Photonics & WINTERSUX Help Create a World Without Type 1 Diabetes

Lily of Team Lily standing at registration booth at Wintersux event in 2020

Every once in a while, we need some fun, creative indulgences to help set ourselves free from our clients’ day to day causes and take time to promote our own. This past year, our creative indulgence was the rebranding and promotion of an event called WINTERSUX. The event is held to raise awareness and funds to support the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and its annual OneWalk fundraiser. This year, the JDRF OneWalk’s goal is to raise $1,058,500 to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle—and it’s serious and stressful to manage. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D and there is currently no cure. T1D has affected the life of our Development Director, Tom Hutchinson, and the JDRF cause is near and dear to his heart. His father had T1D, and a couple of years ago, his granddaughter, Lily, was diagnosed with it as well. This year’s event honored Lily and her Team Lily fundraiser for the 2020 OneWalk.

While JDRF’s focus is on curing Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), they also pursue new treatments to keep people with T1D healthy until the cure is found. They push for increased government funding for research and work with academia, clinicians, insurers, and regulators to get new therapies and devices to market quickly and safely. Therefore, raising funds is crucial to this effort.

The Event:

Now in its 4th year, WINTERSUX is a summer-themed event held in the dead of winter. Attendees= come dressed in their summer attire, listen to summer tunes, and party for a cause. Business sponsorships, donated raffle items, split the pot, t-shirt sales, and cash donations are the financial drivers for the event. In addition to the sponsorships, many services were donated to the cause, including a DJ and a venue, while the venue also made a cash donation.

Built upon the fun newly rebranded graphics, website, and social media marketing that Photonics created and deployed, this years’ event filled the room of 300 to capacity with old and new attendees, making this the most successful WINTERSUX event to date.

How We Filled the Room:


We redesigned the WINTERSUX logo to align with the energy behind the brand and event. This new branding provided a platform to build more awareness about the summer-themed event. We also developed a Team Lily logo utilizing JDRF’s messaging, “Help Create a World Without Type 1 Diabetes.” Alongside the message, a posterized image of Lily depicts freedom of the disease once a cure is found. The Team Lily logo was used throughout social media and made an appearance on the back of the WINTERSUX shirts.


We redesigned the WINTERSUX website to align with the new brand and provide history and event information. The website needed to include access to the JDRF Team Lily donation page and the online t-shirt shop. We also used the website to provide recognition to event sponsors and key donors.


We created a social media strategy starting 3 months before the event, utilizing Facebook and Instagram. Our goal was to build a following for WINTERSUX using fun messaging to build anticipation for the event. To do this, we scheduled bi-weekly posts on both platforms to build event awareness. We wanted to build a summer mindset throughout the winter when the weather was less than fun. In addition, we created a Facebook event for further awareness, tracking both our reach and RSVPs.

Surviving COVID-19: Tips for Nonprofits & Small Businesses

man writing notes on paper with laptop

Put your Continuity and Recovery Plan to Use

During times like this, it’s important to refer to your continuity and recovery plan. It’s important for all organizations to have a well-documented disaster recovery plan to help employees deal with emergency situations. In this case, it happens to be a worldwide pandemic. Don’t have a business continuity plan in place? Here is a quick-start activation process from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center to help create a plan of action for your organization.

Seek Financial Assistance, if Necessary

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber recently released information regarding Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) options during this time. Both Ohio and Kentucky governors submitted an application to allow nonprofits and small businesses to apply for these funds to assist with economic hardships related to COVID-19. These EIDL funds are 30-year, low-interest loans of up to $2 million. Connect with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber through their Business Response Helpline at 513.579.3111 or your local chamber for additional information.

Starting April 3rd, 2020, the US government will begin accepting applications for another financial assistance program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan. This a program signed into law to assist with payroll costs in an effort to maintain employees and compensation levels. Those qualified include nonprofits, small businesses, independent contractors, and more. Applications are now available. For more information on the PPP loan, click here.

Rethink your Fundraising Plans

While some are suggesting that this isn’t the time to be asking for money, it is still time for stewardship. Connecting with donors is going to be tricky during this unprecedented time. Exploring new marketing and communications avenues, such as social media campaigns or webinars, could help you to stay in front of your audience. If you need help implementing a stewardship plan, try connecting with a marketing agency that offers a variety of digital services. There are many local companies, like Photonics Inc., that work with nonprofit organizations on marketing strategies and deliverables to problem-solve issues just like this. We can help you communicate through social media, email, and other digital outlets. We have spent over 30 years assisting local nonprofits, like OneSource Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, to develop brand and marketing materials in a timely and attractive manner.

Partner on Local Initiatives

Supporting and taking care of our community through this time is of utmost importance. Partnering with tri-state organizations and local companies can help our community while also helping you to reach new audiences and build brand awareness. Connect with your fellow nonprofits or check out’s ideas for helping on a local level during the crisis for additional ideas.

Photonics Inc. Teams Up with Roboworld to Promote Local STEM Program

Ross Rambotics donation presentation from Photonics Inc and Roboworld's Pendant Armor

In October, we teamed up with one of our clients in the industrial manufacturing industry, Roboworld, creator of Pendant Armor®, to donate $1000 to Ross Rambotics, FIRST Robotics Competition Team #3201. We presented the donation to the team in person on October 17th at Ross High School in Hamilton, OH. As partners, we felt Ross Rambotics was a worthy cause for our two companies to jointly support.

The mission of Ross High School’s Rambotics team is to inspire students to build a better future by promoting leadership and STEM skills throughout the Ross community and beyond. “We want to expand our influence, we want to expand our team, and we want to expand our equipment. Our goal is to give kids of all ages the opportunity to experience STEM,” says Kyle Jones, Ross High School science teacher and director of the Rambotics team.

Our client, Roboworld, partners with global robotic equipment manufacturers, integrators, and end-users alike to provide unparalleled levels of robot protection. “Donations that empower our youth are an investment in our collective futures. A strong, educated workforce will be a boon to our economy, our standings amongst other nations, and a source of pride for every American worker,” adds Chris Tur, CEO of Roboworld and Pendant Armor.

Tom Hutchinson of Photonics presents Ross Rambotics STEM donation check

Tom Hutchinson, the Development Director here at Photonics, believes, “the STEM education helps introduce secondary students to programs that help build critical thinking skills, increase science literacy, and create the next generation of innovators, in a fun and interesting way. As marketers in the immensely growing industrial robotics and automation industries, we recognize the need for future generations to not only gain the knowledge necessary to fill predicted vacant job openings but also to develop critical thinking skills that will open up a world of new innovations within the robotics, engineering, and manufacturing industries. STEM programs support these needs.”

Advantages of Hiring a Full-Service Marketing Firm

marketing group team working together

When starting a new business or considering rebranding a company, it is typical to feel overwhelmed with where to start when it comes to a marketing strategy. Hiring a full-service marketing firm has many advantages that will streamline your marketing efforts and knowing these advantages is the first step in choosing the right firm for your company.

Seamless Branding

Outsourcing your marketing needs to a single firm that offers all the services needed to grow your company will minimize miscommunication about your brand and your goals for that brand. Because your chosen firm will be creating everything from your website to online advertisements to print ads, your brand and your voice will remain consistent across all mediums.


Full-service means that a firm has the experience and expertise to manage all aspects of marketing – web development, graphic design, ad placement, ROI, and more. This means that they will be able to better create a cohesive strategy and later analyze that strategy, with their knowledge of SEO and SEM. Their experience in all these sectors has helped them to develop proven strategies and the means to reach your goals.


With clients in all different niches, a firm of this level has built many connections that will help them to market your brand in the perfect avenue, both locally and globally. If you took on your company’s marketing internally or relied on a firm that only focuses on web design to manage your ad placements, for instance, you would have to start from scratch in the advertising world. A full-service firm has already spent years building relationships in the industry and this will be a great advantage for your company.

Time and Money

If your company doesn’t already have it’s own in-house marketing team, a full-service firm is the best option. They manage multiple clients and their time is dedicated solely to marketing, therefore they will have the experience to know exactly what and how much can be accomplished with your company’s budget. They will also eliminate the overwhelming task of hiring and coordinating with a variety of different contractors, small agencies, and freelancers to handle all the various sectors of marketing, leaving you to do what you do best.

Working with a full-service marketing firm like Photonics Inc. will provide your company assistance with branding, strategy, web development and design, app development, ad design and placement, SEO, SEM, ROI, and more. Allowing a single team to take on all of these needs will guarantee a consistent brand and strategy that will convert into sales.

One Day Campaign a Ten-Thousand Dollar Success

nonprofit housing kids looking over fence

One of my favorite aspects of working with nonprofit organizations to improve their marketing is that when we succeed, a lot of people win. Last year we partnered with one of our existing clients to create a new landing page that ended up raising more than $10,000 in a single day. Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) has been a wonderful client that originally approached us more than a year ago to build a new website. After we built and launched their new website in early 2016, they were excited about the new image that donors and the community were now seeing. In fact, they were so pleased that they wanted to create a special one-day campaign landing page.

Greater Cincinnati Nonprofit News recently featured an article about our successful partnership with OTRCH. We appreciate the article and will continue to help nonprofits succeed with their marketing!

For more than four decades, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) has been providing a wide array of affordable and supportive housing options and life-changing programs to low-income residents in the OTR community. Last November the organization wanted to raise $10,000 for two of its resident service programs: Children’s Creative Corner and Women of Over-the-Rhine. The twist? They wanted to raise all the money in ONE day – on #GivingTuesday.

If you’re not familiar with #GivingTuesday, it’s a global day of giving fueled by social media. It’s celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and kicks off the charitable season when many focus on their end-of-year giving. Seeing this as an opportunity to raise significant funds in a short amount of time, Katherine Cunningham of OTRCH capitalized on #GivingTuesday in order to raise money and awareness for OTRCH.

“We did this by sharing photos, videos, and stories about participants on social media and through email leading up to the campaign,” Cunningham says. “Our goal for the day of #GivingTuesday was to have all of this information and a donation link easily accessible from the homepage of our website.”

Cunningham worked with Photonics, the web design and mobile app development studio in East Walnut Hills that built the OTRCH website. Cunningham knew the team at Photonics would be able to quickly design and build the web layout for her online campaign.

“I had some ideas for what I wanted the page to look like, but I wasn’t sure what was possible,” Cunningham recalls. “Photonics gave suggestions for how the page could be designed in a way that made all of the information clear and accessible.”

The #GivingTuesday campaign was a great success, raising $10,475 and engaging several new donors with OTRCH. Cunningham was ecstatic at the results and continues to work with Photonics to build on the organization’s end-of-year web success.

“When I meet with Photonics, [owner Alan Brown] and his team always helps us think of ways we can effectively reach our target audiences and asks important questions that I didn’t originally ask myself,” Cunningham says.

Original article available via GCNN.

The Greater Good

cincinnati youth collaborative nonprofit marketing and website

One aspect of Photonics that separates it from the competition is its steadfast devotion to helping non-profits throughout Greater Cincinnati.

I, Alan Brown, have always believed that I have a duty to make an ongoing contribution to “The Greater Good.” It is a duty and a responsibility. For me, if I do nothing, I feel I’m contributing to the opposite.

This personal belief has influenced my business, and as a long-time business owner in Cincinnati, I always want to give back to the community that has helped create my livelihood. Photonics’ contribution to “The Greater Good” has largely been through our work with non-profits. All non-profits have needs, and many of those needs stem from not having enough resources to market themselves. That’s where Photonics fits in. We offer our services to non-profits at a reduced rate and do quite a bit of pro-bono work within the community.

There are many non-profits doing remarkable work and providing much-needed services and support to our community members who need it most. I love working with the leaders of these organizations to help them make a difference whether it is through their website, a marketing campaign, or a re-branding process. With the merry season of giving just around the corner, consider giving some of your own time or resources to local organizations. Here are just a few that we hold dear to our hearts at Photonics:

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC): CYC makes a significant difference in the lives of vulnerable young people in 2nd grade through college by providing a range of services designed to keep kids in school, prepared for college and career, and on the pathway to success. Photonics created a new website for CYC recently.

ReSource: ReSource’s mission is to build stronger nonprofits by distributing corporate donations, including excess goods such as furniture, personal care items and other products, to their member nonprofits. Photonics developed a new website for ReSource this year so they can continue to help area nonprofits succeed.

Congregation Beth Adam: Congregation Beth Adamis a unique community integrating Jewish tradition and humanistic principles. Photonics has worked with Congregation Beth Adam for many years on web development and graphic design services.

Thank you to these organizations and countless others who make a difference in our Cincinnati community day in and day out. We are honored to stand beside you and the good work that you do.

NOTE: As of 2018, ReSource joined ESCC to become the OneSource Center for Nonprofit Excellence.