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
What’s not to like about the London Marathon? It’s welcoming – whether you are one of the 750,000 spectators, watching it on TV or more importantly one of the 38,000 people taking part. It’s pure joy, celebration and carnival– preceded by pain and I guess sometimes despair. What makes the London Marathon brand so special is the following:
We were also all swept up by 2012 London Olympics and the amazing Gamemakers who really made their mark. Now contrast that with the lead up to the general election – the biggest event we were not really invited to be part of – in the weeks leading up to 7th May. We’ve not been involved in a conversation with the general election. The environment, sport and health have been little discussed. The Green party lost out, by playing down discussions about green issues, to demonstrate a broader understanding of other policy areas.
There has been very little discussion about sport, health and well being; tackling obesity and getting people back into sports. I applaud the This Girl Can campaign and what Dove has tried to do by normalising every day body shapes. But all this seems to have been given the two fingers by the most pointless and shallow ad of our time; an ad for a weight loss drink and beach perfect bodies.
Thank goodness for two bloggers Tara Costello and Fiona Longmuir, pictured, who posed next to the ad, rightly saying they are beach ready.
I want an election a bit like the London Marathon, where;
Posted 20 May 2015 | No comments
I wonder, if like me, you have been inspired by Ross Poldark, in the BBC1’s 70s remake, which has been watched by nearly 7 million viewers, based on Winston Graham’s Poldark books from the 1940s and 1950s.
Set in the 18th century, the main character, Ross Poldark, a British Army officer, returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War only to find that his fiancée, Elizabeth, having believed him dead, is about to marry his cousin, Francis Poldark. Ross attempts to restore his own fortunes by reopening one of the family’s tin mines. After several years he marries his servant girl, and is gradually reconciled to the loss of Elizabeth’s love.
There is plenty to enjoy – at its heart, a story of determination and doing the right thing. Poldark’s physique has been much debated, but it’s his approach, which we think throws up some great analogies for charities wanting to stay true to their beliefs and be true leaders. And they are;
1. At his core is a powerful belief in philanthropy, which comes through every pore
2. He has a vision – turning his new tin mine into a success- which he relentless pursues
3. He doesn’t let short term set backs take him of course, but knows when to call in extra help
4. He knows how to lead people with his vision – of finding tin
5. He understands what it takes to inspire people with words as well as actions
6. He’s keenly aware of how to inspire funders
7. He knows how to gain their continued support, and when to give updates on the progress that has been made
8. He’s happy to go out on a limb for what he believes in – in work and in love, however out of kilter and out of fashion this might be with his immediate circle
9. He leads by example and is consistent to his word
10. Despite much adoration, he is humble, welcoming and a genuinely consistent all round nice guy.
Can Ross Poldark do no wrong?More >
Posted 1 May 2015 | No comments
I wanted to write a quick checklist of some of things we’ve been asked to look at with our charity clients, many of whom are consolidating what they are doing with their marketing this year. It doesn’t matter if you are halfway through or at the beginning of your planning cycle, why not run-through this check list?
1. Define where you think the majority of your supporters are on the ‘supporter journey’- take a day out to review where each audience is
2. Challenge your team to generate one piece of comms a month that defines what your cause stands for (and has an insight that only you could use). Maybe that’s where this Halloween inspired idea came from for Doctors of the World?
3. Define the role of your social media and prune channels that’s aren’t working. Who are they for and are they adding any value? Who is responsible for them? Are they reflective of how people interact with you – on ‘broadcast’ or ‘listen’ mode?
4. Celebrate your work and thank your supporters, explain how you spent their money. Here’s a great example from Greenpeace – 2014 was BIG. Let’s make 2015 even bigger!
5. Run a competition with your supporters for better ways to engage with them. Help for Heroes have amassed a whole A- Z of ideas
6. Why not do a placement at one of your partners, maybe even better do a job swap with say P&G marketing
7. Help find new comms professionals for your Board of Trustees by drawing up a short list of new skills you need (go and meet them and get their advice). Look at WWF, they have a digital expert
8. Make your Trustee board quarterly reporting a useful part of the team reporting process, rather than an add on
9. Look for new commercial opportunities for your charity brand
10. Make sure you write up case studies of all your campaigns and partnership work and get it on your website (and enter awards)
I do hope you have a good year and please do make the most of it!
Posted 17 April 2015 | No comments
This is about you and me
It’s rare for Green Banana Marketing employees to speak about themselves but we all have some things that we are proud of. Today it is my turn. Julie Heyraud, Account exec. for almost 2 years and French! At Green Banana Marketing I have learnt many things about charities and become aware of all the world’s atrocities through our clients’ work. I’m proud to be part of these projects, to create a ‘better world’.
As you would expect at GBM, we believe everyone should be able to express their own opinions as long as they do not harm others. We are free to talk about politics, religion, cooking! We like to question, to communicate and discuss green and fair issues.
Last month on the 7th of January, a terrible event touched my country, France, and attacked one of the most important values of our democracy. Twelve people working for Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, were killed in Paris at their offices. Twelve people like you and I with different religions, beliefs, lives, problems… You may not have heard of the magazine Charlie before, but for context, this publication has always been criticised for its controversial caricatures, which sometimes seems offensive to some. The magazine’s motivation was to be free to publish what they wanted. And this is what they did, which often resulted in death
Worried about the threat to freedom of speech we have defended for so long, two of my friends and I went straight into the organisation of an unexpected major peaceful demonstration, London’s ‘Je suis Charlie’. On the 7th January more than 1,000 people gathered within three hours in Trafalgar Square, on the 8th we organised a concert which was meant to unite eight musicians but ended up with 150 of the finest classical UK musicians, again, at the same place. On Sunday 11th more than 4,000 people came to Trafalgar Square and on our social page, we gained many photos and comments and Messieurs Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson visited Trafalgar Square as well as Madame Bernman, the French ambassador in the UK.
What does Charlie Hebdo represent?
I would not go so far. French society has always been recognised, hated and loved for its freedom of speech. This part of any democracy’s foundation has been threatened last month. Charlie Hebdo and its team always worked hard to protect it. Terrorists, who act like this, thankfully are very rare.
The only thing we know is that Charlie decided to publish their ideas, continuing the tradition of joking at everything. Despite that freedom, only 60,000 newspapers were published each week and there were rumours saying that the company was facing financial difficulties.
A very small readership to be any real threat to whoever organised this attack. Clearly, this attack was planned to deliver some kind of message.
Did it work? It only works if you allow it to work.
What happened then?
Marketing for charities is always fascinating but as we have seen in the past with the Ice bucket challenge, The Teenage Cancer Trust and Stephen Sutton, supporters campaigning on behalf of causes is always more effective; ‘people power’. Driven by passion, personal experience, they are able to move mountains (and be very convincing).
I recognised their feelings when I was in this situation. Those who believe in something want to defend it.
Driven by this passion and the preservation of freedom of speech, I rushed into organising these events.
Organising an event, is to deal with all the unexpected elements. But luckily these ones were very peaceful, uniting people with the same values.
What will happen in the future?
Professionally, I can confirm the theory, demonstrating the power of supporters and the power of a nation defending their beliefs and values. All actions were in response to 7th of January, they were not only condemning the death of twelve or more people but were defending something much more important, – human rights. Defending, protecting and spreading these values of democracy, people also wish to save others like in Nigeria for example.
Some positives learning have come to me in terms of communication. It was a really good unplanned experience. The power of supporters, the use of social channels like Facebook, the power of online word-of-mouth and the credibility of some personalities, reinforcing your communication (like an embassy).
This experience has shown me that people still value some things; they are still touched and are ready to stand up for what they believe. Here’s a little secret for you, the reader: I am even more convinced about and proud to work with and for charities and charitable causes.
As the Article 19 of the Human Rights declaration states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
As you are. And that is the biggest point.
Julie Heyraud ‘Je suis Charlie’More >
Posted 9 March 2015 | No comments
Posted 25 February 2015 | No comments