choose can be a powerful tool for getting our message across—or they can unintentionally exclude or alienate individuals or groups. A rigorous understanding of subtext and subtleties can take many years of experience to fully grasp, let alone incorporate into an organization’s messaging DNA. But there are hard-and-fast rules to avoid common pitfalls.

A strategic rule of thumb is to emphasize language that is person-focused and as broadly inclusive as possible. In practice, this can take several forms.

Person-centered language is most obviously useful in the context of persons with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness/unemployment, or people without homes/jobs, which are much more empathetic terms than “blind”, “disabled”, “homeless”, or “unemployed”. The former are conditions, while the latter are unwelcome labels. No one wants to be personally identified with their troubles.

Instead of phrases like “Black and White”, say “all races and ethnicities”. This ensures that groups of other geographic origin are automatically included and neatly elides certain complexities. For example, Latinx persons in North America may constitute an ethnicity or a race, depending on context. This broad approach keeps communications maximally inclusive.

Referring to a title or role promotes meritocracy and inclusive communications. An equally inclusive set of terms is “everyone” or “colleagues”, in place of “ladies and gentlemen”; For terms such as, “chairman” or “policewoman”. Much preferable are “chair”, “chairperson”, or “police officer”. Reference the office, not the gender of the officeholder. Research shows that gendered professional terms have real-world implications when they come up against deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes. 

Politics is another pitfall. Unless engaged in direct political activism for a cause or party, it is usually preferable to refer to “Americans”, “citizens”, or “residents” instead of “Democrats and Republicans”. An inclusive messaging strategy seeks to build commonality; politically-charged labels are often inimical to that goal.

PivotPath’s Inclusive Communications

Do you want to build inclusion into your organization’s DNA but aren’t sure how? Our communication creators at PivotPath have the tools and expertise to help. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

PivotPath and the International Republican Institute — Storytelling for Democracy

International Republican Institute

PivotPath partners with the International Republican Institute (IRI) to create compelling visual content in support of the Center for Global Impact’s mission to encourage inclusive politics that are issue-driven and citizen-led. 

About the Client:

The International Republican Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. IRI’s workshops and programs encourage the growth of democracy, help democracies become more inclusive, and share best practices from flourishing democratic systems. 

The IRI Center for Global Impact researches the state of democratic politics, ensuring that IRI efforts are evidence-based. The Center offers programmes that build capacity among democratic advocates and publishes reports that inform policymakers and activists on best practices.

The Solution:

PivotPath will ensure the Center for Global Impact has the visual communication and messaging tools it needs to engage policymakers, activists, and the public at large, wherever the work of building (or re-building) democracy is being done. 

 

Core tasks will be informative graphic design and compelling visual storytelling. The core strategy will focus on cultivating a narrative of possibility and momentum that builds on IRI’s nearly forty-year history of promoting democracy and a strong existing brand. PivotPath will draw on its experiences with (re)building democracy, such as the European Union’s governance programming in Sierra Leone and the rollout of a Campaign Finance Board in Suffolk County, New York.

PivotPath voted BEST OF GWINNETT 2021





The results are in, and it’s official: PivotPath has been voted Best of Gwinnett 2021 in the Marketing Firms category! Our team appreciates everyone who voted, and we look forward to another great year of providing marketing and communication services locally and internationally.  It’s an honor to be recognized by the people we work for and with daily.

The Best of Gwinnett contest is run by Gwinnett Magazine and includes businesses in more than 20 broad categories. Every year, Gwinnett County residents and consumers cast thousands of votes to recognize their favorite local businesses.

africanbusiness

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program.




LaunchPad Africa

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program for Freetown, Sierra Leone.

About the Client:

Launchpad Africa is a DC-based non-profit with a mission to support African Entrepreneurs (specifically in Sierra Leone) in launching and sustaining their businesses by equipping and empowering them with the tools and resources necessary to be profitable. The organization envisions a world where the African entrepreneur is successful enough to take the lead on decisions being made regarding Africa’s growth and advancement.

As a new Accelerator program, Launchpad Africa wanted to provide its participants with networking, mentorship, and resource allocation to skyrocket the success of proven business ideas.

The Challenge:

The LaunchPad Africa team had to determine how to structure and launch this program in the most beneficial and relevant manner to individuals living in Sierra Leone.

The Solution:

We developed an intensive 4-month accelerator program with a well-rounded curriculum that would give participants the proper knowledge and skills to equip and navigate the business arena.


africanbusiness

The Results:

Using insights internal and external to LaunchPad Africa, along with our expertise in thought leadership and training, our team successfully designed and developed a 16-module highly customized program curriculum outline and strategy including selected modules and module objectives; provided Launchpad Africa with a detailed agenda of each training; developed TORs for trainers of each module; and developed post-training evaluation and impact assessment

commissioner

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.




Gwinnett County Government – County Commissioners

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

Summary:

In Summer 2021, PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

The How am I doing? campaign aimed to provide Gwinnett County and County Commissioners with a Strategic Communications Plan for the campaign that will provide relevant information to the public while promoting effective public engagement on county issues.

About the Client: 

Gwinnett County is historically one of America’s fastest-growing counties and now one of the nation’s most diverse. This is the official website of the Gwinnett County Government. The county’s population in 2010 stood at 805,321, up more than 216,000 residents from the 2000 count of 588,448 (source: U.S. Census Bureau decennial population estimates). Gwinnett County’s population is expected to reach one million residents by the year 2022.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the creation of policies within the county, adopting the budget, authorizing expenditures, and approving or disapproving specific actions, such as rezoning private property.

The Challenge:

The biggest challenge the Board of Commissioners faced was bridging the gap between Gwinnett County officials and their residents. If residents are not familiar or aware of the Commissioners in their community or do not particularly trust them, engagement can be a challenge.

The Commissioners also valued stakeholder feedback but needed to collect the insights in an unbiased manner.

commissioner

The Solution:

To provide a trusting relationship between the officials and the residents, PivotPath created a public engagement plan. This plan focused on:

  • Enhancing the perception of the Commissioners and their initiatives by popularizing the Gwinnett County brand; letting the public know what’s planned; why, where, and for whom;
  • Encouraged all stakeholders to be actively interested in Gwinnett County reforms;
  • Reinforced/improved the County Commissioners’ image in Gwinnett and the state.

The Results:

The Gwinnett County Commissioners have a solid, strategic roadmap to successfully and effectively engage and connect with their stakeholders through market research efforts and community buy-in. 

tree planting

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote the #FreetowntheTreetown reforestation campaign.




#FreetowntheTreetown Campaign

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Summary:

The mission of the #FreetowntheTreetown campaign is to plant and grow one million trees in Freetown, Sierra Leone by December 2022 while educating the general public on ways they can positively contribute towards a healthier and more sustainable community. In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Campaigns to plant millions of trees have become popular urban responses to the current effects of climate change. Although the intended impact attracts millions in donor support each year, many tree planting campaigns have fallen far short of their goals. Organizations champion tree planting efforts as a feel-good, cure-all for global warming in their communities, yet many trees do not survive or deliver these championed benefits.

The Finor X Tree Wallet is the 1st (patent pending) chain of custody digital management for tree planting that shows growth impact over time. Each tree growing in Freetown is tokenized, and users buy tokens for access to the Tree Wallet App. Customers purchase a #FreetownTheTreetown item which allows them to digitally track the impact of their sustainable investment.

PivotPath developed a strategic marketing and communications plan, social media plan, and attractive social graphics to elevate the campaign’s visibility across multiple audiences.

About the Client:

Finor X fuses fashion and technology to combat climate change in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Following the undeniably severe deforestation effects which worsened the aftermath of the country’s 2017 mudslide, environmental advocates have evidence to back their support for this initiative. Also, Freetown, Sierra Leone has never undertaken a campaign of this kind.

Finor X, in partnership with the Freetown City Council and Greenstand, is set on a mission to plant one million trees as a response to the adverse effects of climate change, with the design and sale of the campaign-themed t-shirt.

qr code

FinorX has combined its fashion and technology roots to design the #FreetownTheTreeTown special edition t-shirt. In collaboration with the Freetown City Council, all shirts purchased will directly support the campaign, as one tree will be grown and monitored using a specialized app.

The shirt design includes the Cotton Tree—a historic symbol of Freetown—pictured with a cityscape underneath the tree, the text “Freetown” above the tree, and “The Tree Town” located below the cityscape. Shirt owners can monitor their growing trees, see the location, know the grower and monitor the survival of each tree using the TreeTracker app by scanning the QR code located on the shirt’s tag.

GROW A TREE treetown
GROW A TREE treetown

The Challenges:

There were two main challenges: (1) to create a campaign that would educate the community, engage community-based organizations and strategic partners, and empower Freetowneans to take the reigns of environmental sustainability within their city through reforestation and (2) to increase visibility and communications about the Tree Tracker app’s capabilities through fashion technology.

The Solution:

Our team focused on invoking feelings of community, empowerment, and peace of mind through a marketing and communications plan that encourages conversations on sustainability and incites change. We utilized digital media and video production efforts to help raise awareness about Finor X, the Tree Tracker app, and the fusion of fashion and technology to further connect Finor with its target audience.

The Results:

We provided Finor X with a communications strategy to convey the importance of tree planting in Sierra Leone and improve awareness for all residents, visitors, stakeholders, and partners who engage with the City of Freetown and abroad. The campaign had over 5,000 global impressions and reach. The campaign was also awarded the Bloomberg award in January 2022.

woman campaign

PivotPath partners with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board to develop and promote new program.

Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. 

Summary:

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. The program’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower all County residents by amplifying the voice of all residents in county elections by matching small donor contributions with public funds.

About the Client: 

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) is a nonpartisan, independent county agency empowered and authorized to establish and promulgate all rules, policies, and procedures as it deems necessary for the proper administration of the established Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund.

The SCCFB landmark program empowers everyday citizens to run for city office by providing them with campaign finance support from their community, mitigating limited access to wealthy 

or special interest groups, granting threshold requirements, spending limits, and strictly ensuring that enforced reporting requirements are met.

The Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund aims to create and promote access and opportunity for residents to run for office; empower both grassroots and incumbent candidate participation in Suffolk electoral process; minimize the perceived influence of big money in local politics and increase Suffolk County citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. 

voters
campaign finance

The Challenge:

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board is tasked with finding ways to connect with their audiences and inform them on how the program can help them get started on the path of running for County Legislative or Executive.

The organization also aims to increase general interest in voter participation by encouraging residents to get involved with the laws and social change issues within their community.

The Solution:

Our team plans on crafting an intensive marketing campaign that uses communication activities and visibility products of demonstrable impact to increase voter participation and awareness, provide campaign finance information to the public, enable more citizens to run for office, strengthen the role of small contributors, reduce the change of actual or perceived corruption, and restore voter confidence in the electoral process.

The Results:

This project is currently underway, and results will be provided as soon as they are available. 

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