This year’s selection of the best charity marketing campaigns of 2016 all use thoughtful approaches to engaging with their audiences. Cutting through counts against what has been a challenging backdrop for charities in 2016, with uncertainties around Brexit (particularly for environmental and human rights campaigning organisations), and with a new Fundraising Regulator making its presence felt (- two charities having already been fined)- the market continues to be tough for gaining new supporters and funds. This year’s best charity marketing campaigns include:
1 Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces, tackling homophobic attitudes in sport, came of age in 2016 with the ‘Rainbow’ appearing at Premier League fixtures, top-level rugby union games and even on the Wembley Arches (photo: express.co.uk)
2. Shelter’s Vertical Rush took Challenge Events to a new level with 1,300 runners climbing the 932 steps in London’s Tower 42, and raised a whopping £1.2 million!
3. Time to Talk Day 2016 from Comic Relief and Department of Health took place on the first Thursday in February. They asked the nation to spend 5 minutes talking about mental health, encouraging people to break down the barriers surrounding this difficult subject – a positive and much needed initiative, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing mental health issues.
4. Channel Four’s We’re Superhumans promoted coverage of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio with the ‘Yes I can” chant. This was made up of brilliant goosebumps stuff, featuring a determined cast of 140 disabled sports, performers and members of the public.
5. #22PushupsChallenge campaign reached its target of 22 million pushups around the world to raise awareness of the 22 veteran suicides a day. It required people to complete 22 press-ups in 22 days, to film this challenge and upload it on social media, nominating somebody else for the challenge.
6. Mencap’s Changing Places toilet campaign aimed to increase the number of toilets with a bench, hoist and extra space to meet the needs of the 250,000 people in the country with learning and physical disability. Currently their basic needs aren’t being met as there are just 800 specially designed toilets across the UK.
7. Timpson Free Dry Cleaning campaign offered free dry cleaning for the unemployed (and potentially homeless) who had job interviews.
8. Similarly, Action on Addiction encouraged dry cleaners to donate uncollected suits to Action on Addiction to help recovering substance misusers find a job. 34 dry cleaning services in London have signed up to this campaign.
9. The BBC Micro:bit – a pocket-sized codeable computer with built-in compass and Bluetooth technology, was given free to every child in Year 7 across the UK giving children an exciting and engaging introduction to coding, to help realise their potential early on. Impressive stuff.
10. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home launched the ‘Digital Doggy’ called Barley – a fundraising initiative in which a dog on a billboard appeared to follows shoppers as they walked past.
These charity campaigns are straightforward and engage creatively on many levels, and are clear manifestations of the charities’ purposes.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.More >
Posted 21 December 2016 | No comments
Posted 9 September 2016 | 4 comments
Moustaches and sit-ups; charities understandably want a slice of the action from Movember (still going strong from its peak of raising a whopping £20.4 million for Prostate Cancer in 2013), the ALS Ice Bucket challenge (no kidding, in 2014 – 20 million took part and it raised £7m), the no make-up selfie (generating £2m for CRUK) and of course, to the current 22 sit ups a day for #22kill.
I don’t think this approach to engagement works well for all established charities. My tips on how to create your charity idea – your Movember are to:
1. Build your big idea around your content
– The thing that only you can do – that sets you apart, the reason people love what you do
– For instance, if you’re the RSPB, why not have an imaginary interview with migrating birds? “Where have you come from – what was the journey like, tell me about the Countries you’ve travelled through and the challenges you’ve faced?” And it can link nicely back to RSPB’s work, protecting habitats and wild places
2. Deliver a message that works with your supporter base
– Understand where they are on the supporter / audience journey
– For Greenpeace, a campaign could be around the ‘day in the life of a campaigner’, to inspire people to volunteer
3. Keep it simple and easy to deliver
– The more time spent crafting it, the harder it is to accept failure
– In other words, better to jump on something today that feels right, than spend weeks perfecting, to paraphrase the words of Lord Patton!
If your looking for your next big idea, build the messaging around what makes your offering unique, the thing that nobody else can do and make this work for your supporter base. This will deliver the awareness and engagement you need.
Read our thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge; Cool idea or skating on thin ice
Posted 8 September 2016 | No comments
Did we have balanced debate about the EU? With 52% voting to leave, my sense is that we were let down by a lack of information and in certain cases, misinformation. The Government didn’t capitalise on the opportunity to clearly communicate a balanced view – the debate became very polarised around issues of immigration and the economy. The campaign should and could have included the following elements:
1. A debate including members of the EU parliament
One of the issues for many was voting for or against a ‘faceless bunch of bureaucrats’.
2. Local community based discussions
Events for all to air their thoughts, alongside the bigger Question Time style discussion and TV panel debates, backed by an online forum and portal for further discussion, exchanges of views, would have helped
3. A published cross party manifesto, the successes, the areas we could improve on, better case studies about human rights, the environment, freedom of movement and security. But also the everyday cultural issues such as the benefits of town twinning and the freedom to study abroad.
4. A representation of young people’s views
There is some evidence that younger folks were much more in favour of staying ‘in’, did we really hear and reflect their voices?
5. A time-line
What this means for us over the next year to 18 months- scenario planning.
Being part of the EU I am certain, gave us cleaner and better beaches and drinking water, less air pollution and protected our wildlife. How do you feel about where we go from here, happy, sad or worried – why not let 38 Degrees know in their new survey; https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/surveys/490More >
Posted 24 June 2016 | No comments
I wanted to share some tips to help others working on brand projects with clients in different continents.
Having developed the NEAR brand, an African based membership organisation, helping disaster struck communities to resume normal life as soon as possible (similar to our Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), but using local people and NGOs; our main challenges were:
1.Starting with NO assumptions!
We really did start with a blank canvas, which was useful. But also we had our Cézanne moment of ‘fear’ when we wanted to colour the canvas in beige. But at this point you have to make brave decisions, intuition and gut feel are important guides. We didn’t have stacks of research and time for stakeholder interviews. But I rather liked being driven by passion
It obviously helps to understand how the new organisation has described itself and where they see the vision and mission (pre new name!)
It strikes me as odd how linear clients see the identify process. It helps to guide clients through similar processes you have completed, showing them how you spotted the blind alleys and how you developed a new name, underpinned by visual clues and meaning behind this. It need not be painful but arriving at an excellent solution can be a slow process (particularly with membership organisations)
4. Cultural harmony
Being sensitive to colours, symbols and references, which may be loaded with different cultural meanings, particularly when working with a client in the global south, helped no end. Taking these culture differences into account, using fonts, colours and wording that have cross-continent appeal, i.e., not too stylised, but still of good quality, was beneficial
5. Loves and hates
It helped to have all the client loves and hates at the beginning, the shapes, references, fonts and colours to guide the first stages of our creative thinking and understand which areas to avoid (or a least if we used certain routes, to be able explain why we think they could work)
6. Don’t patronise
Working with the mind-set of equality. Making sure we didn’t patronise unintentionally
7. Patience and understanding
Staying patience with many layers of client approval. We were working with a network of organisations of 30 members, each of whom had a voice at the table, rather like the Fairtrade Foundation network
8. People based
Making sure it’s all about the people – throughout the process and also with the brand development
9. Old hat guides
Brand guidelines seem a bit old hat, for us it was useful to write a guide as to how the entity and team should speak, use social media and work with their partners
An oft-used word, but when the pressure is on with a deadline looming, remember that the creative approach needs time and space to work well
We are pleased with the direction we have helped create with NEAR- the network for empowered aid response, which launches at the end of May. We wish the network the very best of luck and hope that the confident and fresh approach reframes the way we see aid transferred.
Posted 31 May 2016 | 3 comments
Well done to all those charities who have run bold campaigns in 2015. Not an easy year for the sector with many mergers still on the table, negative stories about about how charities operate in getting their vital funds, the debacle of the Kids Company closing and the Edelman Trust barometer showing trust in charities down 17%.
My top 10 charity campaigns this year are:
It was good to see Greenpeace’s action in 2014 and mobilising millions to stop the Lego Shell partnership in 2015. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).
Not a charity but certainly a cause, I’m sure most would agree the Je Suis Charlie events were a critical response to the threat against the freedom of speech, inspired by the terrible attacks in France on 7th January 2015.
I loved This Girl Can campaign developed by Sport England as a celebration of active women doing their thing no matter how well they do it or how they look.
A very innovative and entrepreneurial way to diversify the work homeless people can do, by training them to make and sell cappuccinos – with eight carts in London, I wish it all the best.
It’s tough bringing home your message and this campaign does just that with specially created headsets. It aims to transport people to a Syrian street to show the destructive effects of barrel bombs.
A brilliant idea, using regular ‘chokables’ as the main characters, with voice-overs from Johnny Vegas and David Mitchell, adding weight.
The Church of England planned to run the spot before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opening on 18 December. As an aside, The Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refused to show The Lord’s Prayer ad . The spot launched the Church of England’s justpray.uk website, which encourages prayer and offers tutorials.
NSPCC’s great campaign encourages children to think about what they share online; with this campaign they have developed a partnership with 02.
The Open University has captured the strength of mind, effort and reward that comes from studying a part-time degree – a nice brand builder.
Unicef recruited Snapchat artists to redraw the pictures made by some of the 800,000 children forced to flee their homes in Nigeria, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the horrific impact of the Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian children.
These charity campaigns are all brave and ambitious – but more importantly speak to us in a straightforward language, and in my view, increase the perceived value of the charities’ role on the issues. I believe they have every chance of driving new supporters and partnerships.
Giles Robertson, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and independent Marketing Consultant, Marketing Society Fellow, Board Member, Marine Conservation SocietyMore >
Posted 13 January 2016 | No comments
It’s time to make that all defining film about your charity (or yourself?). The problem is, where do you start? Your content list runs to ten minutes and your main spokesperson sounds like Kevin Spacey at the end of his tether in American Beauty, which is not going to win you new support.
We’ve just made a great promo film about Green Banana Marketing with sister company, Five on a Bike. Four edits later and we were very happy with the results. That’s not bad for a 7-year-old company with dozens of client projects – we’ve seen some films go into double digit edits. Here are my six questions for you to consider, which helped keep me on track and to fewer edits:
It’s great to consider what your key messages are right up front. The really hard job is being tough on what you’d like to show to which audience. Try and list the two or three take-outs you’d like to have from the film. For us, it was showing the value we could bring to people’s work through the story of our projects.Image from edit suite of Green Banana Marketing film
Showing what you do to a group of school kids is very different to presenting to the senior board at Santander. There may be similarities, but I imagine it’s two difference audiences with different needs. Businesses like to see your flair, the impacts of your work and what a likely partnership will deliver. And school kids are no different; they want to be inspired and see how things have changed because of your work. Sometimes explaining the basics of what you do, can be a great start. I remember in one presentation with my Marine Conservation Society trustee hat on, one speaker outlined all that they did related to marine biology, and at the end of the session, the first question was ‘what does a marine biologist do?” Oh dear.
For us at Green Banana Marketing, we hoped to speak directly to Marketing Directors of development, fair trade, health, conservation and human rights charities.
Is your film a shortcut way of introducing what you do? Or is it an “ask” to show what more could be done with some extra resource? Two very different scenarios –again if this is done right, it can pay dividends. I know one corporate partner film, which allegedly paid for itself within the first six months for a development charity.
Introducing the feel of your organisation throughout is a real art, whether it’s your logo on runners vests doing the Marathon, or campaigning pledges reaching their target, it helps to weave your brand into the story. And of course, do start and end your film with your brand and your mission and finish with a ‘view’ of your vision and your ask for the future.See how the storyboard for Salix / Department for Education compares to final film
Images do speak a thousand words, but sometimes you forget, if images are not explained with a simple title e.g. “Fracking protest outside Chequers”, they can be abstract and rather off putting. Start by writing down all the content you think should be in the film, it will end up being enough content for The Godfather part 1 and 2. But never mind, it’s a start. It’s easier to explain a problem through a story; how your organisation was the hero who overcame the villain, the approach it took and the style of how it works. Telling your story through one person’s perspective always helps. You forget how complex your organisation is and people can really only take in a handful of messages at a time. Mario’s personal battle with cancer and the support he got from Macmillan Cancer Support hits me hard in this film and I get exactly what he went through, what the charity did for him – even within this small focus of their work.
Do take the leap and make a film about your charity work – answer the hard questions first and you’ll save time as well as money on the editing floor. And of course, we could help make it very good for you.
Posted 11 September 2015 | No comments
Posted 22 August 2015 | No comments
Many of the social organisations we work with are going through huge changes, using their “ten year strategy” to answer the question “what would a digitally-enabled organisation look like?” and “how will we thrive in an increasingly digital world?”. These are perfect questions to help shape the future and current offering and the following related questions helped us in working through our recent projects with the Fairtrade Foundation and The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
Mapping the user experience and developing wireframe and related colour schemes for the navigation
1.What’s not working well at the moment? Where are audiences dropping off / not going – why is this?
2.What are your analytics telling you? Do you understand the audience needs and do these change by age / other demographics? Why is that? Do you know how people are using your site?
3.Are you ready for Mobilegeddon? Do start the process of ensuring your site works on different devices from interactive white screen to phones. You probably already know that Google’s search ranking will be affected by how mobile friendly your site it. There is an easy mobile friendly test you can do.
The mobile experience for teachers using Fairtrade resources
4.Is your SEO / social strategy good enough? Read Google’s guide to SEO, again Google will look harshly at copy that is too small and links that go nowhere. Defining your strategy beforehand (starting with the web copy), will help you prioritise what your main services are.
5. Do you have a strong concept / design? People like ideas- a strong concept can really lift your site usage.
6.Do you have the right sign-up points? Getting the balance right is essential; too many and people will click off your site. Having the main touch points clearly labelled will increase conversion to sales, and to your newsletter sign up.
Clear and interesting sign up points help the user
7.Why not ask people what they would like to use the site for in the future? Regular users of your site will often have as good ideas as anyone for how the experience could be made even better, we’ve found tapping this interest and using some of their ideas is crucial.
8.Are you using it as a living / agile website? Agile roll-outs are best. Too often the process is to map the user experience to a wireframe and then build the site over 10-16 weeks, which is fine. But it’s better to keep the site alive and agile, adding new features and functionality, so the site has a beginning but no end. There is no web 2.2.
9.Are you linking your CRM to your website? You increase conversion to your site by as much as 50% from users on your social channels, by a few simple campaigns.
10.Are you making lots of new friends? We’ve found links to your site from other respected organisations work wonders for new site visitors and increased search ranking.
If you need help with your web delivery, these are the first questions we would ask, it’s an easy checklist, which starts with your audience and builds things in an agile but logical way.
Giles Robertson, Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd, Marketing Soc. and RSA Fellow, Charity Group chairman, Trustee of Marine Conservation Society, member of 2Degrees board of advisers and the Sustainability Growth Group. Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana or email at Giles@greenbananamarketing.comMore >
Posted 9 July 2015 | No comments
Posted 24 June 2015 | No comments