Like many companies, Cascade Regional Blood Services (CRBS) has to balance the need to find new audiences with the need to appeal to existing customers.
But designing and launching your own promotions can be tricky when aiming at a new market. By assuming you know them well enough to cut costs and do all the marketing in-house, you run the twin risks of coming across as inauthentic and diluting your own brand. It’s understandable, but it can seriously damage long-term sales.
CRBS knew this, and asked us for help with their Summer Challenge promotion.
Blood is always in short supply, and CRBS depends on constant donations from individuals. Ideally, donors make a habit of giving blood—but this habit is not intuitive. And regular donors tend to be older, leaving a potential constituency of young people.
CRBS asked Sands Costner for help devising and launching a promotion—and quickly—to encourage younger donors to consider donating more frequently. The new program was called Automated Blood Donation.
Even though it was a one-time promotion, and even though CRBS believed they understood their target audience, they were aware of their limitations and knew they couldn’t afford a costly miss.
We had one shot: our challenge was to get it right the first time.
Any promotion may arguably be said to have three core elements—concept, design, and launch—and is only as strong as its weakest link. We make sure all three are working in tandem with your stated objectives and existing brand guidelines.
We created the Summer Challenge contest: each time you donated blood during the allotted period, you would earn a chance to win one of three major prizes, tailored to the regional audience. These included a lift pass to a local ski resort, a staycation at a luxury hotel, and a pair of tickets to a Seahawks game.
Working with the existing brand elements of the Automated Blood Donation program, we created a bright, fun, and attractive poster. Print and digital ads were created specifically for their appropriate distribution channels. And we developed the tagline, “Summertime, and the givin’ is easy.”
We distributed posters throughout the community, and specifically targeted bars, cafes, and restaurants. Rack cards were handed out at the donation centers and at local events. And ads were circulated heavily on Facebook and Instagram, along with a feel-good summertime video.
Social media promotion earned Cascade Regional Blood Services a click-through rate that more than three times higher than the previous year’s average for the healthcare industry.
Clicks per post
Beyond these numbers, one crucial result was the decision by Cascade Regional Blood Services to repeat the challenge the following [summer?] [fall?] [year?]. And they continue to find success with the Summer Challenge…