Rebranding Feasability

CFV Rebranding Feasibility Report
November 2, 2016

Campaign for Vermont Board of Directors:

Louise McCarren, Chair
Mary Evslin, Treasurer/Secretary
Pam MacKenzie
George Clain
Edward Morrow
Stefanie Pigeon
Ed Zuccaro
Steve Wilk
John Powell

Last month Campaign for Vermont (CFV) turned five years old. Over the past five years CFV has conducted in-depth policy research and development on issues that matter to Vermonters. Through thoughtful collaboration and data-driven analysis CFV has developed a robust policy platform and advocated for reforms ranging from ethics in state government to local control of education. Progress has been made on several fronts, but there is still much work to be done.

The organization is now in a unique position. All three original founding partners have continued on to other ventures and a new generation of leadership is guiding Campaign for Vermont. To this point CFV has struggled to sharply define its organizational goals and purpose in a way that is forward looking. It has also acted as a policy think tank doing research and policy development and as an advocacy organization pushing for policy changes at a local and statewide level. Unfortunately CFV does not currently have the capacity to play both roles effectively and must choose to focus on either advocacy or policy development.

Given the obstacles identified above it has been recommended that CFV undergo a rebranding effort to more sharply focus the intent of the organization and streamline efforts where we feel they will have the most impact on Vermont’s quality of life. Such a rebranding effort may or may not include an organizational name change. This report is intended to look at a few options available to the organization and its board of directors.

 

Do nothing:

Perhaps the safest option, but may limit growth down the road. The current name has been strongly associated with Founding Officers Tom Pelham and Bruce Lisman. While this can be advantageous in some circles it may also limit growth long-term because of perceived political ties.

There are no up-front costs associated with this option, however there could be foregone revenue down the road because of slow organizational growth. There has been a slow-down in membership since April of this year. Likewise website traffic and Facebook activity has fallen off over the past year.

CFV is likely continue to struggle with defining organizational goals under this approach, however it does not jeopardize our current base of supporters.

 

Name change coupled with rebranding effort:

This is the most risky option but also potentially the one with the greatest payoff. A name change will allow the organization to move forward with relationships intact, but without associations that former board members or founding officers brought.

There are significant up-front costs to rebranding. Among those are changing necessary certifications, redesigning logos and website, and advertising to introduce the new brand to Vermonters. Existing website and database infrastructure can be recycled. Facebook page can be changed to reflect new branding while still retaining the 17,000 followers we have on that platform. The CFV Twitter account will not be able to be carried forward. A new Twitter account will have to be created and we will lose the 700 followers we have on that platform. Aggressive social media advertising on both the Facebook and Twitter platforms will counter-balance this change and introduce the new brand to supporters.

While there is risk in this option, there is also potentially long-term rewards in opening up the CFV brand to more supporters

Total cost for this initiative is estimated to be around $8500, a breakdown of costs is below:

  • SOS filing and bank fees: $165
  • Website and logo redesign: $3200
  • Personnel Costs: $1,381
  • Social Media Advertising: $2,075
  • YouTube Pre-roll advertising: $800
  • Radio Advertising: $1,000
  • Video/Radio production: $1,200

While there are significant up-front costs with this approach there is also greater potential for long-term benefit if we can retain current donor base and expand under the new brand.

 

Rebranding without name change:

This is the “combination of both” option. An introduction of a sharper more directed organizational message and new logo and branding materials but without the risk associated with a full name change. Under this option associations with former members are likely remain, however this option should show the organization is moving forward. Under this approach it would be advisable to develop a tag line to help direct organizational intent as well as a clearly defined vision/mission statement. Also utilizing the organizations full name “Campaign for Vermont Prosperity” in our branding may help to give a clearer message of organizational intent.

Long term it may open up more fundraising and collaboration opportunities, but perhaps not as many as under the full name-change option. However, energy and resources could be spent on fundraising instead of introducing the new organizational name.

There are some up-front costs associated with this approach, but not as significant as a full name change. New logos and branding materials would be developed, social media platforms would remain intact, and the level of advertising needed would be minimal.

Total cost for this option is estimated to be around $3500, a breakdown of costs is below:

  • Logo redesign - $2,000
  • Website redesign - $1,000
  • Facebook Advertising - $500

All of these options are viable, however there are varying levels of risk and potential reward. One thing to keep in mind considering these options is the relatively narrow window of time between when these changes need to happen. There is an effective window of 4-5 weeks from mid-November to mid-December 2016 where any rebranding effort will gain traction prior to the 2017 legislative session. To effectively capitalize on this window, a decision on the items above will need to be made within the first couple weeks in November.

 

 

Benjamin Kinsley
Executive Director
Campaign for Vermont Prosperity

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