FortZED Lose-A-WattBranding, Outreach Campaign and Marketing Communications
As a national energy conservation and innovation leader, the City of Fort Collins was chosen as a semi-finalist for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. The prize, which is given to communities that demonstrate significant reductions in energy usage through community engagement, is designed to increase the City’s energy efficiency awareness within residential, municipal, corporate and public sectors. To win the prize, the City turned to A-Train to support creative branding, messaging and the implementation of a set of competitively fun ways to engage participation. Thus, the Lose-A-Watt Energy Prize was created, with a goal of doubling community energy savings through the end of 2016.
- Created engaging name, brand, graphics and interactive content such as video and gaming applications to motivate participation
- Created wide-scale, low-cost digital campaign to generate targeted reach and frequency
- Created customer journey map to detail the interactions that users would have with the Lose-A-Watt Energy Prize across all of its available channels over time, showing how the campaign could re-engage participants for key calls to action
- Developed mini awareness campaigns targeting specific energy-saving tips, incentives, and ideas to boost effectiveness of ads in relation to the overall campaign
- Provided comprehensive monthly reports detailing monthly metrics including impressions, click-through-rates, spend, cost per click, conversions, etc
- The project generated significant community awareness, dialogue and conversation both in-person and online through interactive social and public forums
- Implemented highly-effective multi-channel ad campaign that has reached an audience of more than 4.7 million people, generating 46,056 website visits, 14,283 Facebook sessions, 540 Facebook followers, and 498 email subscribers
- Delivered an effective cost per thousand impressions of $1.82 for contextual and retargeting ads
- Based on a survey of Fort Collins Utilities customers, 47.1% of respondents recalled seeing marketing about Lose-a-Watt, with response averages indicating they agree or strongly agree that the Lose-a-Watt marketing was creative/interesting, informative, and memorable
- Energy performance results: Fort Collins ranked 5th out of 50 communities participating in the prize, reducing overall energy use by 5.4 percent - enough to power 9,800 homes for one year
- Final results: Fort Collins placed 2nd nationally - up from 5th - based on how well the practices designed and implemented ranked for innovation and replicability
FortZEDBrand Reinvigoration, Community Visioning Process
FortZED is an innovative initiative of the City of Fort Collins that was created as a part of a unique collaborative of the City and other green energy leaders. The organization takes a “whole systems approach” to move Fort Collins toward a more efficient and sustainable future by: increasing renewable energy production, improving energy efficiency, managing peak energy usage and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
While FortZED had garnered a great amount of exposure when it was originally launched, the initiative’s support and enthusiasm had started to wane and the vision of the organization had become diluted and often misunderstood by both stakeholders and the community at large.
A-Train worked directly with FortZED to conduct research and brand assessments to provide the organization with localized marketing insight, advice, tools, and accountability to empower the FortZED leadership team to reach their marketing goals and implement an effective, community-focused marketing campaign.
- Conduct a series of message and visioning sessions to work with stakeholders and energy leaders to better understand the benefits FortZED and how the community understands and interacts with the brand
- Develop dynamic messaging and determine a marketing plan and community engagement strategy for bringing the brand to the masses
- Redeveloped website and helped FortZED understand how to use digital and social marketing tools for community engagement
- Developed video (https://vimeo.com/119274553) to promote FortZED’s RDSI (Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration) project, which jump started FortZED by testing out a number of technologies that reduce peak energy use and integrate renewable energy, such as solar panels, into our electric energy system
- Through a series of meetings with stakeholders and community energy leaders, the work of A-Train has helped FortZED better solidify the vision of the organization and reinvigorate the FortZED brand
- The branding strategies and tools developed have successfully generated community awareness, dialogue and conversation both in-person and online through social and public forums
- A-Train helped FortZED conceptualize a brand for the Lose-A-Watt community challenge, which is on track to support Fort Collins’ ability to win $5 million
- Through the implementation of the Lose-A-Watt campaign, A-Train has been able to help FortZED generate wide-scale community exposure and generate brand recognition via a highly-effective multi-channel ad effort that has reached an audience of more than 4.7 million people over a span of three months
- Through the new website, blog, and social networking channels, A-Train has helped increase site visitation and participation by 130%
North Range Behavioral HealthFull brand update and advertising campaign
North Range Behavioral Health is Weld County's community mental health treatment organizations. A-Train led North Range through a full brand update and new advertising campaign creation.
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VetDCFull brand update and advertising campaign
VetDC takes pharmaceuticals tested for treatment of cancer in humans and brings them to the companion animal (pet) market. A-Train has helped VetDC with a brand and a messaging update, and with the naming and branding of their first product Tanovea.
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Solvista HealthFull brand update and advertising campaign
Solvista Health (formerly West Central Medical Health Center) provides both mental health and primary care services in the upper Arkansas River valley. A-Train led Solvista to a new brand name and development of all marketing materials and ad campaigns.
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Leading LearnersGoing Pro: How marketing turned a small tutoring business into a regional organization
“It wasn’t until I met Gretchen that I felt like the director of my own company,” said Maria Gregori, the director of Leading Learners, a business that provides affordable academic coaching to help young people excel in their studies. A successful business owner, Maria has all the hallmarks of an entrepreneur – young, energetic, and a slightly electric air about her that crackles with the limitless potential of growth. Her mind obviously moves quickly. She describes it as the ‘typical scatterbrained entrepreneur,’ but it’s more of an excitement; she picks things up, examines them, and hefts their usefulness in an instant, and she doesn’t get tired of it.
Maria and her husband started Leading Learners in 2011. Her brother, a graphic designer, did their logo and website. As Maria tells it, they had no idea what a brand was, or what a website could do. They saw a need and filled it, and what they had worked because at the time, they were relatively small in scale.
But it would come to pass that the need Maria and her husband recognized would grow. “Initially our ad budget was one ad in the school district newsletter, and we ran around hanging up posters that we had put together ourselves,” said Maria. “But as a business owner, I knew I had no idea what would be appealing to the market, or how to do anything resembling unified branding. We had to think seriously about a brand and our target audience. It’s a lot of work to do, and something that didn’t just require support, but a true partner.”
Leading Learners and A-Train Marketing formed that partnership, which initially took shape in the form of updated posters and business cards. As the marketing firm, A-Train Marketing took the lead on removing the pressure of decisions about branding from the business owners, and championed a more professional appearance for Leading Learners overall. And then came a huge step – at the end of a very successful year with A-Trina’s support, the owners of Leading Learners reinvested most of their profit into a true marketing budget, along with new office space. Together, A-Train and Leading Learners recognized the need for a redesigned website, which represented a significant investment.
“We work with young people who are very digital oriented and tech-savvy, some of them can build websites, but we want them to be proud of us and our look,” said Maria. “It’s about trust too. We need trust from our students, and no shabby websites is part of that.” In the world of websites, it’s easy to be dismissed quickly. The new website showed that Leading Learners was invested themselves as a brand, and maintaining strong brand standards while providing top quality academic coaching at competitive rates.
Maria cites that professional appearance as one of the key motivators for hiring a professional agency. With a freshly designed website, new business cards, and an overhauled look, she felt confident in the Leading Learners brand. “It’s a strange thing, marketing,” she said. “It’s still apparent that my services are needed, but the presentation and first impressions matter. Our marketing gives us credibility – A-Train makes us look good, and we follow that up with good academic coaches.”
In their third year of business, Leading Learners had expanded to 15 coaches in Fort Collins, with 40 students at the end of the spring semester. They also expanded their services into Boulder for the first time, hiring five coaches to meet anticipated demand in the area.
Maria likens using A-Train’s strategic marketing services to going from minor leagues to playing professional ball. “We’ve always been treated well as clients, and there’s constant focus on the next step,” says Maria. “I can’t imagine Leading Learners without A-Train.”
Multimin® USAMarketing Collateral and Advertising Campaign Development
With its national sales territory office based in Fort Collins, CO, this multi-national mineral supplement company serving the cattle industries of America, South Africa, Australia & New Zealand needed a marketing partner it could trust, and one close to home.
When MULTIMIN® USA set of marketing materials that lacked the sector-specific focus needed to persuade cattle industry operators to buy their product. Worse yet, their existing marketing agency had recently been acquired by a much larger firm, and they were located over 650 miles away from them, which further inhibited quality service from the existing agency. In addition to MULTIMIN® USA'S agency should be working harder for them, the company faced a short time frame for executing a planned brand launch within the dairy sector. The executives at MULTIMIN® USA about finding a trustworthy marketing agency they could work with face-to face, and with that goal in mind they approached A-Train Marketing.
- A-Train's management and staff worked intensely to become intimately familiar with the market economics and university-based clinical trials research surrounding their flagship product, MULTIMIN® 90
- Combining perceptive market insight with expert marketing strategy, A-Train rapidly developed a new sales and brand outreach message that shifted the approach from regulatory lingo to a succinct, outcome-focused marketing tagline, 'Keeping an Eye on a Healthy Bottom Line…'
- Supported the client's planned brand launch into the dairy market with a redesigned sales brochure and large-format trade show displays to integrate the sales tagline and provide a more visually appealing, consistent representation of the MULTIMIN® USA first approached A-Train in mid-2011, they were frustrated with an existing USA brand
- Created a bold visual concept using custom digital illustration concept to of a cow's eye reflecting the dairy, beef & stocker cattle within their respective markets
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- Raised market audience engagement by transforming marketing message and visual identity of ad and trade show collateral into a integrated, research-validated marketing approach that emphasized economic benefits of using the product
- Selected by MULTIMIN® USA to design a series of 2012 industry print ads for both the Dairy & Beef markets; subsequently chosen based on advertising impact to replace previous agency in media buying for 2013
- Achieved significant cost savings on behalf of client through extensive vendor sourcing and price negotiation for full-color product brochures and large-format sales display materials used by field sales reps and trade show teams
- Attained ongoing client satisfaction by providing responsive, insightful account service and faceto-face accessibility necessary to market effectively within the highly competitive agricultural mineral supplements industry
Technical Services Manager
Open Stage TheatreGrassroots Fundraising
Like many nonprofit organizations that have been impacted by the economic downturn over the last few years, Open Stage Theatre has experienced a drop in financial support from various funding sources including individual donors and corporate sponsorships. For forty years, Open Stage Theatre has delivered transformative experiences through the intimacy of live theatre. Through their passion for the script and the stage, they have created magical moments that touch the spirit in unique and lasting ways.
2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Open Stage Theatre, and looking to applaud the past and the raise a curtain on the future of one of Northern Colorado's most celebrated art institutions, the nonprofit organization set a fundraising goal for the year of raising $40,000 to celebrate the milestone anniversary. Thus, a fundraising campaign was born – 40 for 40.
One of the primary goals of creating a structured fundraising strategy was to identify and articulate the core donor groups and to define prospects by looking for the factors that motivate donors to give to Open Stage Theatre. A-Train's team of marketing and fundraising experts was called in to help identify "the perfect donor". The agency was cast with the challenge of creating and implementing a compelling and successful campaign that would help Open Stage to meet and exceed their fundraising goal to create long-term stability for the Fort Collins theatre and arts community.
- Identified top donor audiences to help articulate to the core donor groups the need for fundraising and what motivates them to give and be involved with Open Stage Theatre.
- Creation of a strategy for direct solicitation for donations – one-on-one asking for dollars directly, often asking for a specific amount with a personalized, high-touch approach.
- Develop a strategy for fundraising at performances: door ticket sales, "curtain raiser's", and corporate match incentives that can be implemented at various times throughout the year.
- Provide strategies for smaller fundraising events and direct solicitation fundraising: campaign kick-off event, after-show events, "Backstage with Open Stage", and cultivation event follow-up.
- Conceived and designed an integrated set of marketing materials for the 40 for 40 campaign – created a name, logo, updated website and collateral materials that were donor friendly and communicated not only the Open Stage brand but also the fundraising message
- Designed a unique social media plan to engage donors and sponsors and generate interest by growing the follower base and encouraging financial support.
- Met and exceeded the fundraising goal of $40,000 in the first four months of the annual campaign
- Created ongoing visibility for Open Stage Theatre through ongoing PR and social media and increased the number of new donors and those interested in supporting the mission of Open Stage
Producing Artistic Director
SummitStone Health PartnersRe-Branding / Customer Engagement & Marketing Management
Having worked with A-Train since 2006, SummitStone Health Partners (previously Larimer Center for Mental Health) achieved consistently strong marketing, fundraising event support, and outreach results.
However, the non-profit behavioral health services organization was continually impacted by a single, significant Achilles heel: its name. The name 'Larimer Center for Mental Health' had two deeply-rooted marketing flaws in that consumers and the public at large inaccurately assumed that it was a publicly funded (e.g. County) organization, and the organization was often prejudged by consumers based on the stigma surrounding the term 'mental health.' In addition, the organization's growth into a resource for all aspects of community behavioral health and substance use treatment services had outgrown the scope of care conveyed by its existing name.
- Prior to embarking on the task of re-naming the organization, A-Train facilitated a series of online surveys and in-depth phone interviews to directly engage consumers, agency management, front-line staff, and referral agencies in understanding the key needs for rebranding the organization
- Objectively analyzed and provided both written reports and management presentations on the opinions received through the survey and interview process: provided executive leadership with an unbiased presentation of the risks and opportunities associated with the proposed re-naming
- Based on the client's request to actively engage staff in the re-naming process, developed several rounds of naming concepts and used online surveys to gather and report input confidentially
- Developed a comprehensive rebranding marketing plan and budget focusing on deployment of the new brand and building community loyalty
- Completed a full-scale visual rebranding including a new logo designed to emphasize the inclusiveness of SummitStone services and minimize mental health-related social stigma
- Strategized and successfully executed ongoing marketing management including PR launch, brand launch event, media outreach, collateral support, website redesign & search engine optimization
- Drove a successful re-branding outcome that resulted in heightened community recognition of the agency and improved customer engagement
- Helped de-stigmatize local public perception of mental illness through a "My SummitStone Is…" campaign that placed an emotive, human face on endemic issues of mental illness and addiction
- Delivered a consumer-friendly, integrated brand through development of a new website, brochure collateral, and advertising that announced the rebranding
- Completed all rebranding activities within 3% below the client's approved re-branding budget