Home-Field Advantage: Staying on Top When Your Competition Comes to Town

This month marks exactly five years since I moved to Western New York. And even after growing up in Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love,” and then living in Saint Paul, MN, where some recently defrosted traveler coined the term “Minnesota nice,” I have never been to an area that radiates more hometown pride and dedication to one’s neighbors than Buffalo. For example, in any other city, if you see someone wearing a t-shirt with the name of that same city, they’re definitely a tourist. But here, if you have any fewer than three Buffalo-themed pieces of flair on your person or property at any given time, you get a police escort to the Canadian border.

Our client ConnectLife is Western New York’s only community blood center and they take living local to the extreme by keeping all blood here, serving the one out of every seven people in area hospitals who need it. So, when the American Red Cross initiated an aggressive blood donation campaign in our backyard, we needed to develop a response to keep ConnectLife engaged with current and potential donors. This new campaign required us to master some pretty tricky dance steps because we didn’t want to be perceived as against the Red Cross. After all, giving blood anywhere is better than not giving at all. Still, ConnectLife’s exclusively local focus is their lead differentiator and aligns perfectly with the community’s inherent desire to help their neighbors. We just needed to make sure our message was honest and phrased appropriately without disparaging the competition.

To combat the Red Cross’ encroachment on ConnectLife’s home turf, we created a marketing campaign called “Keep it Here.” It has always been our aim to convey a positive and upbeat tone when talking about ConnectLife’s service to the community rather than issue dour and desperate pleas for blood donations, and our efforts here were no different. Bold and direct, we let our audience know that only ConnectLife keeps all blood here in Western New York. Our sole mention of the competition was simply: “The American Red Cross can’t say that.” And by saturating all collateral in the rich blues of ConnectLife’s brand identity, we created further separation from the Red Cross’ signature red and white. Together, messaging and visuals reinforced a look and feel that our client could truly own and use to extend their reach throughout the area.

Explore some of our campaign elements below, including a television spot that uses fun, local debate topics as a springboard to ConnectLife being the clear choice for where to donate blood.

View the spot below.

From captains of industry to subway performers, we all have competition. And as much as we want to steal their mascots, their presence keeps us on our toes and ensures we’re always bringing our best stuff to the game. Whether you want to move your business up the leaderboard or maintain the position you’ve worked hard to secure, give us a call and let’s show ‘em what you’re made of. 

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