Meet Katy


Katy Nally – we’re all abuzz

By Scott Knackstedt

Meet Katy

Katy loves to make things grow. Her community pea-patch is chock-full of tomatoes, beans and berries. An avid apiarist, she’s worked hard to keep the bees that zip above the groundcover – and pollinate her crops – happy. In addition to her squash and sunflowers, Katy and her cheery, can-do attitude have been key to growing our storytelling practice here at 2A. A Connecticut native with green thumbs and a journalist’s eyes, she has jumped feet-first into delivering exceptional work for clients – and making our community better along the way.

She’s got the write stuff

We love words at 2A, and bringing someone with Katy’s penchant for wordsmithing onto the team was a no-brainer. She has worked as a feature reporter, a freelance writer, and a communications associate, penning pieces for newspapers, magazines, and policy briefs. At 2A she has leveraged these reporting chops toward qualitative research, asking probing questions to find nuggets of insight. She’s crafted taglines, constructed copy, and created stories for companies large and small. She relishes the challenge of keeping words intentional and we’re lucky for it.

She puts the hive first

Katy has a passion for community, and has worked with non-profits, schools, and local government to make her city a better place to live. She has helped install permaculture gardens in rural communities, promoted urban hives as the executive director of DC Honeybees, and volunteered as a bee educator at The Smithsonian. She has shown her support for Seattle Pride, participated in SIFF, and helped reduce traffic as a bike commuter. This community-first attitude translates into a collaborative and open approach to problem solving. Listening with a critical ear and not afraid to ask the tough questions, she ensures that team projects with broad stakeholders can find success, getting to the crux of the challenge and acting in everyone’s best interest.

She brings a new perspective

We appreciate the diversity of industries that our team has had exposure to, and Katy’s previous projects with urban planning, non-profits, and international development are no exception. She has studied in Paris, taught in Peru, and worked in Colombia. With her knack for language that makes sure nothing gets lost in translation, she is a natural fit for projects with global teams and cross-continent coordination.

Sowing seeds and providing pollinators have their rewards for gardening, but Katy loves it best when she can pick the fruits of her labor and cook up a tasty meal. She brings a lot to the table at 2A and we – and our clients – are lucky she’s decided to put down roots here. She may be as busy as a bee when leading projects, but seeing them grow into top-tier deliverables is, well, sweeter than honey.

Meet Evan


Evan Aeschlimann is music to our eyes

By Scott Knackstedt

Meet Evan

It’s not uncommon on a Friday afternoon to hear an 80s power ballad, a kitschy 90s chart-topper, or a pop hit from the 00s spring from “the design pod” at 2A.  Our team of designers has recently doubled in size, and it is exciting for us to showcase our top-tier chops in graphic design.  Evan Aeschlimann – the source of the musical interludes – is much more than the self-assigned 2A DJ. In his short time here he not only gets our feet tapping but has demonstrated some design wizardry worth talking about.

He’s a visual storyteller

Evan has a keen sense for transforming an idea into a visual narrative.  He sees the message and knows what color expresses it, what image defines it, or the composition that captures it.  He listens carefully and structures his interpretation faithfully.  He has put those skills to work at 2A with multiple identity projects, from industries as varied as finance to traffic control, and has shaped new brand identities from the ground up.

He’s a team player

Evan picked up the 2A way without a hitch: he’s collaborative, convivial, and shares his unique qualities to support the team.  Although he has plenty of experience in the field – including previous work with an agency – Evan knows how to strike a balance between his professional responsibilities with his personal pastimes.  An avid sports fan, Evan has leveraged his crafty savviness into a board game, Red Zone Football, that unites his design clout with his passion for the gridiron. It is this sort of cleverness that makes him a clutch player in our starting line-up.

He has the right rhythm

It is easy to charge headfirst into a project and whip out something uninspired, but Evan has demonstrated a thoughtfulness in his work beyond his years.  He knows that high-quality deliverables take time to get right, ensuring that the finer details of a new logo, website, or keynote presentation demand an attentiveness that sometimes cannot be rushed.  Evan has been praised for showing a solid aesthetic – and we’re grateful for his commitment to getting things right.

Evan may have waded into the 2A pool recently but he has made a definitive splash.  We are excited to learn more about Evan, someday meet his energetic dog, Clementine, and look forward to him quietly posting one of his quick-witted memes on the wall.  And though his computer may periodically blare a catchy pop song from a bygone decade to lift the office, we are thankful that Evan’s classical eye and new wave soul continue to produce visual stories that rock.

Neglected Tropical Diseases


Telling the story that saves lives

By Scott Knackstedt

Neglected Tropical Diseases

We here at 2A love stories.  Stories capture valuable ideas and, depending on the medium, use them to imbue words with purpose, to gild images with meaning, and to inspire videos with significance.  By and large we use our stories at 2A to create brand identities and marketing tools for products, goods, and services that help make our lives a little better. There are some, though, who were clever enough to see the potential in how an effective, pithy brand can tell a story that saves lives.  Billions of lives.

Nearly 15 years ago, a cohort of physicians and researchers were distraught that a basket of disparate pathogens – known as other communicable diseases – ranging from various protozoa and helminths to bacteria and viruses, were largely overlooked by those agencies and organizations that addressed global health issues.  In the theater of human misery, these afflictions composed the motley chorus while the stars of the show – malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis – brought the NGOs through the door with their applause of funding.

Before a 2003 WHO conference in Berlin, Dr. David Molyneux and his colleagues saw that by creating a singular, strong brand around these clinically diverse illnesses, advocates could pitch them concisely and effectively to governments and foundations previously focused on ‘the big three’.  He and his team settled on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which were united not through disease pathologies but rather classified on the social hallmarks that they share.  Specifically, they are found in conditions of poverty and underdevelopment, they almost exclusively afflict the poor and marginalized who have little influence over decision-makers, they inspire stigmas and discrimination, and ‘do not travel’ as they are tied to the tropical geographies of their vectors.

This departure from conventional thinking reshaped the discussion.  Those three words told a story, a story of 1.5 billion overlooked lives, reminding funders that they were collectively addressing something important that had been forgotten.  Within a year the WHO had created a new department for NTDs and began generating engagement strategies. Within three years over a billion dollars had been pledged by governments and aid organizations. Within ten years Merck, Bayer, and GlaxoSmithKline were donating 1.4 billion treatments annually.  Hundreds of millions of people were no longer going blind from onchocerciasis, or being deformed from filariasis, or dying from schistosomiasis.

There was a paradigm shift by telling the story of neglected tropical diseases rather than other communicable diseases.  The right words made the difference for untold millions.  New innovations in preventative chemotherapies, synergies in disease management platforms, and an influx of funding arose because of how the issue was communicated. As the 2017 Gates Letter reminded us, success in philanthropy is measured differently than success in business, but the right narrative in either case can be transformative. The story of mankind suffering at the hands of disease and poverty is a story that started once upon a long, long time ago, and is a story that you and I have arrived at in medias res, but is one that, through the confluence of generosity, science, and – in small part –  effective branding, just might have a happy ending.

Happy holidays to all and a joyful new year!


Here for the Holidays

By Scott Knackstedt

Happy holidays to all and a joyful new year!

T’was days before Christmas, in the ballpark of Hanukkah,
Near Festivus (for the rest of us), Hogmanay, and Kwanzaa,
Softly rain fell and the air had a chill,
From Alki to Redmond and in Capitol Hill.

As visitors – with umbrellas – were mildly perplexed,
Shoppers trundled by bundled in their finest Gore-Tex.
Unfazed by the drizzle, and frizzled hair a bit damp,
Each toddler puddle-stomped like they were a champ.

We at 2A (based on Broadway) gazed down at the street,
and mused of eggnog, gingerbread, and a warm fire’s heat.
In the throes of our projects, above the throngs down below,
We can’t help but be proud of this community we know.

Seattle is an exceptional town with accessible places
and holiday events to put smiles on all faces.
So in this season of consumption we can’t help but get vocal,
and remind our community: let’s keep it local!

Stroll the Arboretum among the maples and sequoia!
Catch the symphony’s Messiah (playing at Benaroya)!
If sugar plums are busy dancing in your vision,
Attending The Nutcracker may be the right decision.

The neighborhoods, too, get in on the spirit,
From bazaars and craft fairs to caroling – go hear it!
Ballard’s got a party, Fremont has a Feast,
There’s a brass band in Bellevue, and salsa in southeast!

Go hike in the snow! Hit the slopes for swell fun!
Traipse by the water or dash the Jingle Bell Run!
If you want to spot reindeer, like Comet and Prancer,
Head to the zoo! Ramble through WildLights for an answer!

I know there is shopping to be done so, my dear, try
To support those businesses conveniently nearby.
And for folks that need help, now and next year,
Be sincere as a peer and go volunteer.

It is a time for giving, and there is much to receive,
and we’ve been here together so let’s further achieve
The city we want in the state that we love
and continue to improve on all we think of.

Whether Cap Hill or Leschi, Wedgwood or Queen Anne,
and however we celebrate, or whatever the plan,
We are proud and have vowed to remain focally linked,
with cool pride in a yuletide that’s locally distinct.

So dance under mistletoe, or sing under holly,
Or bake tasty treats and laugh and be jolly,
No matter your style, enjoy festive cheer!
Happy holidays to all and a joyful new year!

Wenn du an Almdudler hast, bist du net allan!


Still sweet: Edelweiss by any other name?

By Scott Knackstedt

Wenn du an Almdudler hast, bist du net allan!

Recently I attended the birthday of a close friend at the Queen Anne Beerhall here in Seattle, a proverbial stone’s throw from the Space Needle and a moderate walk from the Pike Place Market.  As I perused the menu among the chatter of mingling party-goers, I was gobsmacked by the inclusion of Almdudler tucked between the offerings of Portland IPAs, German ales, and Belgian lambics.  An Austrian soda with a mild apple tinge, Almdudler’s flavor is more akin to an An der schönen blauen Donau waltz than to the powerful Born in the USA rock and roll of Pepsi and Coca-Cola.  Although it is sold in a handful of European nations, it is a product so staunchly Austrian that its commercials, print advertisements, and taglines are almost entirely in the Austro-Bavarian dialect of German.

Aside from fomenting nostalgia for the years I spent in the birthplace of Mozart and the Sachertorte, re-living this bubbly cavalcade made me mull over the power of geography in brand identity.  Geographic exclusivity is nothing new –  Venetian glass, Chinese silks, and Persian rugs have buttressed the concept for centuries – and, today, Protected Designation of Origin and its merits have been championed by Champagne and reinforced by feta. In other instances, the geographic identity is appropriated for the values and qualities it affords, as the Mexican lager Dos Equis has demonstrated with its identification to the Spain of Hemmingway’s bravado-filled prime.

What I love most about Almdudler is that this sense of exclusivity is narrowed even further through language.  This type of exclusivity commonly conjures the mysterious exoticism of French, like the Chrysler LeBaron or in companies like LaCroix (of La Crosse, Wisconsin), with its grapefruit – pardon me – pamplemousse flavor, to endow a sense of sophisticated, old-world classiness.  Almdudler, however, commits itself to a niche dialect of a language that is virtually unintelligible to those who live outside its immediate geography. Of the 120 million native German speakers, only 13 million would hear Almdudler’s tagline of “Wenn de kan Oimdudla haum, geh’ i wieda ham!” and identify it as their own.*

Their motive was to capture in the product an identity of ‘being home’ (specifically, Heimat) in the most snow-capped-Alpen-mountain sense of the term.  Austrians are very proud of all things Austrian, from Vienna’s coffee and Klimt’s masterpieces to Graz’s Schwarzenegger and Salzburg’s Herminator, but they are fiercely proud of their language.  The identity of Almdudler is as Austrian as picking edelweiss with Sigmund Freud on a Tyrolian ski slope.

It is funny, though, how we perceive a brand’s geographic identity, whether it is authentic or not, and how we succumb to the identity that resonates.  In the case of Almdudler, its messaging was actually crafted by an English creative director, Simon North. Or, ‘Viennese coffee’ was inherited from the Ottoman Turks in 1683 (who in turn appropriated it from Yemen over a hundred years earlier).  This is the case with countless products and brands.  Then I look around toward my friends at the party (most of whom are not originally from here), the view of the Space Needle, the smell of the Puget Sound, and I know that it’s nice to be home.

*In English: If they don’t have Almdudler, I’m going back home!