WORKSHOP: Case Study - Education charity puts carrots in post

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Background: Education Action International defends the right to education of refugees in the UK and of all people affected by conflict in their home countries.

Since it was set up in 1920, the charity has rebranded several times and was initially called the World Student Christian Federation with a mission to provide advice and scholarships to refugee students. It has since changed its name to World University Service UK and in June 2003 rebranded again to become Education Action International after moving away from its work with the university community.

The charity's new name intended to reflect its work in international communities and its refugee education and training advisory service. With 250 members and several thousands supporters, Education Action International also wanted new branding to reflects its status as a leading education charity. Marketing agency Target Direct was commissioned to come up with a new look for the charity, which would reflect its active approach to education campaigning.

Aims: Education Action International wanted to run a campaign to inform its partners and supporters about its rebranding and to publicise its new web site. It also wanted a marketing campaign to help revamp its image to coincide with its 80th anniversary.

How it worked: The charity targeted the campaign at 1,700 people who it believed would be most interested in its rebrand.

Instead of using traditional campaign materials like personal letters, leaflets and contribution forms, the charity designed a very simple mail pack made up of a carrot and a blue label wrapped in a jiffy bag. The carrot reflected the colour of the organisation's new logo.

The pack also gave recipients additional information about its rebrand.

The charity's new web site address was printed on one side of the label and the other side included a personal password.

Once recipients logged on to the web site and entered their password, they could access a page that featured a graphic of a dancing carrot which, when clicked on, took them through to a message explaining the reasons for rebranding.

Results: The charity received positive comments from recipients targeted by the carrot campaign, who found it original and amusing. More than 80 per cent of those mailed logged on to the web site to find out what the campaign was about.

"The rebranding helped us to redefine our core values and had a revitalising effect on both staff and supporters," said Cameron Bowles, director of Education Action International.

However, it did receive a few complaints about wasting money on carrots.

These comments came as a surprise to the charity as it believes that the total cost of £2,100 was well spent on getting its message across.

"Because the target audience was so small and carefully selected, the carrot campaign proved to be far more cost-effective than designing and printing a brochure," said communications officer Lisa McFall.

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