Insights — An Uncommon Approach to an Uncommon Campaign

An Uncommon Approach to an Uncommon Campaign

Thought leadership , Client Work , Digital , Research , Video , Creative , Strategy / October 10, 2019
Matt McFadden
Matt McFadden
The Campaign for the Uncommon Good was taking shape long before we ever arrived on campus, but to see it cast into public view — and inch ever-closer to its goal of $275 million — makes it all the more fun to celebrate. It all started when we first stepped on the Seattle University campus in early December 2018, nearly 11 months ago. In the time since, we've conducted market research, developed a creative concept, and launched it into the market with a comprehensive campaign messaging, communication, and marketing strategy.

What We Did

Fundraising campaigns in higher education often take the same shape. And while certain elements of Seattle U's campaign are built on best practices, we, and the team at Seattle U, believed there was an opportunity to evolve and refine messaging and communications through in-depth research.
"On October 1st, we publicly launched our largest comprehensive campaign ever — The Campaign for the Uncommon Good. For nearly a year, we’ve worked with the SimpsonScarborough team to conduct the research, build the strategy, and develop the creative vital to the Campaign’s success. We’re proud to celebrate the launch with our partners at SimpsonScarborough."
- Scott McClellan, Vice President for University Affairs

Quantitative Research

We built quantitative research instruments for multiple potential donor groups. With insights from the Seattle team, we were able to hone in on key themes, messages, and communication channels specific to the target audiences. Audiences surveyed included:

    • Alumni
    • Non-Alumni Donors
    • Faculty and Staff
    • Current Students
    • Parents of Current Students
    • Community and Corporate Leaders

Personas and Core Campaign Messaging

From the data collected in our research, we were able to split the audiences ever further. We took into account how long it had been since they last gave (if ever), their overall level of engagement, initiatives they'd most likely give to, relative size of their gift, and more. Our personas included this vital information as well as targeted messages, preferred communication channels, and an engagement goal — essentially, where do we want them to move to on the scale of "not involved at all" to "making a monetary gift".  
"Getting donors to feel proud or be inspired is a great outcome, but there needs to be a plan to get there. Through data we developed real strategies that create action and engagement. We had confidence that our creative expression in videos, websites, and other marketing materials would deliver results."
- Andrea Kruszka, Director, Accounts & Strategy

Campaign Communications and Content Strategy

Now neck-deep in data, we began building the marketing strategy. Its primary components were a paid media plan utilizing out-of-home placements in targeted neighborhoods throughout Seattle, as well as digital & social. Our media partner, Merlino Media Group, used the research-based personas and combined first-party data to target digital advertising. We coupled that with a content strategy built around the campaign's three most prominent events in the next calendar year. The content strategy included launch and short-form video updates, website stories, social media stewardship, and much more. 
Fundraising Campaign Digital Concepts SUFundraising Campaign Billboard SU
Fundraising Campaign Print Ad SU
The strategy also included a longer-form video profiling students and faculty. This video and the trailer above—produced with our partners at Bowstring Studios—was also broken into shorter segments for use across social media.

Creative Concept

Our creative concept is what we'd consider an evolution, not a revolution, of the Seattle University brand. The concept included new campaign marks, a refined color palette, new iconography, new design elements, print collateral, ad concepts, banner & environmental concepts, and much more.

Fundraising Campaign Concept Placemat SU
Fundraising Campaign Concept Banners SUFundriaing Campaign Flyer SU

Content and Website

Our team designed and developed a microsite, as well as producing its content (copy, photography, and video). The site launched prior to the signature donor recognition event in September and was built to support on-going content production outlined in the content strategy. 
Fundraising Campaign Website Hero SeattleU
Fundraising Campaign Website Progress SU copy
Fundraising Campaign Website Stories SU copy

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