In this fast-paced media environment, sometimes planned campaigns don’t go as planned. This case study explores how to adapt when the news cycle grinds your strategy to a halt.

Have you ever received a poorly-timed email or downright insensitive advertisement that just fostered disdain for a brand? We observed this often during 2020. For many businesses and marketers, it’s tempting to plow forward with a campaign that took weeks, months or even years to perfect. But if the moment isn’t right, that campaign can crash and burn.

So what happens when the content is solidified, the graphics are approved and an unexpected wrench is thrown into play that changes the entire plan of action?

This is a challenge Hunter faced as part of the 2021 Just Say Yes campaign for our client, JewishColumbus.

Back up. Just Say Who Now?

“Just Say Yes” is a philanthropic fundraising campaign built from the authentic stories of leaders and changemakers within the Columbus Jewish community. In 2020, we launched the first rendition of the campaign with overwhelming success, surpassing the established fundraising goals. During this run, we benefited from building our strategy during the onset of the pandemic, not before. We learned from the victories and blunders of other marketers and leaned on our own experience and intuition to develop a campaign that was sensitive to the moment without discouraging or annoying our audience. 

When the 2021 fundraising season rolled around, we decided to refine, adapt and perfect our strategy to once again knock JewishColumbus’ fundraising goals out of the park. However, as we set to launch the 2021 campaign in early May, we experienced a halt as tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came to a head. The gravity of the situation was a clear indicator to pause and offer support to our clients as they decided how best to react.  

“We had a beautiful story about supporting Jewish summer camps primed and ready to go. But a story about donating to summer camps would absolutely fall flat in the midst of an international dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” says Elspeth Paige-Sack, Chief Experience Officer at Hunter Marketing. “So we took a step back and reevaluated our publishing calendar to ensure that it aligned with JewishColumbus’ efforts to respond to the escalation in violence.” 

“So we took a step back and reevaluated our publishing calendar to ensure that it aligned with JewishColumbus’ efforts to respond to the escalation in violence.” 

Elspeth Paige-Sack, Chief Experience Officer at Hunter Marketing

Working with Hunter also means having an experienced and fast-acting team prepared to adjust campaign priorities on the fly. It was important that we acknowledge the situation at hand while keeping in mind the goal of the campaign: to show readers how JewishColumbus makes a positive impact on their community. 

We collaborated with key JewishColumbus stakeholders to rearrange our posting cadence. Our team immediately deployed a powerful story about Michal Avera Samuel, a Schlicha (or emissary) for JewishColumbus and an Ethiopian Jew who took refuge in Israel when she was only 8 years old. The piece not only solidified JewishColumbus’ stance on the conflict, but reminded readers that their contribution to JewishColumbus will support the global Jewish community. 

“Our adaptive approach paid off — JewishColumbus surpassed their fundraising goals for the second year in a row,” says Elspeth. “Most importantly, though, we didn’t betray the trust of our audience. Our content never comes off as kitschy or inauthentic because we find the heart in every story. We don’t believe in ‘faking it until you make it.’ We are genuinely passionate about our clients and their stories.” 

“Our adaptive approach paid off — JewishColumbus surpassed their fundraising goals for the second year in a row. Most importantly, though, we didn’t betray the trust of our audience. Our content never comes off as kitschy or inauthentic because we find the heart in every story. We don’t believe in ‘faking it until you make it.’ We are genuinely passionate about our clients and their stories.” 

Elspeth Paige-Sack, Chief Experience Officer at Hunter Marketing

Planning ahead is a key step in any successful campaign launch; however, being prepared to act when things unexpectedly take a turn holds just as much importance. Team Hunter is a proven partner in navigating the difficulties that unforeseen circumstances may present. No matter the situation, we work in tandem with our clients as a true partner to ensure campaign success and ultimately create a positive impact on our communities.

Take it From Our Partners at JewishColumbus:

“Working with Hunter Marketing is seamless. It’s the Peloton of agencies without the Peloton price tag. I love how the Hunter team has essentially become a part of my team, navigating our organization and our community so that we can tell the most compelling stories. Their work has not only helped us from a marketing perspective, but their outreach to our partner agencies has generated feelings of inclusion and kumbaya. I don’t know how we could do this kind of work without the talent of Hunter’s creative team and the inspiring leadership of its founder and CEO.”

Joanne Strasser, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for JewishColumbus

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