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LAUREN SMITH: TIE CASE STUDY January 2017


INTRODUCTION


I’M LAUREN. I work as an advertising account manager at Wieden + Kennedy NY. And I can honestly say I love my job. At the same time, after over six years in the biz, I honestly needed a break.

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“Remember. It’s just advertising. We’re not curing cancer.” While you would think this quote (uttered at least once a week on my team) would keep me from taking my job too seriously, in actuality, it left me feeling like my job, what I wake up to do every. single. day. is not all that meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Not saving any lives over here in advertising world.

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This is the story of how I came to realize the skills I’ve spent years cultivating

DO MATTER. In fact, they can matter a great deal and actually be used to

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.


IT ALL STARTED WHEN I LEARNED THAT WKNY PARTNERS WITH

THE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE (TIE) AN ORGANIZATION WITH A MISSION: To develop the leaders of tomorrow, to shape the future of the communications industry and to provide people and companies with an opportunity to feel proud of their profession and the skills they have worked so hard to develop.

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THE OPPORTUNITY WAS PERFECT. I applied immediately.


PRE-DEPARTURE


MY ASSIGNMENT After applying and being selected for TIE, I was given a long list of projects to choose from. I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Africa, but beyond that, had no particular criteria. 
 Once I saw the description for Marine Megafauna Foundation in Tofo Beach, Mozambique, I couldn’t imagine working with any other organization. Even though I knew nothing about marine conservation, the work MMF does to save threatened marine life from extinction using a research and community-based approach was inspiring. There was no turning back. 9


THE BUILD UP Once I selected MMF, I still had five months before I would travel the 8,000 miles from NYC to Mozambique. In addition to staying busy with my day-to-day job, I spent that time: •

• •

Completing TIE’s pre-departure training activities (non-profit 101, leadership coaching, etc.) Taking Portuguese lessons (yes, they speak Portuguese in Mozambique) Finishing my Open Water diving certification


ONBOARDING


ARRIVAL When I finally arrived in Mozambique on October 15, 2016, I was greeted by 15 other volunteers. Most had quit their jobs to volunteer with MMF for FOUR to SIX MONTHS. I only had FOUR WEEKS. But what I lacked in time, I made up for in resources. Beyond the inspiring volunteers by my side, I had a team back at WKNY and a support system through TIE.

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THE KEY PLAYERS Leading up to and during my time with MMF, Josh was my primary point of contact and we worked closely together while I was in Tofo. The co-founders of the organization, Andrea and Simon, are both passionate research scientists and the leading experts in their fields. Their involvement in the process at the right moments would be critical to ensuring our communication plans aligned with their inspired vision for the future of MMF.

Joshua Axford MMF COO

Andrea Marshall MMF Co-Founder

Simon Pierce MMF Co-Founder 13


WHAT I KNEW ABOUT MMF When I arrived in Mozambique, I knew Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) was a non-profit, originally developed to research, protect and conserve populations of threatened marine species along the eastern coast of Africa. I also knew that over the last several years, MMF had grown exponentially and had projects spanning six continents.


A TURNING POINT Once I was on the ground, however, I realized I had joined MMF at a critical point - they had just formalized the organization’s growth plan for the next 15 years, which would bring big changes, and even bigger opportunities.

TO: BLUE WHALE VISION

FROM •

Local

Global

Funded on a project basis

Long-term, sustainable funding

One HQ in Mozambique

Three HQs covering three key regions

Expeditions in 11 countries in 2015

Four major fundraising offices

Unaligned mission, vision and strategy across operations

Aligned mission, vision and strategy across operations

Phase 3

Phase 1 Phase 2

Fundraising Office Regional HQ Location of Global HQ TBD; small regional / research offices not shown on map

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GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS


MMF’s initial goal for my assignment was simply stated:

ATTRACT HIGH NET-WORTH DONORS.


BUT WAS NOT WITHOUT CHALLENGES… LACK OF FOUNDATIONAL ELEMENTS

MULTIPLE AUDIENCES

The impressive 15-year operational In the advertising world, we’re plan & vision were complete, but there generally used to honing in on one weren’t any boilerplate assets to defined primary audience. introduce MMF to new donors I had to adapt to the fact that a nonBasic brand guidelines were in place profit’s audience can be much broader but the brand’s purpose - it’s role both and ultimately, any messaging would internally and externally - had not yet need to be flexible enough to appeal been defined to high net-worth donors, foundations, and the general public A much-needed website re-design was in-progress, but incomplete

TIME VS PROCESS The end of the tax year is a key time for donations. My placement ran October 15 - November 17, leaving little time to finalize assets. Given the tight timeline, there was a lot of pressure to jump ahead and complete things before the foundational elements were shored up. Possibly my biggest challenge was to provide guidance on what assets we could get ahead on versus what would take us one step forward, two steps back. 18


During my first week, Josh and I agreed on the next steps to tackle these challenges:

1. CLARIFY THE BRAND’S ROLE 2. ALIGN ON A CREATIVE BRIEF 3. CREATIVE DEV & PRODUCTION


1. CLARIFY THE BRAND’S ROLE


IN ORDER TO CREATE CLEAR COMMUNICATIONS, WE NEEDED TO CONNECT: MMF AS AN ORGANIZATION VISION

A world where marine life and humans thrive together.

MISSION

Save threatened marine life using pioneering research, education and sustainable

STRATEGY

Blue Whale Vision

MMF AS A BRAND

conservation solutions.

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THE TEAM ALREADY HAD A GOOD START DEFINING BRAND GUIDELINES, BUT WE WERE MISSING ONE KEY PIECE WHO WE ARE AS A BRAND BRAND PURPOSE

?

TONE

Open, Passionate, Authentic, Adventurous

IDENTITY (LOOK & FEEL)

Consistent use of color palette, fonts, logos as defined in the brand guidelines

AUDIENCE

Foundations, High-Net Worth Individuals, Corporate Partners, General Public

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A BRAND PURPOSE A UNIVERSAL TRUTH & THE BRAND’S NORTH STAR

MMF Vision, Mission, Strategy

DONORS, SUPPORTERS, PARTNERS, VOLUNTEERS/STAFF Cares, Desires, Motivations

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UNITED FOR THE FUTURE OF MARINE LIFE


BRAND FRAMEWORK With so many new pieces of information flowing into the organization, we put together a brand framework to help everyone understand how it all fit together. ORGANIZATION VISION

A world where marine life and humans thrive together.

ORGANIZATION MISSION

Save threatened marine life using pioneering research, education and sustainable conservation solutions.

ORGANIZATIONAL PILLARS

Research

Educate

Influence

Conserve

BRAND PURPOSE

United for the future of marine life.

BRAND EXPRESSION (TAGLINE)

Saving ocean giants from extinction.

TARGET AUDIENCE

Foundations, High-Net Worth Individuals, Corporate Partners, General Public

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2. ALIGN ON A CREATIVE BRIEF


INITIAL QUESTIONS When I sat down to write the creative brief, I knew the desired deliverables: • A written manifesto • A short manifesto video • Both of which would be flowed into an updated website (already in progress). But I kept stumbling over trying to connect these deliverables to the goal of attracting high-net worth donors. While I fully agreed these assets were necessary, in my mind, they needed to serve a much broader goal of introducing potential donors to MMF and creating positive perception. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but remembering I was working with data-minded individuals, I knew we ran the risk of our efforts appearing unsuccessful if we weren’t measuring against the right goal. 27


NOT SO FAST‌ It wasn’t as simple as just changing the words on the page. The team was firmly set that we needed to reach high-net worth donors in order to secure more sustainable funding to bring the new vision to life. I had to do a lot of re-assuring and convincing that their instincts were right about the deliverables but these were only step one in attracting any kind of donor - not the highly tailored materials their most generous private donors would require.


TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH As I initially tried to explain this, I could tell it was not going over well. I had to work quickly to find a way to show that I wasn’t losing sight of the overall goal, but there was some intermediate work that needed to be done first. So I went back to basics and created a Donor Journey Funnel to demonstrate to the team there was room for everything they wanted to communicate, but that we needed to do it at the right time and in the right places.

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FOUNDATIONS & HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS

PUBLIC

Stranger

Targeted, proactive outreach by philanthropy fundraising manager

Leverage Social Media, PR (Press Releases, BBC, Nat Geo), PPC, MMF Talks to draw new people in

ATTRACT

AWARENESS Visitor

Information gathering - fundraising manager shares relevant supporting materials Secondary - online presence

TER

S

Information gathering - website, newsletter sign-up, follow on social media

MM

FP RO

MO

CONNECT Lead

ENGAGE

Follow-up conversations (phone calls/in-person); relevant program updates

Personalized re-targeting with clear call-to-action*

Donor

Ongoing relationship management

D O N EVALUATION O R

Prompt social media share, thank you email, gift impact updates, up-sell to regular gifts

SUPPORT

J O U R N E Y

INSPIRE

Advocate

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FOUNDATIONS & HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS

WHERE WE ARE

PUBLIC

Stranger

Targeted, proactive outreach by philanthropy fundraising manager

Leverage Social Media, PR (Press Releases, BBC, Nat Geo), PPC, MMF Talks to draw new people in

ATTRACT

AWARENESS Visitor

Information gathering - fundraising manager shares relevant supporting materials Secondary - online presence

TER

S

Information gathering - website, newsletter sign-up, follow on social media

MM

FP RO

MO

CONNECT Lead

ENGAGE

Follow-up conversations (phone calls/in-person); relevant program updates

Personalized re-targeting with clear call-to-action*

Donor

Ongoing relationship management

D O N EVALUATION O R

Prompt social media share, thank you email, gift impact updates, up-sell to regular gifts

SUPPORT

J O U R N E Y

INSPIRE

Advocate

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This was the light-bulb moment and we were able to agree on a revised goal:

Create awareness and positive perception of MMF as a global non-profit organization that is developing long-lasting conservation solutions backed by science.


3. CREATIVE DEV & PRODUCTION


STRATEGIC MANIFESTO Taking all the pieces the team had already developed when outlining the organization’s 15year plan, I took on adapting that work into an inspiring, public-facing vision for the future. By the time my four weeks came to an end, the copy had been approved by all internal stakeholders and we had selected & onboarded a design partner to bring it to life in a 16-page booklet and made plans for it to appear on the new website. The design (WIP shown at right) is in the final polishing stage now and is expected to be finished by the end of this month.


MANIFESTO VIDEO + UPDATED WEBSITE VIDEO: Based on the creative brief, we briefed the videographer volunteer to create a short manifesto video (under 2 minutes). By the time I left Mozambique, we had a working script and were in the process of sourcing footage to put together a rough cut. WEBSITE: The updated website was already in progress before I arrived. Once on site, I learned that power & Internet outages were hindering progress, so I was able to help the team find a development partner based in the U.S. to move things forward. Work on the website is still ongoing, but the team is hopeful they’ll have a working version of the site live in the next few weeks.

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BUSINESS ON THE BEACH MMF is fortunate to have a wide network of past and current volunteers who serve as amazing advocates for the organization. In my last week with MMF, I had the opportunity to update the volunteers and sta in Tofo on what we had been working on to make sure everyone had a clear understanding of the brand and how to introduce people to the organization, ensuring our biggest advocates were prepared to spread the word.

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FINAL THOUGHTS


While on TIE, I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of, did things I never thought I would do, and met incredible people. As I prepared to go back to my job in advertising, I found myself feeling a little bitter about working in the private sector after experiencing a new kind of fulfillment while working with MMF. But then, Philippa, the Managing Director of TIE, uttered a phrase I often find myself repeating. Words that remind me why TIE is such an important experience. And why going back to the private sector after TIE is the most important part of it all.

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“IF EVERYONE WHO EXPERIENCES TIE LEAVES THE PRIVATE SECTOR, THE PRIVATE SECTOR WILL NEVER CHANGE.” — Philippa White, Managing Director, TIE


GET INVOLVED If you’re not running to apply for TIE yet, I’ll leave you with a few more reasons to consider getting involved: - Visit a part of the world and immerse yourself in a culture you may not otherwise get to experience - Challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of - Gain leadership skills and get exposure different ways of working/thinking - Change how you view working in the private sector and the responsibility it carries (think: Corporate Social Responsibility) - Flights, housing and a small food stipend are included & you still get PAID while volunteering


OBRIGADA

Check out my blog: thelaurensmithworld.wordpress.com

Profile for The International Exchange

Lauren Smith's TIE Case Study with Marine Megafauna Foundation & Wieden+Kennedy NY  

Lauren spent a month in Tofo, Mozambique, developing materials to introduce MMF to potential donors. More at theinternationalexchange.co.u...

Lauren Smith's TIE Case Study with Marine Megafauna Foundation & Wieden+Kennedy NY  

Lauren spent a month in Tofo, Mozambique, developing materials to introduce MMF to potential donors. More at theinternationalexchange.co.u...

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