About the Organization
The Seacoast Science Center (SSC) is dedicated to sparking curiosity, enhancing understanding, and inspiring conservation of the earth. The organization focuses on experiential, science-based education for all age groups with the goal of bringing about positive change to help restore the environment. SSC strives to instill a commitment to conservation through the lens of its special seaside location at New Hampshire’s Odiorne Point State Park. SSC’s living laboratory of ocean-focused exhibits, aquariums, marine education and marine mammal rescue programs, combined with the park’s diverse coastal habitats, offer a unique opportunity to study and understand the relationship between people, the local habitat, the ocean and the world at large.
With the growing importance of conserving natural resources, SSC embarked on a program to expand its role, value and presence within the northern New England area including New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. President Jim Chase and his team identified the need for clear, consistent branding and marketing messaging as a key component to increasing the nonprofit’s impact within the community.
In the spring of 2019, ESC consultants Claire Larrabee and Peter Baker began working with Jim and Director of Marketing Karen Provazza to develop a Branding and Messaging Guide. The purpose of the guide was to accurately reflect SSC’s mission and vision as well as identify the key messages to be used with the organization’s diverse client segments. The guide would enable SSC to deliver compelling messages that effectively convey the organization’s mission and directly address the interests of each client segment.
How ESC Helped
To create the guide, the joint ESC/SSC team first segmented the many client groups that would require distinct messages. In all, the team identified nine different segments ranging from day visitors to SSC’s facility, SSC members, and parents who enroll their children in SSC camps to volunteers and donors who are focused on SSC’s Marine Mammal Rescue program.
Claire and Peter created surveys with a series of open-ended questions designed to understand what motivates each of the nine client segments to engage with SSC. They conducted onsite, phone and small group interviews to identify key motivations for each group. Based on the results of the surveys, the ESC consultants developed a comprehensive messaging guide that includes:
- A Brand DNA which defines the organization’s high-level principles and how they are delivered
- A Brand Promise which defines what SSC promises to deliver to all its clients
- A Brand Story which communicates SSC’s core values, principles, mission and passion
- An Elevator Pitch that provides a simple, compelling statement of the organization’s role and value
- Coordinated messaging for each client segment that addresses both aspirational and transactional motivations that drive clients to engage with SSC
The Branding and Messaging Guide has provided the Seacoast Science Center with a solid foundation for carrying out its marketing activities. “We now have a common understanding of our organization’s core principles and values that permeates our outreach. We can create coordinated and consistent messaging in all our communications that helps us effectively convey our value and drive the desired behaviors in our many client segments,” Jim noted.
SSC is using the principles defined in the guide across its print and online channels. Karen has found the Brand Story to been particularly useful as a demonstration of the value of SSC’s science-based education. “The Brand Story so eloquently represents our vision and passion. I often use portions of the story as I create or refine our marketing materials,” Karen says.
The client-segmented messaging has also proven valuable. For each Key Value Message identified for a particular client segment, the guide contains a series of “proof points” that show how SSC actually delivers the value. “It’s easy to pick and choose what I need from the client messaging to create specific collateral for a given segment, and I can be sure that I am being consistent in my messaging across channels,” Karen explained.
With ESC’s assistance, SSC now has a coordinated approach to marketing that enables it to evaluate its marketing activities through a common understanding of the organization’s core principles and values. The Branding and Messaging Guide has proven to be a meaningful tool in helping the nonprofit expand its market reach and increase SSC’s presence and impact in New Hampshire’s Seacoast and northern New England communities.