The holidays are a great time for fun and creative marketing pieces. Taking home second place in Zweig Group’s 2014 Marketing Excellence Awards in the Online Marketing Category, Clark Patterson Lee (Rochester, NY), a 220-person multidisciplinary firm, combined the traditions of making gingerbread houses and sending holiday cards into a sweet marketing piece that spread holiday cheer inside and outside the company.
The firm began the process with a brainstorming session three months before the targeted send date of an e-card on Dec. 20. The firm decided to make a video of the process of creating a gingerbread structure, and to make things even more A/E industry-themed, the process of creating the ginger structure was made to mirror the steps taken in responding to a request for proposals. The video emphasized the creative process, which captured all the steps from receiving RFP through completion and ribbon-cutting.
Project teams and individuals were encouraged to submit a proposal. A committee selected the winning design, choosing to incorporate elements from all submittals.
The team selected a digital platform to distribute the video e-card due to cost and flexibility. The recording captured the design process in real-life, resulting in a time-lapse video set to music, resulting in a fascinating and engaging visual.
The process of creating the card and gingerbread structure remained collaborative: the e-card was created and executed entirely by internal staff, who expressed pride and joy in the project. Architects, engineers, and interior designers used their talents to design, plan and execute the structure constructed solely from edible food materials. The firm produced an outtakes video from the bloopers as a bonus feature to encourage further engagement.
The e-card was posted on YouTube, shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and linked back to the firm’s website as a part of an inbound marketing campaign.
Clark Patterson Lee set a few simple goals for the marketing piece: showcase their creativity to clients and friends in a way that evokes the holiday spirit, promote firm culture by working collaboratively on a project that generates firm-wide excitement, and increase traffic to the website and increase name and brand awareness among a broader audience.
The target audience was broad and included over 1,800 friends, colleagues and clients along the eastern seaboard. The video was also embedded on the firm’s website, with a link emailed to contacts. Traffic was driven to the website to increase SEO.
The firm set a modest budget of $1,500, though the actual cost ended up being even less in accountable hours of time from marketing staff and cost of food supplies. Non-marketing staff volunteered time to build the ginger structure. The firm used camera, equipment and computer programs they already owned.
The 1,800-contact send-list generated 4,168 page views, 1,725 unique views, and had only a 0.6 percent bounce rate. The video garnered 1,508 views on YouTube and was shared by many recipients, with countless positive comments: “An extended member of the CPL family, in southern N.H. loved this! The ribbon cutting and the gingerbread man upside down in the ‘pond’ were innovative touches” – Lyndy Burnham. “The BEST holiday card of the year!” – Timothy J. DeBuse, national corrections market leader, HEERY DESIGN.
The marketing piece also won the Smartegies A/E/C Full-Service Marketing Agency Holiday Card Contest in Atlanta and placed in the SMPS 2014 Marketing Communication Awards.