May 17, 2012
This is part one of a four part series on the ABCs of Rebranding featuring case studies of organizations that successfully rebranded. These organizations shared their stories at the New York Society of Association Executives‘ Communications Institute on May 16 in New York City.
On May 1, Facebook announced a new tool to encourage organ, eye and tissue donor registration. US and UK Facebook members can make their decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor known on Facebook. Long before Facebook blazed this exciting new path, there was the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc.
Founded in 1944, the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration is a pioneer in transplants, paving the way for the concept of human tissue and organ donations.
Noel Mick, Director of Public and Professional Education has been with the Eye Bank for more than 20 years and has seen how the Eye Bank and its donors have changed the lives of donation recipients. In its messaging, the Eye Bank had primarily focused on the success stories of recipients – the “happy endings.”
A few years ago, though, the Eye Bank was faced with flat donations and decided it needed to change its messaging completely. Instead of focusing on recipients whose eyesight was restored, it directed its messaging to potential donors. It launched a new tagline: “See what your eyes can do for others” and developed a campaign targeted at New Yorkers featuring Jerry Orbach, a posthumous eye donor (see ad below and click to enlarge).
Turning their messaging around to focus on donors proved tremendously successful; Noel said their phones were ringing off the hook when their campaign launched. Lesson learned? Sometimes you need to take a risk with your rebrand. Happy ending stories are an obvious choice for your messaging, but might not be the most effective.
Stay tuned for more case studies on rebranding an association. Have tips for rebranding? Leave them in the comment box below!