PivotPath

PivotPath and the International Republican Institute — Storytelling for Democracy

International Republican Institute

PivotPath partners with the International Republican Institute (IRI) to create compelling visual content in support of the Center for Global Impact’s mission to encourage inclusive politics that are issue-driven and citizen-led. 

About the Client:

The International Republican Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide. IRI’s workshops and programs encourage the growth of democracy, help democracies become more inclusive, and share best practices from flourishing democratic systems. 

The IRI Center for Global Impact researches the state of democratic politics, ensuring that IRI efforts are evidence-based. The Center offers programmes that build capacity among democratic advocates and publishes reports that inform policymakers and activists on best practices.

The Solution:

PivotPath will ensure the Center for Global Impact has the visual communication and messaging tools it needs to engage policymakers, activists, and the public at large, wherever the work of building (or re-building) democracy is being done. 

 

Core tasks will be informative graphic design and compelling visual storytelling. The core strategy will focus on cultivating a narrative of possibility and momentum that builds on IRI’s nearly forty-year history of promoting democracy and a strong existing brand. PivotPath will draw on its experiences with (re)building democracy, such as the European Union’s governance programming in Sierra Leone and the rollout of a Campaign Finance Board in Suffolk County, New York.

PivotPath voted BEST OF GWINNETT 2021





The results are in, and it’s official: PivotPath has been voted Best of Gwinnett 2021 in the Marketing Firms category! Our team appreciates everyone who voted, and we look forward to another great year of providing marketing and communication services locally and internationally.  It’s an honor to be recognized by the people we work for and with each day.

The Best of Gwinnett contest is run by Gwinnett Magazine and includes businesses in more than 20 broad categories. Every year, thousands of votes are cast by Gwinnett County residents and consumers to recognize their favorite local businesses. To see more local winners, visit www.guidetogwinnett.com/best.

africanbusiness

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program.




LaunchPad Africa

PivotPath created and spearheaded the development of LaunchPad Africa‘s piloted Business Accelerator program for Freetown, Sierra Leone.

About the Client:

Launchpad Africa is a DC-based non-profit with a mission to support African Entrepreneurs (specifically in Sierra Leone) in launching and sustaining their businesses by equipping and empowering them with the tools and resources necessary to be profitable. The organization envisions a world where the African entrepreneur is successful enough to take the lead on decisions being made regarding Africa’s growth and advancement.

As a new Accelerator program, Launchpad Africa wanted to provide its participants with networking, mentorship, and resource allocation to skyrocket the success of proven business ideas.

The Challenge:

The LaunchPad Africa team had to determine how to structure and launch this program in the most beneficial and relevant manner to individuals living in Sierra Leone.

The Solution:

We developed an intensive 4-month accelerator program with a well-rounded curriculum that would give participants the proper knowledge and skills to equip and navigate the business arena.


africanbusiness

The Results:

Using insights internal and external to LaunchPad Africa, along with our expertise in thought leadership and training, our team successfully designed and developed a 16-module highly customized program curriculum outline and strategy including selected modules and module objectives; provided Launchpad Africa with a detailed agenda of each training; developed TORs for trainers of each module; and developed post-training evaluation and impact assessment

commissioner

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.




Gwinnett County Government – County Commissioners

PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

Summary:

In Summer 2021, PivotPath partnered with the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to raise stakeholder awareness and participation in the community.

The How am I doing? campaign aimed to provide Gwinnett County and County Commissioners with a Strategic Communications Plan for the campaign that will provide relevant information to the public while promoting effective public engagement on county issues.

About the Client: 

Gwinnett County is historically one of America’s fastest-growing counties and now one of the nation’s most diverse. This is the official website of the Gwinnett County Government. The county’s population in 2010 stood at 805,321, up more than 216,000 residents from the 2000 count of 588,448 (source: U.S. Census Bureau decennial population estimates). Gwinnett County’s population is expected to reach one million residents by the year 2022.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the creation of policies within the county, adopting the budget, authorizing expenditures, and approving or disapproving specific actions, such as rezoning private property.

The Challenge:

The biggest challenge the Board of Commissioners faced was bridging the gap between Gwinnett County officials and their residents. If residents are not familiar or aware of the Commissioners in their community or do not particularly trust them, engagement can be a challenge.

The Commissioners also valued stakeholder feedback but needed to collect the insights in an unbiased manner.

commissioner

The Solution:

To provide a trusting relationship between the officials and the residents, PivotPath created a public engagement plan. This plan focused on:

  • Enhancing the perception of the Commissioners and their initiatives by popularizing the Gwinnett County brand; letting the public know what’s planned; why, where, and for whom;
  • Encouraged all stakeholders to be actively interested in Gwinnett County reforms;
  • Reinforced/improved the County Commissioners’ image in Gwinnett and the state.

The Results:

The Gwinnett County Commissioners have a solid, strategic roadmap to successfully and effectively engage and connect with their stakeholders through market research efforts and community buy-in. 

tree planting

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote the #FreetowntheTreetown reforestation campaign.




#FreetowntheTreetown Campaign

In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Summary:

The mission of the #FreetowntheTreetown campaign is to plant and grow one million trees in Freetown, Sierra Leone by December 2022 while educating the general public on ways they can positively contribute towards a healthier and more sustainable community. In partnership with PivotPath, Finor X, Freetown City Council and Greenstand promote its reforestation campaign.

Campaigns to plant millions of trees have become popular urban responses to the current effects of climate change. Although the intended impact attracts millions in donor support each year, many tree planting campaigns have fallen far short of their goals. Organizations champion tree planting efforts as a feel-good, cure-all for global warming in their communities, yet many trees do not survive or deliver these championed benefits.

The Finor X Tree Wallet is the 1st (patent pending) chain of custody digital management for tree planting that shows growth impact over time. Each tree growing in Freetown is tokenized, and users buy tokens for access to the Tree Wallet App. Customers purchase a #FreetownTheTreetown item which allows them to digitally track the impact of their sustainable investment.

PivotPath developed a strategic marketing and communications plan, social media plan, and attractive social graphics to elevate the campaign’s visibility across multiple audiences.

About the Client:

Finor X fuses fashion and technology to combat climate change in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Following the undeniably severe deforestation effects which worsened the aftermath of the country’s 2017 mudslide, environmental advocates have evidence to back their support for this initiative. Also, Freetown, Sierra Leone has never undertaken a campaign of this kind.

Finor X, in partnership with the Freetown City Council and Greenstand, is set on a mission to plant one million trees as a response to the adverse effects of climate change, with the design and sale of the campaign-themed t-shirt.

qr code

FinorX has combined its fashion and technology roots to design the #FreetownTheTreeTown special edition t-shirt. In collaboration with the Freetown City Council, all shirts purchased will directly support the campaign, as one tree will be grown and monitored using a specialized app.

The shirt design includes the Cotton Tree—a historic symbol of Freetown—pictured with a cityscape underneath the tree, the text “Freetown” above the tree, and “The Tree Town” located below the cityscape. Shirt owners can monitor their growing trees, see the location, know the grower and monitor the survival of each tree using the TreeTracker app by scanning the QR code located on the shirt’s tag.

GROW A TREE treetown
GROW A TREE treetown

The Challenges:

There were two main challenges: (1) to create a campaign that would educate the community, engage community-based organizations and strategic partners, and empower Freetowneans to take the reigns of environmental sustainability within their city through reforestation and (2) to increase visibility and communications about the Tree Tracker app’s capabilities through fashion technology.

The Solution:

Our team focused on invoking feelings of community, empowerment, and peace of mind through a marketing and communications plan that encourages conversations on sustainability and incites change. We utilized digital media and video production efforts to help raise awareness about Finor X, the Tree Tracker app, and the fusion of fashion and technology to further connect Finor with its target audience.

The Results:

We provided Finor X with a communications strategy to convey the importance of tree planting in Sierra Leone and improve awareness for all residents, visitors, stakeholders, and partners who engage with the City of Freetown and abroad. The campaign had over 5,000 global impressions and reach. The campaign was also awarded the Bloomberg award in January 2022.

woman campaign

PivotPath partners with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board to develop and promote new program.

Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. 

Summary:

PivotPath is working with the Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) to provide promotion efforts that will increase the visibility and communications of Suffolk County’s Fair Election Campaign Matching Fund program. The program’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower all County residents by amplifying the voice of all residents in county elections by matching small donor contributions with public funds.

About the Client: 

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board (SCCFB) is a nonpartisan, independent county agency empowered and authorized to establish and promulgate all rules, policies, and procedures as it deems necessary for the proper administration of the established Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund.

The SCCFB landmark program empowers everyday citizens to run for city office by providing them with campaign finance support from their community, mitigating limited access to wealthy 

or special interest groups, granting threshold requirements, spending limits, and strictly ensuring that enforced reporting requirements are met.

The Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund aims to create and promote access and opportunity for residents to run for office; empower both grassroots and incumbent candidate participation in Suffolk electoral process; minimize the perceived influence of big money in local politics and increase Suffolk County citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. 

voters
campaign finance

The Challenge:

The Suffolk County Campaign Finance Board is tasked with finding ways to connect with their audiences and inform them on how the program can help them get started on the path of running for County Legislative or Executive.

The organization also aims to increase general interest in voter participation by encouraging residents to get involved with the laws and social change issues within their community.

The Solution:

Our team plans on crafting an intensive marketing campaign that uses communication activities and visibility products of demonstrable impact to increase voter participation and awareness, provide campaign finance information to the public, enable more citizens to run for office, strengthen the role of small contributors, reduce the change of actual or perceived corruption, and restore voter confidence in the electoral process.

The Results:

This project is currently underway, and results will be provided as soon as they are available. 

african american vaccinated

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

Dekalb County Board of Health

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.

It's Up to You!
Language: English

It's Up to You!
Language: French

It's Up to You!
Language: Swahili

It's Up to You!
Language: Arabic

Summary:

PivotPath has partnered with the Dekalb County Board of Health to increase public awareness of the importance of COVID-19 vaccination and ways to prevent COVID-19 infections, and to facilitate community discussions to address barriers and concerns about COVID-19 vaccination to African American County residents, especially those 45-65 of age.

About the Client: 

The Dekalb County Board of Health (DCBOH) is a local government agency in Georgia dedicated to ensuring optimal and equitable medical and health access for all its residents. DCBOH’s programming efforts include various local health initiatives.

Its partnerships with community-based organizations improve access to healthcare, provide analysis of health trends to enhance care, increase public awareness of local health issues, and aim to prevent the spread of disease through education and early detection.

The Challenge:

The Dekalb County Board of Health is facing the challenge of efficiently and simplistically educating the targeted audience (African Americans; aged 45-65) about the COVID-19 and preventive measures that protect the public and mitigate the spread of the virus.

african american vaccinated

The Solution

The City of Clarkston, Georgia (in Dekalb County) is known as one of the most diverse cities in the country. Clarkston is the hub for the state’s refugee community, where over two dozen ethnicities and languages are spoken. To ensure those who may not be fluent in English, or who may not have English as a first language, have access to COVID-19 awareness materials, our team will develop a 2-minute animation video titled “It’s Worth a Shot”.

We will also created a strategic communications plan that will aid us in identifying community partners and digital platforms to effectively disseminate the video within the communities our targeted audiences reside.

climate change efforts

Communication Tactics for Municipalities to Use in Climate Change Efforts

Right now, it’s no secret that climate change is becoming an increasingly crucial situation for municipalities to consider. While it already affects all life on Earth until we combat it, the reality is that so many people are hesitant to even believe in it. Why? Because climate change data can be so hard for people to conceptualize. The spread of misinformation and politics doesn’t help, either.

Another issue that can make it difficult to act on climate change is adapting to the changes made. For example, to lower fossil fuels, the Biden administration aims to make half of all vehicles in the United States electric by 2030. Concurrently, several car manufacturers have greeted climate change efforts by signing the zero-emission by 2040 declaration at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Despite this, though, the U.S. is still running behind on electric vehicles, in large part because government incentives aren’t as generous as they are in other countries.

In a similar scope, governments must adapt their communication tactics to address a diverse audience. However, as diverse as they are, some of the people within that audience might have trouble understanding the point, or they might not even believe in climate change at all. Here are four communication tactics for municipalities to include in climate change efforts.

Communication Tactics for Municipalities to Use in Climate Change Efforts

1. Use Credible Sources

Now more than ever, in a world where “fake news” is a frequently trending topic, people must be vigilant in discerning fact from fiction. This is particularly true in the U.S., where climate change has become so politicized and divisive that governments have gone so far as to remove climate change efforts and regulations that were already in place.

To help combat the issue of both misinformation and climate change, governments must use credible sources, such as climate change experts and scientists, in their communications strategy. These experts can communicate the complexities of climate change in more simple and/or metaphorical terms to be more relatable to your audience. Being relatable to your audience will help them to understand, and getting them to understand will enable or even inspire them to become more involved in their communities and climate change efforts.

Besides helping your audience understand, being relatable is important to storytelling, another avenue municipalities should take in their climate change communications.

2. Highlight Uplifting, Personal Stories

According to a 2020 survey from Digital Third Coast, more than 65 percent of people surveyed have watched more news than usual and are either anxious or overwhelmed by it. To get residents on the same page, governments should be careful to communicate climate change in a personal, positive light. There’s a scientific reason why people like to hear stories that resonate with them. It increases the release of oxytocin, a hormone that makes people feel good.

It’s important to pay attention to mental health in the world of marketing. You want people to feel good about the future of climate change instead of hopelessness. The point of climate change efforts is to get people to act. If municipalities want their residents to care about climate change, they need to inspire them with stories they can connect with, including ones that will inspire their future.

Connecting a climate change message to your community’s cultural values and beliefs is another strategy governments can use to make climate change relatable. For example, say it’s the Superbowl, an annual sports event watched nationally by millions of Americans. The U.S. Government or its municipalities could fund a climate change commercial featuring people recycling during the big game to encourage people to act. The great appeal of commercials is their visuals, another vital tactic to consider in climate change communications.

3. Visualize Climate Change

Because climate change is so visual, residents would benefit greatly from graphics, infographics, videos, commercials, and other visuals to highlight climate change stories and data.

Governments should use Instagram, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn as marketing tools to spread these visuals. Social media is where many residents go to find engaging and informational content. If your municipality isn’t utilizing it in your communications strategy, you should be. It can help your municipality to communicate complex information and ideas related to climate change. More importantly, it can also encourage residents to act on it.

4. Think Globally; Act Locally

Thinking globally means thinking about how people can slow, stop, or reverse climate change. Acting locally means finding ways to make a difference with climate change in your community. Teaming up with other organizations to act on climate change is another route municipalities may take to encourage efforts. An example of this is Gwinnett County, Georgia. Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, a nonprofit organization aiming to make Gwinnett County more environmentally friendly, and Gwinnett County Solid Waste Management teamed up on November 6th for America Recycles Day to collect electronics, latex and oil paint, tires, and other hard-to-recycle items.

Climate change will only worsen if we don’t work together to solve it. It’s a global issue that requires local and national action. Municipalities should think about how they may encourage residents to act on climate change issues within their communities. Taking simple steps, such as encouraging residents to recycle, save water, or support environmental groups will help make a difference.

Do you need help considering your climate change communications strategy? Our creatives at PivotPath have the tools to help. Contact us for a FREE strategy session.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

‘When in Rome, live as the Romans do; when elsewhere, live as they live elsewhere.’

The idea of conformity might be appealing to some, but it’s not that simple in the diverse, multicultural environment.

Part of the wonders of effective communication is maintaining a diverse audience. Even so, it’s essential to understand and confront our own biases, experiences, and values that shape the lens through which we view our reality. With the aid of cultural competency, you will be able to communicate to your multi-cultured audience with ease.

Cultural Competency: Tips and Tricks on Communicating a Shared Message to a Multi-Cultured Audience

What is Cultural Competency, and Why is it Important?

According to the American Psychological Association, cultural competency allows us to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and most importantly, to interact with people from cultures or belief systems that differ from our own—and is perhaps the most helpful tool in business and marketing that you can have at your disposal. Having been a key aspect of psychological thinking and in practice for some 50 years, it’s even become listed as one of psychology’s core competencies. In most aspects of life, but especially with marketing and politics, cultural competence in communication could be comparable to the “hitch” that holds you and your target audience together.

Most importantly, when you have an audience of several different cultural backgrounds, handling your cultural competency can differentiate between a well-communicated message and a poorly-communicated one. To have a good sense of multicultural competence, it’s important to have the following competencies:

  • Basic knowledge of your own culture, worldview, and values.
  • A willingness to learn about the cultural practices, worldviews, and values of others.
  • A positive attitude toward cultural differences and a readiness to accept and respect said differences.

In a globalized, increasingly diverse world, with diverse people—refugees, migrants, immigrants, citizens, and so on—anyone can be your audience, and you can gain valuable insight in interacting with a worldly audience. But, how do you communicate with everyone across the board in a leveled, realistic way?

1. Focus on Structure

When it comes to structuring—through presentations, social media, videos, blog posts, or whichever medium you choose—we recommend that you ensure that the message of your medium is understandable and easy to digest. Make it easy for your audience to understand and follow along. Logically structured messages also make it easier for you to relay your message.

When communicating your message, start with the most crucial aspect of it first. Background and detail aren’t as necessary as you would think. Rather than building up to it, order your thoughts by decreasing importance. Readers will have an easier time parsing your message, and you won’t have to waste time to deliver the point. Use bullet points to your advantage whenever there are three or more points you want to make. Use bold print sparingly: it draws your readers’ attention, but too much of it renders the attention moot. Be sure that the bold text is self-contained so that your readers can find it easily.

A consistent, coherent, and light format—consistent fonts, font sizes, spacing, and numbering—keeps the message’s readers’ attention. If you consider capitalizing words or sentences to get your reader’s attention, don’t. Writing in all uppercase hurts more than it helps as it is obnoxious, and your message will be remembered for the wrong reason.

2. Leave the Idioms Out

In marketing, humor and idioms can help get your message across, primarily effective if you and your audience share the same culture, humor, and language. However, if your audience shares varying cultures, leaving the humor out of the picture is most advisable. What is funny in one culture may prove to be confusing, or even offensive, in another, and you don’t want to risk a misfire. 

Avoid jargon and fancy words to help save the reader time and effort. Otherwise, you risk making your audience stop and think about what’s being said to them, breaking the piece’s flow. Writing shorter sentences is an excellent way to ensure that communication between your brand and your audience is easily digestible. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about them possibly missing the point. Because your audience is multicultural—quite broad, generally speaking—the message has a chance of being lost in translation with long, complex sentences. As such, writing at a 10th-grade level is recommended. This isn’t meant to disparage or insult the readers of your text, but instead, this is to help ensure that the message is received with little margin of error.

3. Research, Research, Research

An essential step in this article, research, allows you to do many things: from defining and understanding your audience and their issues to letting you know how best to get the message across. To connect to your audience, you need to understand why your topic is important to them, and in turn, why their attention is vital to you. Why should they care? Why does your topic matter to them? What motivates your audience as a whole?

However, when it comes to research in the vein of cultural competency, you should give as much attention to your audience’s culture as possible, too. These include linguistic preferences, cognition, ethnocentricity, values, and communication styles. Researching the cross-cultural differences of your target audiences is essential, and, whatever you do, don’t put them into one marketing box. Cultural norms and values influence how people think, act, and feel, and the people who identify with them often share both. Once you gain an understanding, implement these cultural standards and values into your messages. Similar to nonverbal signs and their meanings, we need to know and recognize different cultural tendencies. As an example, some cultures use “she” as their primary preferred pronoun. It could be the opposite in other cultures.

Knowing such intricacies could help you have an advantage over other business marketing firms with a multicultural audience. More importantly, though, research can help keep your multicultural audience and minimize linguistic and cultural fumbles.

4. Ask Questions and Rephrase Comments

While this part is a bit on the shorter side, it is nonetheless important. Checking in with audiences is a good habit to form. Better yet, asking questions and rephrasing comments is particularly useful with a diverse audience, as it could give you a chance to go over your message to anyone who might have missed it. Rephrasing a question also allows your audience to get clarification, and it can also help you gain clarification from your audience.

5. Craft Sensitive, Culturally-Relevant Messages

To ensure that your multicultural audience stays as your audience, you have to respect the people who comprise it. Crafting a campaign that respects and reflects their values and beliefs can be the most effective way to earn your audience’s trust. As such, basing your campaign on stereotypes and assumptions is the quickest way to lose said audience. Furthermore, it can damage your organization’s reputation, credibility, and you can lose your audience’s trust in one fell swoop.

Therefore, there are several things you must consider when crafting your content. If there is a demographic shift in your audience, research it and quickly identify their needs. Rather than merely announcing that you “want” to reach your audience, find out who they are through research, as said in an earlier point. If you want to create dedicated communities, you must develop content specific to those targeting groups. A good example of this is creating an online community that allows an organization to understand consumers’ experiences and hear their stories in their own words and culture. This way, they can trust that your organization reflects their values.

5. Be Prepared for Feedback

An often overlooked aspect of communicating with multicultural communities, preparing for your audience’s feedback helps you just as much as it helps them. Audience feedback allows you to avoid costly mistakes, helping generate goodwill in combination with the earlier points in this article. Whether on social media or paper, through surveys, polls, or focus groups, knowing what your audience is saying about your company is crucial for your results. Are they happy with your interaction? Do you engage with them?

Listen to your audience’s mentions. Host focus groups. Hire native speakers of your target market. You can even partner with a reputable translation service with native linguists. Precise expertise, who are best-equipped, can help you in any of the following. They can impart valuable advice for your product or service. They can also help you implement a cultural sensitivity strategy within your broader marketing objectives.

Multiculturalism, however broad it is, is one of the world’s greatest assets and accomplishments. It can fuel innovation and growth. It can foster friendships, business relationships, and more when people are exposed to different cultures. Here at PivotPath, we think this is incredibly valuable for this ever-changing world.

Do you have a multicultural audience, but you just don’t know how to address them? Are you a non-profit organization or agency looking to branch out to stakeholders and residents alike? Contact PivotPath today for a free consultation!

Keys to Developing an Effective Communications and Visibility Plan for Your Intergovernmental Organization

Communications can either make or break your market, and when you’re working in an intergovernmental organization like the European Union or United Nations, every bit of strategy helps. Marketing communications is worth its weight in gold as it captures the attention of beneficiaries, community-based organizations, and strategic partners alike and informs them of your programming and the excellent work your organization does. Even better, though, robust communication strategies are a surefire way to ensure maximum visibility. This article will go over crucial tactics you need to include within your communications and visibility plan, how strategy can impact your organization, and how to implement it most effectively.

Keys to Developing an Effective Communications and Visibility Plan for Your Intergovernmental Organization

What a Communications Strategy Is and What It Is Not.

Fundamentally, a marketing communications strategy is an effort to reach your target audiences through communication. Your organization could communicate these strategies through a host of methods such as television, radio, social media, games, events, graphics, publications, emails, public speaking, or any other medium that can communicate the message effectively. However, “communications strategy” is a mouthful, which is why many often use a shorthand: Public Relations, or PR, interchangeably.

Now, let us be the first to tell you: public relations and a communications strategy are NOT the same things. Sure, they may be closely related—both serve as forms of communication between an organization and its beneficiaries, investors, and the general public. However, the critical difference is that public relations often imply the relationship between an organization and the larger public. Communication strategies instead focus on promoting an organization’s products or services to its beneficiaries.

When it comes down to it, there are three essential aspects to the strategy: the message, the target, and the medium.

The message is what you want to say.

The target is who you are speaking to.

The medium is what channels you are using, in other words, where your message is to be said.

Each aspect is equally important. A successful communications strategy almost always frames these three elements in a complementary manner. This builds trust in your organization, reaches the right audiences, and achieves a positive ROI.

Key #1: Set Concrete, Clear Goals and Objectives

There’s nothing worse than jumping the gun, and we’re all guilty of doing it in one way or another in communications. As tempting as it may seem, trying to take the bull by the horns without planning is a common yet troubling pitfall. It can often lead to mismanagement down the road, or worse, overwhelm your staff, often leading to the strategy never getting off the ground. With concrete, clear goals and objectives, you mitigate that risk, managing it in smaller, clear milestones.

 

We recommend referring to the SMART system, illustrated by the Coaching Tools Company, to set your communication strategy goals into a viable roadmap.

Key #2: Pinpoint and Prioritize Your Target Audiences

Speaking of jumping the gun, it’s equally as important to identify who your target audience is before you begin. Further, if you want to gain the attention of a different audience, be sure to segment the audience based on common needs or interests, then craft your message specific to that audience.

Perhaps the easiest way to segment your target audience would be to conduct surveys or interviews. Be sure to ask questions about their values, needs, wants, and so on. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions to have an easier time developing your audience:

  • What groups or individuals do you want/need to engage to help you reach your goals?
  • Who would benefit the most from your organization?
  • What actions do you want the audience to take?
  • Who do you generally engage in your programs, projects, and initiatives?
  • What are the challenges that hold back your supporters from contributing, if any?
  • What do your supporters have in common?
  • How do individuals find your organization? What is the easiest method? (e.g., social media, events, word of mouth, etc.)

These surveys are often more important than people realize. They are crucial for creating highly targeted marketing messages that your audience can relate to. Once you have gathered enough data on your target audience and know what they want, you’ll be able to move on to the next step.

Key #3: Craft an Important, Compelling Message

Regardless of who it is, target audiences will have different motivators and barriers that are quite different from one target to the next. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is have a too general message because otherwise, it will fall short. Always try to keep your message clear, concise, personalized, and uncomplicated—because it won’t do any good if your message is buried in jargon.

Often, compelling messages can be quite challenging to form, even if you know the behaviors that drive your target audience. Here are four key elements that must be tailored to each audience:

  • The Key Message – The core takeaway, or message, that you want your audience to know.
  • The Secondary Message(s) – A secondary message is supporting information that helps bolster your key or original point.
  • Proof Points – A proof point is precisely what it sounds like: factual evidence that affirms your earlier messages.
  • Call to Action – Perhaps the most important aspect, a call to action instructs your audience to contact your business.

Key #4: A Little Integrated Strategy Never Hurt Anybody

This is where the communications plan comes in. While an integrated strategy sounds intimidating, that sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. Strategies bring a blend of communication goals, tactics, and methods that you employ to devise the best possible plan that works for your organization. PivotPath can help you with this, as we did for the European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone.

Many frameworks could help brainstorm what approach you want to take in communication, but the most widely-known framework is the PESO model, originally illustrated below by Spin Sucks.

The PESO Model places the highest importance on the following information:

  • P: Paid Media — Promotional efforts such as social media ads, sponsored posts, and native advertising, all of which involve paying for placements on third-party channels. These include native advertising, event sponsorships, paid search such as Google AdWords, etc.
  • E: Earned Media — Buzz generated by the public (e.g., the press, your audience, your communications team, etc.) through traditional public relations, word of mouth, television, influencer marketing/relations, etc.
  • S: Shared Media — Content on social media channels designed to prioritize driven engagement between an organization and its audience. This includes social media content (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and user-generated content like reviews, videos, comments, etc.
  • O: Owned Media — Your organizations’ media—websites, blogs, events, etc.

When developing your tactics, be wary of the 80/20 rule. It states that you should only allot 20 percent of social media content for direct tasks (i.e., donations, event registration, etc.) and allocate the remaining 80 percent for building community through engaging content.

Key #5: Build Up Your Budget

Setting up a budget plan means that your organization must account for financials at all project steps. Being effective and cost-effective is the name of the game. Getting cost-effective press for your business through influencers, journalists, and bloggers with stories of your organization, brand, and products. Be sure to contact people linking similar content or even utilize tools such as Crunchbase or JustReachOut. Building a budget is also a fundamental resource for assessing your plan’s return on investment.

To get building, it helps to consider the following:

  • Does your organization have an existing budget allocated for communications activities?
  • How much will each line item in the tactical portion of your plan cost?
  • If applicable, what are the projected vs. actual costs for previous campaign implementations?

Your budget should serve as a guardrail to help keep your plan on time and track. To avoid frivolous spending, be sure only to allot spending within your budget unless you’re confident that you absolutely need it.

Key #6: Map Out an Actionable Timeline

The final key in any strategy is to map out your activities in a timeline. Believe it or not, timelines are essential in ensuring that you stay on track when transitioning from the planning phase to the implementation phase. Monthly or quarterly timelines apply to these types of marketing strategies, but be sure to keep in mind any significant events and holidays that you want to leverage, as it could be a worthwhile endeavor.

An innovative, well-rounded communications plan can reward your time, patience, and effort and ensure that you launch a successful campaign, program, or service. However, be sure to tailor the steps to achieve the best goals you’re aiming for. Again: this is NOT a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Be sure to take notes if an aspect of the plan does not work out.

Key #7: Monitoring Your Success – Evaluation

Even when your organization has pulled the plan off, it’s just as important to monitor the plan’s effectiveness. Was there a shift in audience or supporters? Were people responding to your community insights? Regardless, marketing is the engine that drives attention and engagement to your brand and values. Marketing measurement tools like Google Analytics, marketing analytics software, and surveys will help you see what works versus what doesn’t in terms of engagement through your marketing efforts.

Are you interested in developing an effective communications plan for your business? Contact PivotPath today to schedule a free consultation to improve your marketing strategy!

gdpr guidelines

Five Big Questions Related to GDPR | What You Need To Know

First things first. We’re not lawyers, and what follows does not constitute legal advice. We have a vested interest in the success of our partnership and want to provide information to collectively aid us through this process.

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Here are five big questions related to GDPR:

  1. What is GDPR?
  2. Does it affect our company or organization?
  3. How does this change the way we collect and store data?
  4. Does this change the way we communicate and market?
  5. How do we get started?

WHAT IS GDPR? The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

(Regulation (EU) 2016/679) is a regulation by which the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union. The European Commission intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). The European Union currently has data protection regulation that determines how personal information can be used by companies, the government, and other organizations. GDPR changes the definition of personal information and how data is obtained and used. Within GDPR, there are 99 articles setting out the rights of individuals to have easier access to the information data companies collect about them. There are also determinations of fines related to non-compliance, and responsibilities for obtaining consent and usage of personal information. This law provides greater transparency, enhanced rights for EU citizens, and increased accountability.

gdpr guidelines

DOES IT AFFECT OUR COMPANY OR ORGANIZATION?

GDPR regulations apply to any company that processes EU consumer data. This is applicable no matter where the company resides or where the servers that collect the data are located. These provisions promote accountability and governance. These measures minimize the risk of breaches and uphold the protection of personal data. Compliance for GDPR does not lay at just the feet of marketers, but in all processes of data storage, collection, and usage. Thus, this will become a boardroom topic if it has not already. Additionally, companies that have “regular and systematic monitoring” of individuals at a large scale or process a lot of sensitive personal data may have to designate a data protection officer (DPO).

 

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE WAY WE COLLECT AND STORE DATA?

LAWFULNESS Not everyone that handles the personal data of individuals is the same. GDPR regulation falls within two main categories: controller and processor. A controller is an entity that decides the purpose and manner in which personal data can be used. This is your role. A processor is a person (or team) that processes data on behalf of the controller; and includes obtaining, recording, adapting, or holding personal data. GDPR requirements are different for each. In addition, the controller is responsible for and must demonstrate compliance with GDPR principles.

Bottom line: for data processing to be lawful under GDPR, companies need to identify a lawful basis for processing personal data. Companies also need to be able to document this.

gdpr guidelines

HOW DOES THIS CHANGE THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE AND MARKET?

Most marketers will understand that GDPR is actually a blessing. It forces us to be responsible and better marketers. It also provides our subscribers with exactly what they want. And that’s the way we all should be marketing. Think of this as a new (albeit required) goal to only communicate with those who want to hear from us. Also, to have all data in order which can only build trust and loyalty with subscribers.

HOW CAN WE GET STARTED?

Having a full understanding of GDPR is important, as it may impact a number of facets of your business practices. The place to start is in education. While there is a myriad of articles and resources on the net, we find the information from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Interested in learning more about how to ensure your communications are GDPR compliant? We are here to help.

End of Year Blues? Here are 6 Tips on Creating your BEST Annual Report

Writing up the required annual report can be the most dispiriting part of the year for nonprofits and community foundations, especially in a year so many were threatened by COVID-19. However, it can also be an opportunity to effectively market your organization’s story by getting visually creative. Here are six tips to craft your best annual report yet.

annual report

1. Work as a Team

John Maxwell states “teamwork makes the dream work.” The same can be said in relation to creating your best annual report. Engaging annual reports are not solely developed by the CEO and your organization’s numbers. Assign tasks to each department head and partake in a planning committee to decide the information your organization will need, such as who will be responsible for assembling the income and expenditure reports. Utilizing your graphic design and content writing teams may help to share the story of your accomplishments and activities.

Graphic designers can:

  • Be creative with the colors of your brand to highlight the past year.
  • Use best design practices.
  • Make infographics, charts, graphs, and other visuals to showcase your brand.
  • Work with photographers to create powerful data visualizations, including photos and videos.

Content writers can:

  • Use the facts and figures to craft the story of the year to tell your story in a relatable way.
  • Interview supporters, employees, and any others who can enhance the accomplishments of your organization.
  • Combat challenges with transparency and prove that your organization has accomplished its mission and has been responsible to its supporters.
  • Use the facts and figures to forecast your company’s fiscal future.

2. Share Your Story

While the basics of an annual report include an introduction, a shareholder’s letter, a business profile, a financial statement, and an auditor’s report, the most important aspect of a good annual report is sharing your organization’s community with the impact of the year that will be told throughout the document.

An annual report should never be boring. To counter that, you don’t want to only report the facts and figures with your shareholder letter and call it a day. Instead, you want to use the facts and figures to showcase the activities, accomplishments, successes, and failures of the year and the years going forward.

Content writers can do this in several ways. They can simply list the activities, accomplishments, successes, and challenges in relation to the mission. To collect additional information, they can interview supporters, donors, and strategic partners, and use those interviews throughout the report in conjunction with the tasks, achievements, progress, and shortcomings listed. In addition, the writers can interview and write personal profiles on supporters/donors, employees, and others who have made an impact on your company, and/or on how they may impact your organization in the future.

Your best annual report:

  • Introduces the audience to your company.
  • Explains what your company has done in the past year.
  • Uses the facts and figures to highlight the accomplishments of your organization from the prior year.
  • Describes how your organization will do what it wants to achieve in the future.

3. Let’s Get Visual

Humans are visual beings—over 90 percent of information processed by the brain is from sight. According to Neuroscience News, even those born without sight use the visual part of their brains when hearing sounds in the dark.

So it is no wonder, then, that in order to create the most engaging annual report you can make, you must consider making it aesthetically pleasing. It should also be visually appealing to positively represent your organization and attract your targeted audience(s). And there are many ways to do that, including a food company that asked its supporters to bake part of their annual report booklet in order to read it.

Two other creative examples include Vrijwilligersacademie Amsterdam, a volunteer foundation in the Netherlands that encouraged their supporters to turn their annual report into origami after reading it, and Sonae, a shopping center company that turned their annual report into playful, rotating gears.

While print is the traditional way to go with annual reports, many organizations these days find that digital reports can be the most cost-effective, creative way to reach more supporters. It is also one of the easiest ways to market to more audiences through email, social media, etc.

This digital report from the Humane Society of the United States in 2019 showcases beautiful animal photography mixed in with articles explaining their accomplishments and interviews from supporters.

Some organizations have found using videos to create their annual reports has been the creative way to go. There are several reasons why video marketing is beneficial.

4. Be Transparent

Being transparent can be important to any part of an organization, but particularly in creating your best annual report. Your organization should not only divulge its activities and accomplishments from the past year, but it should also stress the shortcomings. Many organizations have had to face challenges in the past couple of years due to COVID-19.

An effective example is this digital report from Pathfinder International in 2020, whose impact included how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their organization’s mission and the people they help. Pathfinder International is an organization that supports women in making their own reproductive choices. In their annual report last year, they explained how they moved through the challenges of the pandemic, from health services and contraceptive supply chain issues to nationwide lockdowns.

5. Forecast Your Fiscal Future

An annual report typically goes over the prior year’s financial successes and pitfalls. A good annual report projects the potential for future revenue growth, too.

It’s also important to ask and answer what activities your organization will take on in the future. Don’t make your audience work to find out more about your future course of action.

Your best annual report:

  • Compiles your organization’s plans for the future.
  • Incorporates new programming and services your organization plans to propose.
  • Comprises plans for research and development.
  • Presents information about other opportunities and initiatives for your organization.

Providing a future plan of action gives your supporters an idea of your organization’s direction, which can help with monetary support.

6. Ask for Feedback

Include a feedback or response form. It can be helpful to know how your audience feels about your organization and your annual report. After all, effectively listening to your audience is essential. Feedback or response forms can help your supporters communicate about their opinion or questions they have on your annual report. That way, you can prepare to make an even better annual report in the future.

To keep your audience content, it may even be important to consult with your board members and supporters during the process of creating your annual report. Include them in the design direction. You don’t have to act on everything they say. However, incorporating some of your audience’s wishes will ensure that the final result is met with openness and transparency.

It’s important to keep an eye on your audience and how they respond to your annual report not only for transparency. You also want to get to know them.  Don’t just repeat the same unhelpful information over and over again. For annual reports that are created digitally, find content creation platforms that offer analytics reports. This will allow you to quantitatively measure and enhance your annual report for future use.

If all else fails and you need help finding what your audience wants, ask our team of creatives at PivotPath to help your organization pave the way to your best annual report yet. Contact us for a free consultation today.