Research and Positioning
Brand Awareness Ad Campaign
Digital Marketing Plan
Logo, Colors and Principal Typography
Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Google Display Ads
This Is My City
Our hearts yearn for more moments of nature connection. The soil that grounds us, fragrant and rich. We search for fresh sky unfettered by man-made silhouettes. Our souls seek a place where other creatures live and roam, where we feel alive and free. This is where nature becomes our community. Where we rediscover a part of our DNA that remembers the wild. A hundred paces back in history. A thousand steps back in time. And our hope for the future.
America’s Wildlife Refuges are vast and magnificent. 568 of them, traversing 95 million land acres across 50 states. 101 Refuges give unparalleled access to an outdoor escape only 25 miles from an urban area. No matter where you are, you are nearby nature. They are a network of abundance protecting 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species, and more than 1,000 species of fish. 380 of these are threatened or endangered.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approached the Bureau of Small Projects to ReBrand their National Wildlife Refuge System so that it would be memorable, instantly recognizable and be able to compete with the National Park System for the public’s attention. The result is the “This Is My City” campaign, a reminder for those who love the wilderness, that even in our most densely populated cities, America’s Wildlife Refuges can be found right in their back yard.
The very best way to create a brand that performs is to learn about our client’s competitors. Learn what they do well and what they do poorly. The reason we need to know what they do well is that our client needs to be at least as good as they are. And our client needs to know what they do poorly because that represents opportunity.
If there’s anything we learned from the AWR landscape analysis it’s that everyone looks the same. And we get it, you’ve all got spaces, animals and a smattering of people. But our job is to get to the core of your different and better. We believe it’s absolutely vital to have a visual differentiator. Whether it’s through photographic treatment, consistent template frames, use of logo, formatting or color, we need the elements that become recognizable as American’s Wildlife Refuges.
Value Proposition, Strategy and Messaging
Once we’ve learned about our client’s competitors, we need to articulate what it is that our client does differently and better than the folks we just learned about.
What is different and better about America’s Wildlife Refuges is that these places live on the outskirts of our lives. Their wildlife thrive just beyond the edges of our homes. Around the corners and cul-de-sacs, just past the highways and across the bridges. Some of these spaces just beyond our own backyards. This is where nature becomes our community. Where we rediscover a part of our DNA that remembers the wild. A hundred paces back in history. A thousand steps back in time. And our hope for the future.
Logo and Brand Manual
Once we defined the strategy, we began the logo design process by creating three to five different families of logos and marks for America’s Wildlife Refuges ranging from conservative to a little bit “out there”. Conservative does not mean dull and boring though. In the kickoff meeting we discussed the things that America’s Wildlife Refuges team was looking for in a logo and made our recommendations. Everyone walked away with some idea of what the logo was going to look like. This is the conservative one. Then we do a range in between.
Our process breaks down each step into specific, measurable “sprints.” Sprints consist of 3 big meetings and 3 phases: 1) A kickoff where the project requirements are discussed 2) The initial exploration where multiple options are presented, and the direction is narrowed and refined and 3) A polish pass where the finishing touches are discussed and applied.
We don’t work like other agencies, we are advisors not labor, we massively simplify the branding process, not only because small to midsized businesses, startups and nonprofits typically can’t afford the endless mockups, countless revisions and infinite strategy sessions of those huge companies, but mainly, because it makes the branding better.
The chosen direction was an icon based on a cairn, a man-made stack of stones often raised by hikers to mark the summits of mountains or used as trail markers. The building of cairns for various purposes goes back into prehistory and are found all over the world, ranging in size from small rock sculptures to substantial man-made hills of stone. Indigenous cultures of North America built these carefully constructed stone sculptures to serve as landmarks and directional markers. The oldest of these iconic structures pre-date contact with Europeans.
For these reasons we felt it was a natural choice to be the symbol of America’s Wildlife Refuges.
Homepage Design and Brand Collateral
This is where it all comes together. Quality design needs to be a part of every one of America’s Wildlife Refuges’ marketing materials. The website, deck, brochures, stationery, content posted to social networks, emails, etc. all need to be designed for maximum aesthetic appeal and strategic impact. The Value Proposition is our guide.
We like to start with the website because it’s the first point of contact for an organization’s audience and we want everything we create to be useful. Before people donate or support America’s Wildlife Refuges they will probably visit the website. Contrary to the adage, people DO judge a book by its cover. Since the homepage is the most critical page of a website – where in milliseconds visitors decide if they will stay or if they will go – we like to focus on that first.
The Awareness Campaign
Built upon everything above, these are the actual blueprints for America’s Wildlife Refuge’s audience facing messaging, the nuts and bolts of what they will do to achieve their goals. All of America’s Wildlife Refuges’ messaging reinforces the idea that America’s Wildlife Refuges are the Gateway To Nature – where our lands, waterways, wildlife and people thrive. They are our connection to nature.
We speak to our 2.5 % of passionate core supporters and task them to lead the way. And then we engage our larger 13.5% early adopter audience of Sustainability Enthusiasts. We also segment our audience into interest groups and target these groups directly through micro-campaigns. Each interest group is presented with a different “why” that connects with them emotionally at a place where they’re already engaged (think Photographer=Wildlife Photography).