Knowledge + Creative Outreach Is Power

Did you know that it takes 17 years from the development of new knowledge until it’s translated into popular practice?

We’re on a mission to connect the most powerful, innovative expert ideas with the audiences that can use them faster, more effectively, and with less resistance to behavior change. Collaboratively with our client partners, we want knowledge to start benefiting our world now, instead of in another 17 years.

We’re constantly fascinated by the conversations we have with subject matter experts who are doing deep research and development on interventions and ideas that solve problems. In areas like public health, reproductive justice, education, economic development, and so many more, the amount of knowledge is rarely the problem. The challenge is convincing audiences to do the behaviors that will create the impact you want to see. That’s where the toolbox provided by smart creative marketing comes in.

Let’s Start with Audiences

In our experience, subject matter experts basically know so much that it’s difficult to conceive of an audience that doesn’t understand. That’s a challenge if any part of your work is dedicated to changing the behavior of an audience. People bring a variety of experiences to their current thought processes, and often do things based more on their identities than they do because of facts. That means that messages have to be filtered through an identity to be relevant to your audience. Do you have different audiences? You may need different messages, customized to each.

Though your audience is likely not involved in the research leading to a campaign, thinking like your audience is a hugely important part of the process. It helps to expose hidden assumptions or blind spots.

Acting by Heart

Assuming a ‘rational actor’ is often more theory than reality. Emotions like affinity and anger can drive behavior in powerful ways. Even business and political leaders are not immune to leading emotion. But it does underscore that facts alone can’t drive positive change. That’s how a public interest campaign on reducing littering becomes “Don’t Mess with Texas.”

To drive the real change that you know is needed, you have to speak to your audience’s emotions. Fire them up! The ingredients for that aren’t found in a lab—they come from the world of creative marketing. And marketing on its own without inspirational clients is rudderless. Blending the two is the perfect mixture that I’ve spent my career pursuing.

The Importance of Brand

We know that we’re in a challenging time for facts. Audiences’ trust has been tested like never before. If you are an academic center designing a new program, or selling consulting services to the private sector, why should they trust you? Credentials alone don’t cut it—especially if you’re suddenly thrust into talking to the public. Your brand is the interplay and relationship that’s built between you and how your audience feels when they think about you. These are the building blocks towards creating change and landing your message with your audience. If you’ve never considered that your center or program needs a brand, we urge you to think again — you do.

Investing in your brand is the step you can take to bring your center, research, and resulting programs into alignment with the needs of your audience. We call our process Alignment + Action and we’ve got it down to an artful science.

Marketing is Not an Afterthought

Our belief is that you’re not doing your work so that knowledge sits on a shelf somewhere—you want it out in the world making positive change. We do, too. We think constantly about those 17 years that knowledge was created but not implemented in real world settings for the public good.

We’ve designed our team and our operations to effectively interpret the spirit of subject matter expert material into social marketing and knowledge translation campaigns. In our conversations with philanthropic funders, they know how important capacity building is for change work. We’re always dismayed when we learn that grantees who have been funded often have unspent marketing line items, simply because they didn’t know where to start! We want your work to connect with your audiences.

Let’s make it happen together. Contact us at and tell us what ideas you want to put into practice.

View our work.

Darren Schwindaman

Darren Schwindaman

Darren Schwindaman is a graphic and web designer who oversees creative & strategic direction for Creative Distillery clients. He studied graphic design at Loyola University New Orleans and lived in Jackson, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. Darren now lives in Upstate New York.

Darren values building relationships with his clients and making the real world a better place through communications. He is a rare breed of left-brained artist, and he believes that good design comes from equal parts creativity, strategy, and coffee. Darren enjoys Atlanta Braves baseball and The Expanse, a gritty sci-fi drama.

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Alignment + Action