Changing hearts and minds. Opening the eyes of people like you and I. Influencing the world’s most powerful companies to take an ethical stance. All of this is far from an easy feat. But one thing is clear. It requires a purposeful, mission-driven approach, powerful visuals, and personal, emotionally evocative communications. Especially when it comes to evolving the way we eat, and the way we relate to other beings.
Over the past 15 years, The Humane League (THL), an international animal protection nonprofit, has focused on effectively ending the worst abuses in factory farming. The excruciating caging of chickens. The immobilizing confinement of mother pigs. The pain of baby cows being torn from their mothers and thrown into tiny crates. Over time, we changed the lives of billions of animals, effectively reducing suffering everyday. Yet, we were known by few beyond the fringe. And, some referred to us as a ‘scrappy’ grassroots organization. Our mission was vague, and it didn’t align with our bold tone and stance. And our social media was filled with memes instead of impactful stories.
So, in June 2018 we began a 10 month journey to BE ONE UNIFIED VOICE—stronger, together. To strengthen our shared purpose. To embolden current supporters. To attract newcomers to our organization and our movement. To be the change now, more than ever. With boldness. Strength. Courage.
As a lean organization, with few resources beyond our talented team, we took on a robust rebrand entirely in-house. We interviewed our volunteers and donors. We solicited feedback from our staff. We audited our communications all around the world. We conducted consumer surveys well beyond our normal reach. And we asked ourselves the hardest, yet most important, questions to get to the heart of our mission. What problem are we solving in the world? What is our purpose?
Within four months, and with nearly $0 spent beyond team time, we internally unveiled our rebrand plans, including our emboldened mission: “We exist to end the abuse of animals raised for food.” Our stronger than ever mission was coupled with our “THL Tenets”—a new logo, a new tagline (“For the animals”), an entirely new look and feel, clear messaging and more.
In preparation for our public launch, and true to the community-driven strategy we took to create our rebrand, we invited influential supporters—for the first time ever—to join us for an intimate photo and video shoot in Los Angeles, followed by a plant-based dinner hosted by the musician, Moby. With an Instagram-first approach, we created heartfelt, personal content with each influencer so they could proudly support our relaunch with their supporters. Musician Kendall Schmidt shared that his heart is for the animals because “fighting for the wellbeing of animals is the right thing to do.” And actress and environmentalist Mica von Turkovich shared that her heart is for the animals “because the cruelty they endure is more than any of us could ever imagine.”
In the two weeks leading up to our relaunch, we began the buzz—letting our supporters know that something new and exciting was coming. We launched a community-curated Spotify playlist to get our supporters and staff excited. And we asked our friends on Instagram to share what they do to reimagine the future #ForTheAnimals, while teasing our rebrand with new visual elements—all with the support of our influential supporters. Upon launching our rebrand globally on March 29th across social media, our entire new websites, emails, direct mail pieces, and more, we compiled their outpouring of feedback into a digital mosaic in the shape of our new mended heart icon. Because, without our supporters, none of our work—including this purposeful relaunch—would be possible.
Within the first week of launch we organically reached over 800K people via social media, with 132K organic engagements—thanks in large part to a launch-day Facebook Live, hosted to give our supporters an insider look at our rebrand journey, while humanizing our work. And, we had over 5,000 visitors to our new primary website—a 515% increase YOY. Our return visit rate increased by over 20%—a 19% increase YOY. Most meaningfully, donors and volunteers reached out, sharing their enthusiasm and reinvigorated support—to end the abuse of animals raised for food, together. Nine months after our rebrand, we closed out 2019 with a 20% increase in revenues—our most successful year ever.
As we continue to build upon the new foundation we created in 2019, we will continue to grow. To be stronger. To mend the hearts of animals and humans—like you and I.
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