League of Meals: weeknotes #4 - Getting the message right
Posted on 26th April 2012 by Johanna Kollmann -
Last time, I left off just before our 'vision check and lessons learned' workshop. Since then, we worked on our mission statement and messaging, got feedback (and their life stories) from our cooks over coffee, ran another cooking session, met with other organisations such as Shoreditch Spa, the Best Before Project and Waste Watch, and talked to a range of people, from campaigners and food tech startup founders to older people at the Sundial Centre. With help from Stephen, an update to our website is in progress.
We're hosting another fundraising dinner next Friday, May 4th. You can find details and tickets here. You are cordially invited to come along, and if you are extra-nice, please help us spread the word.
Finding our voice: "What makes the story worth telling?"
Explaining League of Meals to someone is an opportunity to get feedback and test our messaging. A key objective over the past few weeks was to focus, and state what we do more clearly. We are passionate about reducing food waste in the household, and our cooks have ideas and knowledge about how to use ingredients efficiently. How do we talk about this in a fun way? "Cook better, waste less!"? "Use your loaf!"?
We discussed our tone of voice, words and phrases we want to be associated with, and what reaction we want to evoke. We tested our first draft copy with a few people, and, well, we still sounded a bit dry and not fun enough. Applying these lessons learned, we are experimenting with the copy on our homepage, and in conversations.
Work in progress on our mission statement. The tagline that came out of it tested badly!
Brainstorming keywords. After testing our messaging, we wanted to come up with more fun, down-to-earth language.
The values we bring to our work
Working on the brand and messaging led to a discussion about the values we want to communicate, but also the values we bring to our work. Your passion for a problem worth solving, your vision, are based on your underlying values. Human beings are driven by intrinsic values such as freedom, equality and creativity, and extrinsic values like power or preservation of public image. Everybody experiences tension between these two. (Read more about this topic over here).
We found it helpful to reflect on our motivations when planning our next steps, and even though the two of us collaborate all the time, taking time out to share why we care has been important to make sure we're still aligned. Going forward, we're applying values to how we frame our communication, and to how we can engage people in a positive way.
Iterating the "prototype"
The cooking sessions are our prototype, and we are getting better with each one. We have seen an increase in collaboration and team spirit amongst our cooks. We are changing a few things each time, with the goal to facilitate working creatively together rather than cooking on your own. Together, all of us are coming up with more and more ideas for using the ingredients as best as we can - leftover bread is turned into breadcrumbs, cauliflower stalks can make a warm salad or pesto, and our cooks share tips for storing leftovers with each other.
Part of the team in the kitchen
Their sense of achievement is so motivating - "what we're doing with these vegetables is like turning straw into gold", says Paula. Listen to her telling the story of Rumpelstiltksin.
So, what's next?
Community engagement needs time. If we want to get more people engaged locally, we have to spend a lot more time getting to know people at Fellows Court, and winning their trust. To make League of Meals more visible to the local community, we are currently planning an event for the 19th of May, the date of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day. We are talking to potential partner organisations at the moment, so expect news on this in our next week notes!