How do you sell something to people who don’t like being sold? Connect with them on their terms—and their time—and they’ll ask: “what else you got?”
New York Cider Association:
Bringing Cider Week to WNY
Considering that New York is the second-largest apple producer in the country, it comes as no surprise that Western New Yorkers love hard cider and embrace it as a part of the local food culture. Looking to break into the Western New York market to launch their inaugural Cider Week event, the New York Cider Association teamed up with FARM and Pathfinder.
Beyond the objective of generating event attendance, the New York Cider Association also made it their goal to further educate cider drinkers in the area about hard cider benefits and dispel common misconceptions along the way. As market researchers, Pathfinder set out to collect data for consumer perception of cider—including how it’s served and consumed.
The challenge in this campaign was to spread awareness of the event and spark interest for attendance. Further, FARM and Pathfinder needed to collaborate on the project to craft a cohesive campaign to entice and educate the local community.
Building upon existing brand standards, we updated creative and developed an integrated media campaign to help promote events across a ten-day period. FARM secured paid digital ads as well as television and radio broadcast, print, and social media coverage to optimize ROI.
The campaign was considered an “unprecedented success”—delivering a 50% boost in attendance compared to previous years’ events, and a measured 24% positive impact on consumer perception of hard cider. Cheers to that!
“With FARM’s support on market research, media planning, public relations, design and content, the New York Cider Association was able to launch a promotional festival to unprecedented success, despite being in a new market for us. FARM helped us focus our resources on high ROI advertising channels, get the messaging right for the community, and measure the impact of our effort. Thanks to FARM’s advice and efforts on our behalf, Cider Week saw a 50% lift in attendance at key events staged in previous years, and a 24% increase in consumer understanding what hard cider is. What’s more, the entire team is curious, kind, and efficient. I look forward to working on future projects with FARM and would encourage anyone working on marketing in WNY in the farm-based food and craft beverage space to engage with them for optimal impact.”
Research and Rebrand Launch Campaign
The team at Unyts was considering a rebrand but first wanted to understand whether the “Unyts” name helped achieve their business goals, including providing operational support for its four internal business units. They partnered with Pathfinder who conducted market research (surveys and focus groups) to help provide a clear direction forward.
The research indicated that while the name “Unyts” had considerable awareness in the market, there was little understanding of what the organization did. The results also revealed that the organization was lacking cohesion internally. Armed with this information, the company determined it was time to rebrand—including a name change—and enlisted FARM for support.
FARM further evaluated the research and developed name and logo options, which were then panel-tested. ConnectLife was the clear winner.
Building off insights from the research, FARM began mapping out a communications strategy to meet three primary objectives:
- Generate awareness of the new brand
- Educate on the vast lifesaving and life-enhancing services provided
- Highlight the impact to the community and beyond
The team created target personas, an optimum channel strategy, messaging and creative, and rolled that into an executable wave-based marketing plan consisting of:
- Branded presentation and brand guidelines with key messaging to align the team internally
- Earned media: Press conference announcing rebrand to public
- Paid media: Broadcast TV and radio spots, outdoor, digital/social ads
- Mobile blood vehicle wraps
- Sports sponsorship activation (Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College)
With the awareness campaign running through 2019, FARM is currently in the process of developing a campaign to support ConnectLife’s community blood donation services in 2020. Some initial results achieved include:
- Extensive media coverage, with a total earned media value nearly 15 times the client’s investment.
- Successful activations of Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres sponsorships
- Extremely positive feedback from the community (especially key hospital partners), donor families, and internal staff