Case Study: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Last year, we were charged with implementing the rebranding of the Western and South Central Kansas Division of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The graphic look was already established by Wieden+Kennedy, an advertising agency in New York City, but the headquarters of the National MS Society offered no direction or budget for the roll out of the new brand. Start-Thinking chose to focus on the local MS Society’s events (MS Awareness Week, MS Walk, MS Bike and the Dinner of Champions) and our goals was to secure earned media tailored to niche audiences, but of interest to a broader base of people.

We accomplished this by creating pitches specific to the audiences of the various media. We wrote a story for a health magazine that focused on how people cope with MS by participation in fitness classes. For a woman’s magazine we wrote an article that explained MS and that the disease strikes women more often than men. A medical trade publication ran an article we wrote about a local physician who raises funds for the Society. In all, five different articles ran in five different publications.

 

 


We secured radio Interviews that aired on several radio stations. Four television interviews aired, including a feature story during a primetime evening newscast.

 

Our efforts during this time also included a partnership with a local bookstore that created an in-store display of books about MS and a partnership with a local photography studio that donated photos that were used on a billboard campaign.

To facilitate the process of working with the media, we developed a media site that featured downloadable video and audio files, graphics, electronic versions of our press releases and other pertinent information.

We took a similar direction with the MS Walk and MS Bike, both of which earned several stories in different outlets. The Dinner of Champions however provided opportunity for production of tribute videos, in which we chose to cast a local comedian who was in the national media spotlight at the time as the result of a political video he had made. Special attention was given to the graphic collateral, which in previous years had not been brand specific.

As a measurement of our efforts, participation in the MS Walk and Dinner of Champions remained consistent but the MS Bike surpassed fundraising goals and reached a registration high. Overall, fundraising goals were met or were exceeded in all areas. Our efforts resulted in both an ADDY award and Clarus award, as well as special recognition by the MS Society.

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