Souk el Tayeb
Attempting to structure emotions
The Beginning: Brought together through a Bank Audi Initiative
The actual souk (market) was only the beginning. The beginning of a beautiful journey, filled with stories, culture, heritage and promoting Lebanon in all its authenticity.
Our work with Souk el Tayeb began when we were part of an initiative created by Bank Audi to offer the souk’s producers various trainings to help them develop their skill sets in building viable businesses. Our role was to offer branding and digital marketing workshops.
Needless to say, we were thrilled to be part of this initiative. We were even more thrilled when the opportunity presented itself for us to partner with Souk el Tayeb and become an extension of their marketing department.
And let’s just say, our work was cut out for us; circle back to the start of this text: the souk was just the beginning because today Souk el Tayeb is an organization hosting a farmer’s market, five farmer’s tables (Tawlet, Tawlet Ammiq, Tawlet Beit el Qamar, Tawlet Biomass, and Tawlet el Hamra), five guest homes (Beit Douma, Beit Ammiq, Beit el Qamar, Beit el Tawlet and Beit el Hamra) and other projects including Capacity Building Program (CBP), Food & Feast, Aasha el Tayeb, cultural events and more.
The Situation: When you’re focused on giving; you’re not focused on yourself
When you’re focused on a mission tied to people and their growth; you tend to put your personal organization on the back burner. The Souk El Tayeb organization didn’t need traditional push marketing to grow its reach. Word of mouth was the main driver; because they had a genuine story to tell. A story that others liked to tell and be a part of. With time, certain habits had formed, organically; and habits have a tendency to be invisible.
So with this fast organic growth things got jumbled a little, sometimes projects took a life of their own and the thread that was keeping everything together weakened. We wanted to make sure the habits were justified. Projects definitely needed to have their own personality, but somehow they needed to also be united under the umbrella of Souk el Tayeb.
The Audit: Let’s bring things to their smallest elements; to build up a more coherent entity
The organization is huge; and it felt as a family. The human bond between the individuals and their personal stories was part of this organization and its success. However, each entity had to be left to fend for its own and have a voice.
There was a lot to do; and things had to be broken into phases and smaller steps.
We started by doing an overall audit and came up with clear identifiable fixes that needed to be applied. Some were strategic while others were very tactical.
A solid communications department needed to be instilled and with it processes for repetitive tasks. Standard Operating Procedures were put in place to make redundant tasks simpler and less time consuming. An example was reworking a structured photo library and a press kit to be shared with those interested. And with all the media buzz the entity gets, this was a very recurring task.
Beyond an Identity: the visual language needed a system
The organization and projects had a brilliant visual identity; they each had their names, logos and independent objectives but they also needed to look like one family. So we made it one of our first missions to attend to this by designing a design system. Yes, you read that right.
What is a design system you ask? A design system defines a brand and allows it to be coherent while maintaining high scalability. It includes the typical components: typography, colors, and you have to add to that designing entire templates and layouts. It is the logical way of thinking when working with a big organization with a wide range of sub-entities and communication channels. You can read more on our article.
In addition to the more basic guidelines, the system put in place clear guidelines for when to use which styles of communications based on messaging and context. It unified how visuals should go on channels; which templates and how to clarify the relationship between the entities. You can take a look at it on their Resources Page (coming very soon as part of the new website).
Once this was achieved, it enabled us to move on to enhancing and revisiting visuals (print and online), re-working key collaterals (i.e. Welcome letters / Corporate brochure / Press kit, etc.), giving the Catering arm its own logo, attending to the organization of all the libraries (i.e. Brand assets / Photos / Archive, etc.)
The Digital Strategy: we unified; now we divide
Then we pursued our work by auditing the organization’s digital footprint and presenting a digital strategy that optimizes the organization’s presence – which was tricky, because on one hand, we had to tie projects together so that awareness and loyalty can be shared while giving each project breathing space and a voice.
At the time, across social media platforms, all information and messages were channeled through a single page, the Souk el Tayeb page, which was overly busy. With one page conveying so many messages, it was yielding confusion and in some cases (yikes!), 'banner blindness' (that’s when people subconsciously ignore messages from a certain brand that they deem too ‘chatty’ for their taste).
The recommended solution was to create a clean split across the main entities of the organization: Souk el Tayeb | Tawlet | Beit. The logic was simple:
Let the souk have its own voice, telling the stories of the numerous producers from all over the country and let it be responsible for the organization’s soul & spirit, aka the emotional side.
Let Tawlet speak about its farmer’s tables across the country, as well as the more tactical communications like the actual offering for each week or season.
Let Beit speak about its guest homes across the country, also in addition to the more tactical details of the rooms and the offering.
And let them all share from one another, mainly the aspirational side from the main souk page to allow the spirit of the organization to diffuse through them all.
This way, we are not only informing followers, but we are clearly showing the tie that binds these entities together while showcasing their scalability. You liked Tawlet Ammiq? That’s great, your experience doesn’t have to end in Ammiq. Go ahead and experience Tawlet Beit el Qamar...
And to further connect the dots, we designed a new website that will serve as a digital hub that houses all these entities, giving each its own space to express itself while living harmoniously with all the others. All the projects will have a single digital home to fall under; but to be aligned with all that was mentioned, each project will have its own independence and ability to drive traffic to its own specific objectives. Ownable project domains will lead to direct sections on the main website’s domain.
The website highlights each project, along with the required specifics while maintaining an organic feel, resembling that of the organization. Feel free to browse through the new Souk El Tayeb website. (The website will be live very soon)
We structured, we operated, we transferred.
Souk el Tayeb never needed us to grow, and that’s what makes it special. Its story does all that. There’s nothing more powerful than a story. We attended to a part of the organization and that meant to us that we became a part of that story; and we hope we did leave a part of us there.
In an organization of this size, the marcom efforts are very dynamic and will undergo constant evolution. We are proud to have played a role in defining these efforts and look forward to witnessing the continued growth of Souk el Tayeb, a national organization that presents Lebanon proudly to the world.
- Katia Barakat (Marketing Strategy)
- Wadih Antoun (Digital Strategy)
- Elyan Jabre (Branding & Design Strategy)
- Ghida Maktabi (Account Management)