There’s plenty of competition among advertising and public relations agencies in Providence and the state as a whole.
What sets Ninedot LLC apart, according to founder and owner Mark Bevington, is its emphasis on “purpose-driven” branding work, the concept that delving deeply into the fundamental purpose of an agency or a corporation is the best way to develop an authentic, effective and unforgettable identity for public consumption.
Bevington said he founded Ninedot – named for the nine-dot puzzle that forces one to go outside the box to connect the dots – as “just a graphic-design firm” in 2001. But after he began studying for his master’s degree in advertising at Syracuse University in New York in 2005, he realized there was another way to operate.
“I learned design could be used for the good of society,” he said. “I realized we could be more than designers, that we did not have to do only what the clients wanted” but could take a broader approach focusing on a client’s role in the world.
In best-case scenarios, such an approach would even help clients themselves rediscover what Bevington called their own “authenticity.” Case in point is Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, a nonprofit organization that for 42 years has delivered meals to homebound senior citizens.
The purpose-based approach saw Bevington and his staff begin a discovery process to better understand the agency’s mission. Interviews were conducted and surveys sent to meal recipients, agency staff members and community partners.
Although serving meals is a large part of what Meals on Wheels does, Ninedot realized the agency is more than a delivery service. “They really are a supportive and caring network” for seniors, Bevington said, and often their delivery personnel are the only people to interact regularly with elderly shut-ins.
So, the agency’s new mission statement developed by Ninedot emphasizes the larger role Meals on Wheels plays in society: “Since 1969, Meals on Wheels in Rhode Island has been dedicated to caring for, supporting and enabling senior citizens to maintain their independence.” That concept is now a prominent part of the agency’s public relations campaign, including its website and fundraising appeals.