IBA – Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (Puerto Rican Neighbors come to Action) is a non-profit organization with an incredible array of programs in education, arts, and affordable housing, catering mostly to the Boston Latino community. They have a broad target audience in their communications, not only do they needed to appeal to their participants who vary across all age groups, but also to their donors, who are culturally diverse. Thus, in our marketing efforts we needed to think about a local English speaking audience, first generation immigrants, Hispanic Americans with strong cultural roots, and social justice advocates with the organization’s interests.
After being around for 45 years, they decided it was time to unify their brand, so that it had a clear and concise message of all that they stand for, their relaunch had to be done in a way that unified all of their different assets into a single story that would capture their intermingling programs. The truth is that they had been around for all this time, but their brand awareness left much to be desired. And, they needed results: more donations.
After a brand overhaul in which we brought together all their elements into one cohesive identity, we decided to announce their re-launch with a press conference, but not your typical one.
The launch date was January 16th, 2015. We wanted to build expectation so we kept everything under wraps and started releasing little bits of information on what was going on. Starting in November until the launch date we sent out a series of teasers by email to IBA’s subscribers and the media. Then we ran several Facebook ads advertising the launch of their “products” with count downs and polls that asked the audience what they thought we were launching. The response was immediate, IBA was flooded with emails and phone calls asking what these products were, and why nobody had known about this.
The products we were talking about were the services IBA already offered conceptualized as metaphors. We wanted to give IBA’s services a tangible meaning, something that could translate across cultures so that participants, spectators, and potential donors could relate. That is why we presented them as packaged “products” with metaphorical names that explained their essence. Their After School and Summer Learning Program, a service offered to first and second graders to get extra help with their school work, became “Turbo” — the boost they need to get ahead in school. Affordable Housing became “Wonderland,” the Youth Program, a program that helps at-risk youth through arts and education became “Toolkit” — giving young people the tools they’ll require for the rest of their lives. The College and Workforce Program, a continuing education program to help adults obtain their GEDs, college degrees, and find employment was called “Superpowers”— so that individuals can become the heroes they were always meant to be. Their Bilingual Preschool, which prepares immigrant children for the school system in the U.S, was called “Wings”— giving children the skills to fly off to kindergarten and succeed in the school system, and the Arts Program which focuses on giving opportunities to Latino artists became “Butterflies”— to signify the feeling artists get when given their first chance to exhibit their work. For each of the products we designed a physical package, adding to the overall concept of showing the audience something that really exists, something they can touch.
For the presentation itself we built a poetic narrative to go along with a grand product launch. One of the coordinators from the youth program, a talented actor, played the part as the presenter of these “products.” We needed to drive the point home, so we invited some participants who have benefited from the programs to share their experiences by giving the audience testimonials of how the “products” had impacted their lives. The presentation was emotive and effective, but most importantly it was real, it showed the true power and mission of the organization.
But, a press conference was not enough. We planned a celebration following the presentation with key elements that supported what IBA is and wanted to be. We invited a Puerto Rican band that plays Bomba and Plena, a folkloric Puerto Rican dance, and asked them to compose a song in both English and Spanish based on IBA’s mission. In the middle of their performance the band stopped and asked attendees to take a look at the screens where we projected the lyrics and asked everyone to sing along. In addition, we used this evening as an opportunity to expand our social media engagement with a live tweeting session on the projector giving our numbers an impressive boost. We developed branded materials such as bags and maracas (an instrument used when playing bomba) so that guests could take a piece of IBA’s culture with them. At the beginning of the event, we had given everyone a piece of an interactive puzzle of a historical mural that signifies the organization’s past and progression, then throughout the evening we asked everyone to join in and complete the puzzle. After the ceremony, attendees could keep their puzzle pieces for a donation. The event was a success, bringing in hundreds of people, many of which were not familiar with the organization before, out for a delightful night during a cold and snowy January.
Over the first week of the launch campaign we were able to triple the visits to their website and we acquired 9 times more fans than the organization’s weekly average on Facebook. Just during the night of the launch we were able to increase their Twitter followers 25 times the usual average. During the month of promotions leading to the re-launch their twitter mentions were boosted by 363.6%.
Also, through our marketing efforts, we were able to garner 300 people, during a record breaking Boston winter. Even though there was no entrance fee, attendees chose to donate towards their ticket in support of the organization and their mission, which came up to a total of $500.00, not counting puzzle donations.
Overtime all of the brand positioning we put to work during the re-launch campaign has meant an incredible increase in engagement and audience interaction across all platforms. Facebook has gained almost 3,000 new fans, Twitter now has 730 followers which means a 43% increase over the last six months. Visits to the website have multiplied, starting with 2000 visits in January to almost 8,000 visits in July.
Overall brand awareness has been increased translating into more audience interactions, connections, and donations at large.