Implementing a Content Strategy    During a Brand Refresh:    Teach For America Case Study    MIMA Summit, October 12, 2011
Who I AmContact info:kristin.hodgson@teachforamerica.org@kristinhodgson                       2
About Teach For America                                 By the Numbers                          2011-                     ...
Teach For America – Twin Cities: Local Impact                                                4
AgendaI.     BackgroundII.    Organizational MomentIII.   What We AchievedIV.    The Digital DecadeV.     Questions?      ...
Web Presence: 2010                     6
Wake Up Call               7
Our Homework       Preparing to redesign the website involved a lot of research and thought partnership, and       require...
Three Guiding Principles                 •   The site should showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the                   ...
TimelineThe web team was focused on the website redesign, but other events and discussions inthe organization could not be...
AgendaI.     BackgroundII.    Organizational MomentIII.   What We AchievedIV.    The Digital DecadeV.     Questions?      ...
Our New Voice With all that was in flux – core values, visual signal, brand personality – and all that we wanted to accomp...
Before and After Original The prevailing notion is that children growing up in low-income communities cannot overcome the ...
Balanced Content Mix                       14
Balanced Content Mix: Why Teach For America?   March – Defining        May – Displaying     July – Site content    communi...
Brand PersonalityOur brand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with theTeach For America brand.If Tea...
Profile CollectionWe collected over 400 profiles from corps members, alumni, and supporters                               ...
Evolving Visual Signal                         18
Website Design                 19
AgendaI.     BackgroundII.    Organizational MomentIII.   What We AchievedIV.    The Digital DecadeV.     Questions?      ...
The Qualitative/Fuzzy Math Wins•   Streamlined site, with fewer pages•   Reduction in word count by approximately 45%•   D...
Quantitative Wins    We set out to create a website that inspires and engages, and metrics    confirm we’ve gone a long wa...
AgendaI.     BackgroundII.    Organizational MomentIII.   What We AchievedIV.    The Digital DecadeV.     Questions?      ...
Content Strategy in 2010-2011                 •   The site should showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the              ...
Authenticity: The Value of the Moment                                             “Authenticity seems to be the           ...
Storytelling as Buzzword                                           “Storytelling is a buzzword with                       ...
AgendaI.     BackgroundII.    Organizational MomentIII.   “The Digital Decade”IV.    What We AchievedV.     Questions?    ...
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Implementing a Content Strategy During a Brand Refresh: Teach For America Case Study

  1. 1. Implementing a Content Strategy During a Brand Refresh: Teach For America Case Study MIMA Summit, October 12, 2011
  2. 2. Who I AmContact info:kristin.hodgson@teachforamerica.org@kristinhodgson 2
  3. 3. About Teach For America By the Numbers 2011- 2011-2012 School Year • 48,000 applicants to the corps • 9,000 corps members • 2,600 schools • 600,000 students reached Since 1990 • 3 million students taught • 24,000 alumni 3
  4. 4. Teach For America – Twin Cities: Local Impact 4
  5. 5. AgendaI. BackgroundII. Organizational MomentIII. What We AchievedIV. The Digital DecadeV. Questions? 5
  6. 6. Web Presence: 2010 6
  7. 7. Wake Up Call 7
  8. 8. Our Homework Preparing to redesign the website involved a lot of research and thought partnership, and required establishing a clear vision. Assessing the Website’s “Achievement Gap” • Evaluating the current site and thinking about its limitations • Stakeholder interviews with ~50 people across the organization • “Insights” market research work • Further usability testing • Identifying peer websites we admired, connecting with those teams Three Guiding Principles* The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools, McKinsey & Company Social sector Office, 2009 8
  9. 9. Three Guiding Principles • The site should showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the community focused on solving educational inequity Community • Foreground the multiple voices and perspectives of people who make up that community& Conversation • Encourage and enable communication among community members Warmth • The site should lead the way in refocusing and repositioning the brand, projecting more personality, authenticity, and passion & Emotion • Use people’s stories to “show” rather than “tell” Balanced • Streamline the site and strike the right balance between text, images, graphics, and multimedia Content Mix • Go beyond an online TFA brochure 9
  10. 10. TimelineThe web team was focused on the website redesign, but other events and discussions inthe organization could not be ignored. (Oct- Q1 (Oct-Dec) (Jan- Q2 (Jan-Mar) (Apr- Q3 (Apr-Jun) Q4 (July) Website Kickoff, Sitemap, Defining key Redesign Writing CMS entry Launch Research, Wireframes messages and asset Strategy creation Internal Events New core New book TFA marks Marketing New CMO values by CEO, 20 years team re-org begins announced Founder begins Ongoing Voice Brand Discussions Brand Personality Visual Signal 10
  11. 11. AgendaI. BackgroundII. Organizational MomentIII. What We AchievedIV. The Digital DecadeV. Questions? 11
  12. 12. Our New Voice With all that was in flux – core values, visual signal, brand personality – and all that we wanted to accomplish – more inspiration, warmth, and emotion – establishing a new voice was critical. Working with the many writers on this project, I focused our attention in two areas: Mechanics Tone and Substance • Writing for the Web • Inspiring • Clear, direct • Engaging • Plainspoken • Warm and welcoming • Conversational • Humble • Focused on our mission 12
  13. 13. Before and After Original The prevailing notion is that children growing up in low-income communities cannot overcome the massive obstacles they face, and therefore the investments in solving these problems are futile. These beliefs prevent us from addressing the challenges of poverty and discrimination, and from building the capacity of our schools and school systems. Revised “This is the hardest work on the planet. It’s also the most important. We can never forget that the unit of change for an individual kid’s life is school. It starts in pre-K and goes straight through college. We need the broader systemic changes and then we need as many committed, talented, and revolutionary teachers as this nation can produce.” –Dave Levin 13
  14. 14. Balanced Content Mix 14
  15. 15. Balanced Content Mix: Why Teach For America? March – Defining May – Displaying July – Site content communication near-final content staged for launchobjectives page by page in a WF like layout 15
  16. 16. Brand PersonalityOur brand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with theTeach For America brand.If Teach For America were a person, what would s/he be like?It is the driver of emotional associations that people create with Teach ForAmerica. …If a brand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with a brand, and ours is “TBD,” why don’t we put some of our real humans on display? 16
  17. 17. Profile CollectionWe collected over 400 profiles from corps members, alumni, and supporters 17 back – it was a treasure trove – well
  18. 18. Evolving Visual Signal 18
  19. 19. Website Design 19
  20. 20. AgendaI. BackgroundII. Organizational MomentIII. What We AchievedIV. The Digital DecadeV. Questions? 20
  21. 21. The Qualitative/Fuzzy Math Wins• Streamlined site, with fewer pages• Reduction in word count by approximately 45%• Defined messaging architecture for the site• Simplified language• Infusion of inspiration• A platform that allows for frequent site updates and a distributed publishing model 21
  22. 22. Quantitative Wins We set out to create a website that inspires and engages, and metrics confirm we’ve gone a long way toward that goal.• Our engagement metrics show we are Metric Change – YOY encouraging quality time on site Visits/Visitor 20%• Engagement metrics look even better when we isolate the time right before Pages/Visit 56% an application deadline• Over the coming year, we have grand Time on Site 83% plans to iterate Bounce Rate -35% 22
  23. 23. AgendaI. BackgroundII. Organizational MomentIII. What We AchievedIV. The Digital DecadeV. Questions? 23
  24. 24. Content Strategy in 2010-2011 • The site should showcase the diversity and vibrancy of the community focused on solving educational inequity Community • Foreground the multiple voices and perspectives of people who make up that community& Conversation • Encourage and enable communication among community members Warmth • The site should lead the way in refocusing and repositioning the brand, projecting more personality, authenticity, and passion & Emotion • Use people’s stories to “show” rather than “tell” Balanced • Streamline the site and strike the right balance between text, images, graphics, and multimedia Content Mix • Go beyond an online TFA brochure 24
  25. 25. Authenticity: The Value of the Moment “Authenticity seems to be the value of the moment, rolling off the tongues of politicians, celebrities, Web gurus, college admissions advisers, reality television stars.” Source: New York Times, 9/9/11 25
  26. 26. Storytelling as Buzzword “Storytelling is a buzzword with lots of different interpretations. Either the internet is killing stories, or it’s the best thing to happen to them since the printing press.” Source: A List Apart, 8/23/11 26
  27. 27. AgendaI. BackgroundII. Organizational MomentIII. “The Digital Decade”IV. What We AchievedV. Questions? 27

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