By Keith Frome
Co-Founder & CEO of PeerForward (formerly College Summit)
We don’t often think of branding as a powerful tool for education reform but it is crucial in driving youth engagement in schools. Applying the power of branding to educational practice offers the field a new approach to driving achievement for all students.
Effective education helps a student define his or her identity. Great brands do the same. In 2015, College Summit undertook a transformational project with Fossil Group and Fossil Foundation that awakened us to the truth about branding: at its core, a brand is a choice about who you want to be. While we might often think of branding as being externally oriented, a powerful brand is, rather, an inward quest for authenticity.
Our partnership with Fossil Foundation has always been collaborative and rooted in the sharing of insights and expertise. When we sat down with members of the Fossil team, we had a frank conversation about the challenge at hand—our brand was not capturing our core mission: to empower students to guide more of their classmates to pursue higher education. This led us to ask ourselves, “How can we express this mission through brand identity?”
Our brand development process started with the program name. We asked, “What concept will galvanize students to lead this movement of college-goers?”
We discussed how educators, teachers, as well as peers already lead students and friends to become the people they are meant to be. We then explored how peers can continue to strengthen their influence to improve life for themselves and others—our core approach—ultimately landing on the program name “PeerForward” to express the idea at the heart of our efforts. We took an iterative approach with Fossil to create the brand identity, resulting in a strong logo with a bold use of color that conveys grit and leadership—qualities the PeerForward program develops in each student.
Assortment of Peer Forward branded logo productsPeerForward ad in Times Square New YorkPeer Forward team rings Nasdaq bellAssortment of Peer Forward branded logo productsPeerForward ad in Times Square New York
We now use this PeerForward identity to activate 11th and 12th grade “peer leaders” who conduct campaigns and coach friends (and often their parents) through the key steps high school students need to take to continue their education: creating a college list, following through on multiple applications, completing financial aid forms and making the connection between academic choices and career success.
Just as an educator might tell his or her students to review the material they’ve learned in class, the work that PeerForward and Fossil have undertaken asks the educational system and youth themselves to “re-view” the power of youth.
With craft beer flowing, food trucks cookin’ and hundreds of good friends gathered under one roof, Fossil Group’s annual Spring Fest event allowed employees at Fossil’s global headquarters to take a break and enjoy food trucks, frozen treats, inflatable games and live music.
Despite the rainy weather, our covered patio was the scene of intense Jenga game play and some serious second lunching on tacos, churros, mini cupcakes, soft serve ice cream and more. And speaking of carbs, we had plenty of the liquid variety with a selection of craft beer and wine pops. For competitive employees, the human foosball game and jousting made for lively entertainment.
One of the company’s many cultural events—Spring Fest always creates a great escape from the work week. See more photos from Fossil’s 2018 Spring Fest with #MeanwhileAtFossil.
It’s not unusual to see Claire Stolz gathering water bottle caps around the office. “I’m happy with the little things I can do,” the EMEA financial controller says. It’s easy to look at lid collection as something “little”—but Claire’s efforts are anything but. Through her partnership with Les Bouchons d’Amour, her efforts not only bring more bottles and lids to recycling plants, they also raise money to fund wheelchairs for those who need them across her community. It’s her commitment to making time to help both the planet and her community that makes Claire stand out—she’s a force for good who is proving that environmental responsibility and social responsibility go hand in hand.
What do you make time for?
When I arrived in Basel, I immediately saw an opportunity to spread support for Les Bouchons d’Amour, a French association that collects plastic water bottle caps which are then sold to a recycling company located in Belgium. The caps are transformed into plastic pallets, which have a 300-year lifespan and are endlessly recyclable. The full profit from the sale of the caps is used to finance equipment for people with disabilities as well as humanitarian actions in France and abroad.
How does Fossil help you increase your impact in this area?
Fossil supported my partnership with Les Bouchons d’Amour and the organization’s unique efforts to help both the environment and the community. Although it’s a small step, the few tons of plastic recycled and money raised for disabled people makes an impact.
Photos courtesy of Claire Stolz and Les Bouchons d’Amour
Share a success you’ve had through this project.
I have collected caps at home for years! Here in Basel, my colleagues saw me collecting water bottle caps so they started doing it too! As of today, we have filled a 71 liter bag with caps in our headquarters in Basel, which equates to about 22 kilograms.
Why is caring for the planet important to you?
Environmental responsibility has always been very important to me. I’m fully aware of the negative impact human negligence and overconsumption can have on this planet.
When I finished business school, I wanted to spend time on a topic I care about—and that’s how I gravitated towards getting a master’s degree in sustainable development. Later on, I got an opportunity to do a training at an automotive company, where I taught the production line employees eco-friendly methods to removing toxins within the products they use. It was a rewarding experience because I offered a better solution for the environment and the company at the time.
Why is it important to you to make time for good?
Whatever we do as a business, there’s always a way to lower our carbon footprint. Being a mother of a three year old and a baby on the way, I have to care about my children’s future on this earth.
What are a few other ways you’re working to strengthen the planet and your community?
I’m the treasurer of the Ladies’ Circle in Strasbourg, France. We organize events to raise money for different associations such as Les Amis de Marie, which supports people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and Mon Cartable Connecté, which aims to improve hospitalized children’s lives through a digital device that allows them to remotely stay in touch with their classroom while they are in the hospital.
What advice do you find yourself sharing most frequently?
Do as much as you can do—it will truly make a difference. Every little drop counts towards making a bigger impact.
RICHARDSON, Texas – April 25, 2018 – Fossil Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FOSL) and PUMA SE signed a global license partnership agreement for the design, development and distribution of PUMA watches and smartwatches through 2028.