Building a cohesive marketing campaign means creating a “brand” for that particular campaign. Below are six tips for helping you do just that.
In a previous blog post (Fundraising Campaign: LWR Does It Right), I talked, in part, about the value of producing print and online collaterals with the same look and feel. I referenced a marketing campaign developed by the non-profit organization Lutheran World Relief (LWR). Although LWR was trying to raise money, the strategies they employed in the production of their marketing campaign pieces work in “for-profit” businesses, too. Today I thought I’d point out key elements in the design of their collaterals that can be used to brand any product, service, or marketing campaign. For reference, take a look at the image below:LWR print collaterals
A Little Background
LWR supports numerous projects and programs around the world designed to help those who lack access to water, be it drinking water or water to grow crops and sustain life. The collaterals depicted above were part of a marketing campaign to raise money for such projects. The campaign, called “Fill the Well,” included an effort to build awareness of water-related issues primarily within their church communities, leading to an initial call to action on March 22, World Water Day. (They also pitched others in their database that day; however, their efforts there lay in giving people just enough information to donate; they did not directly employ their print collaterals across this secondary tier of potential givers.)
Key Branding Elements
Below is a list of six key elements LWR used to brand their campaign:
- Perhaps most notable is the use of a stylized graphic “wave” and a title that had to do with water. They positioned it at the top of their collaterals and, in the brochure, also added it the lower half of the back page. When you build your collaterals, look for relevancy. Develop a campaign slogan that captures the essence of what you’re trying to achieve. Notice that LWR’s wave graphic was easily scalable. Their slogan was catchy – short, snappy (note the use of alliteration) – and designed to offer a simple solution to a medusa-like global issue.
- LWR employed their standard logo, which identifies their corporate brand. Note its size and the use of black or white print in place of their standard green. When you build your logo, decide what colors you will allow yourself to use and stick to them. While each of your marketing campaigns may look entirely different from one another, a consistent logo should be the one thread that runs through them all. That consistency will support your corporate brand.
- Select a few key images to use within your pieces. LWR uses the photo of a boy with a bucket on his head. The assumption is that it’s a bucket of water. You do not have to stick to a single image, but choose one or two to be your primary focus across all your campaign collaterals. In addition, stay with a single style of image. Remember, that image is what your customers will see first. Make sure it is engaging and relevant not only to the topic but to your consumer.
- Develop a single design style. Make it look as if one person designed the entire line of collaterals. While general wisdom dictates that the design should be simple with lots of white space, that really depends on the product and, I believe, your audience. Think about your product and who you’re selling TO (if you’ll pardon the bad grammar). A look that is sick, radical, or awesome – terms of today’s younger generation – employing a busy, grunge-like design, may just be the ticket. Design your campaign style around the lifestyle of your audience. If your audience is broad, segment them and build appropriate collaterals whenever time and budget permit. Otherwise, aim for your largest targeted audience.
- Develop a single message that works across multiple audiences and media. In the example above, there was a general brochure and FAQs sheet, no doubt made available in many places on various church campuses (and on various web sites), a bulletin insert for worship services (thoughtfully provided in both color and black and white), a devotional, commonly used in conjunction with personal prayer, and a piece designed to help support a children’s sermon on the topic. The pieces were targeted to media specifically relevant to their audiences.
- In case you thought the overall look of this campaign was designed from scratch, let me disabuse you of that notion. I looked around the LWR site and found that, if you clicked on their Resources tab, there was another brochure on water. Delving into it, I discovered that it was pretty much the same as the campaign brochure. The front and back pages had been modified, and a couple of photos had been moved around. It was obvious that the look and feel of the campaign grew out of a decision to use this piece. It is a trick that you may be able to employ, too.
Whether you decide to go with an outside ad agency or design house, do some of the work yourself and hire a freelancer to do what you can’t, or you do the entire campaign in-house, you will save a bundle if you make key decisions about your campaign “brand” before you plunge into the development of the collaterals without this advance planning. “Re-dos” can be expensive even if you haven’t sent anything to press yet. There’s the cost of the time your people spend on the campaign (be they in-house or vendors) and, sometimes, rush charges for printing that has to be done on a very short turn around. Doing the planning and getting the buy-ins you need from upper management first may help minimize these costs.
Your brand is your reputation, the perception of others about your company and what it offers. While that reputation is based on the product or service itself, awareness and enticement of that product is largely the responsibility of your marketing communications effort. It is often what the potential customer sees first. It is important that you deliver a consistent message that’s on target in both its look and feel. Your job is to create product expectation, often to different audiences in different markets via different media. Be sure it all hangs together across all these platforms.