The Capital Area Food Bank selected us to conduct a brand audit that would help sharpen their messages to the community. We conducted market research in the Food Bank‘s 21–county service area in order to: (1) assess public awareness (unaided and aided) and perceptions of the Capital Area Food Bank, (2) explore the general public‘s understanding of the issue of hunger in Central Texas and (3) test the effectiveness of Food Bank campaign messages and media channels.
We performed qualitative and quantitative primary research which included in–depth interviews with community leaders, major financial contributors to the Food Bank, members of the media and other nonprofit executives; and a telephone survey of the general public in Austin and Waco — the Food Bank‘s two largest markets.
The phone survey showed us that favorability and awareness of the Food Bank was high in both Austin and Waco. Hunger and food insecurity was also given a high rate of importance among community issues people care about. Among messages we tested, the message that was rated most effective among all audiences was "1 in 3 people receiving food from the Food Bank is a child." Qualitative research told us that people wanted to learn more about hunger and that the most effective way to communicate with them was to "put a face on the issue."
Based on the research, our concept was to create the Hunger is UNacceptable campaign. Our goals for the campaign were to: (1) engage the community in the fight against hunger through volunteerism and advocacy, (2) educate about hunger issues in Central Texas, and (3) increase financial contributions to the Food Bank. We developed an integrated campaign that would reach all audiences using TV, radio, social media, earned media, print advertising and the Internet, with everything leading back to a measurable, action–oriented microsite.
For the microsite we prepared video stories of real people served by the Food Bank, especially featuring the stories of children. We also created a :30 PSA in English and Spanish that featured a child actually served by the Food Bank. Web banner ads and a strong social media push provided measurable ways we would drive people to the microsite where they could see these real stories of hunger and take the opportunity to take action: Donate / Advocate / Volunteer. We also created a memorable tagline and hashtag — Hunger is UNacceptable. The campaign successfully raised awareness and contributions and drew national interest on social media channels. We have since conducted annual brand tracking polls for the Food Bank showing that it remains positioned among the top Central Texas nonprofits with high awareness and positive perceptions, while hunger and food insecurity continue to be perceived as one of the community issues of greatest importance among all audiences.