Speaking To A Growing Community
What We Did
Designed 2017 Bond Program Logo
Led Design for Institutional Presentations
Designed Print Collateral:
Direct Mail (Brochure + Postcard)
Led Social Media Strategy
Performed Social Media Audit to Gauge Performance + Opportunities To Optimize Engagement
Developed Social Media Campaign Strategy For 2017 Bond Program
Launched RSD Instagram Account
Developed Posting Schedule for 2017 Bond Program
Designed Animated Bond FAQ Videos
Led Art Direction for Photo + Video Shoot
Videography - Created Five Testimonial Videos
Designed Suite of Social Media Graphics
Created Web Landing Page For Community Feedback
Ridgefield, Washington is the second fastest growing community in the State of Washington. With a current population above just 5,600 people the city’s population is expected to exceed 20,000 - 25,000 people in the next decade. It’s no wonder that Ridgefield is on the up trend. The city is located along I-5, in Southwest Washington’s Discovery Corridor, with immediate access to Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, as well as expansive views of some of the Pacific Northwest’s most attractive natural features, including the Columbia River and Mount Saint Helens. A community facing a 400% increase in population is sure to experience growing pains, and one of the largest of those pains will be the need to grow the local school district.
Markon has worked with Ridgefield School District on its external and internal communications for some time, including refining the institution’s entire visual identity in 2015. So, when the District came to us in late 2016 to help begin preparing the District to handle the major task of communicating the value of a 98 million dollar venture - the 2017 Bond Program - we were well prepared to provide thought leadership, strategic guidance, and design services.
A Unique Submark Differentiates Communications Campaigns In Dynamic Organizations
Even a small school district is large and amorphous. The community within a school district is stratified by grade level and then further divided by academic and institutional department. For any large organization, with vibrant, active moving parts, the strategic use of submarks, or variations of the institution's main logo is a simple way to organize streams of communication across distribution channels. For the 2017 bond program, we made simple amendments to the District's main logo, making use of the brand's signature colors, fonts, textures, and iconography to create a cohesive, yet distinct, look and feel.
Optimizing Social Media Performance For Targeted Messaging
Before an organization can develop an effective social strategy, it first has to understand how different social platforms act as distribution channels for its message. Sometimes this understanding begins long after the organization has adopted platforms and begun sharing posts on a daily basis. In this case, we believe in conducting a full audit of activity - both from the organization and its followers - to develop an understanding of how social media platforms, as distribution channels, fit into the organization’s communications mix.
Our work with the District’s social media assets began with such an audit. We evaluated the District’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to determine how they could improve the quality, frequency, and schedule of their posts, who they design those posts for, and how they might better aggregate an audience around hashtags, boosted posts, and actual advertising on either platform. We also worked to shore up the overall brand strength of each profile by completing profile data and designing new graphics utilizing the brand’s recently refreshed identity.
A social campaign to excite a community
When a campaign concludes with a deadline, the final weeks are of vital importance. The District came to Markon a few months before the February 14th vote deadline to put together an informational campaign about the bond. The objective was complex: appeal to the logic and emotion of the voting public - a community of 5,600ish people - while maintaining objective integrity. To do so, Markon relied on old fashioned storytelling to communicate the facts about the bond program, from both an empirical standpoint (the bond will do so this) and a human standpoint in the form of testimonials from the community. We designed a campaign that utilized the talents of a community of people, including our own graphic designers and digital strategist, local videographers, and the District’s own photography instructor. Markon provided art direction for a day-long photo shoot and the capture of A and B roll from five members of the District. We then prepared copy for each form of a media and developed a posting schedule for the final 45 days of the campaign.
Shareable Social Media Graphics Are Essential To Any Social Media Campaign
Video Has The Highest Rate Of Engagement Online
The Power Of Reach
Facebook was the entire campaign’s exclusive platform of choice. As a distribution channel, this was the District’s strongest tool to reach members of the community. The district already possessed a strong local following and the platform had become a hub for parents to direct message the District about general matters.
The majority of posts made during the final 45 days were left to organically earn reach and engagement. Fewer than 10 posts were boosted - an option that allows users to pay for expanded reach - and no boost was funded for more than $6 (an incredibly low sum). The posts made in the final 45 days of the bond campaign accrued a collective reach of over 41,000. When you think about a Facebook profile with fewer than 2,500 followers, and a campaign targeted to a community of 5,600 people, that’s intense.
We Still Live In A World That Requires An Analog Component
Any strategist would be remiss if they told you that these things could be turned around with digital strategy alone. Print still reaches critical audiences in a way that digital content cannot. There is significance in receiving a tangible item in your home, even if its purpose is to drive you online to learn more. To increase awareness about the significance of the bond campaign, we designed two direct mail pieces, posters, and an invitation to an alumni event.
Total Facebok Insights
We take a holistic approach to branding, and in this case, we extended that approach to communications. The 2017 Bond Campaign tapped into many of Markon’s talents - analysis and consulting, graphic design, art direction, videography, social media strategy and executive, and print management - allowing us to work with a logical flow through those services. Campaign communications is in Markon’s DNA. Yet, historically that work has culminated in a volume of print products: signs, banners, decals, mailers, pamphlets, etc. This campaign, as well ones we recently led for Dress For Success Oregon and Share Vancouver, mark a shift toward campaigns that operate almost exclusively through digital communications. It’s a shift welcome and embrace.