A number of public venues have been empty over the last few months due to imposed mandatory social-distancing measures to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus; with theatres, stadiums, and arenas being the most badly affected.
WeWillRecover is an initiative created by Activity Stream in collaboration with select partners to help organisations, primarily live events organisations, get back on track during these pressing times. As an agency with roots in the entertainment sector, at After Digital, we are proud to have been involved in the creation of the WeWillRecover project.
The intention behind WeWillRecover was to share free content from a number of industry experts that will support and guide those in the live events sector on how to stay connected to their audience and plan for the future after COVID-19. Volunteering our services, the AD team came on board to work on WeWillRecover’s branding, UX design, and content strategy, to get this extremely important resource up and running.
There’s no denying that organisations in the live entertainment field will have to change their approach and adapt to new methods in a fast and effective way. In these times of uncertainty, having a sense of direction based on the insights from our experts will help give organisations a chance to thrive once again. The most important aspect for these organisations is to recapture and invite as many of their audience members back; in the safest and most considerate way possible. This means reviewing communication efforts, looking at case studies, and understanding how to connect with their existing audience in these times. The recovery process will allow organisations to flourish once more and provide entertainment for all. Our goal was to ensure that WeWillRecover was well equipped to engage with this community and to provide that guidance in a clear and accessible way.
Branding & Design
Having worked with Activity Stream earlier in the year, Martin (CBO of Activity Stream) got in touch with us in April and asked us if we wanted to get involved in the WeWillRecover project; knowing our expertise and experience in the arts and culture sector would compliment this well.
When our design and marketing team joined the WeWillRecover project team, the initial brand was using the Activity Stream brand colours of orange and maroon. While some of the colours worked in isolation, the combination of colours presented some accessibility issues. Furthermore, now that multiple companies were offering assistance in supporting the project, we needed to update the colours and visuals to reflect this.
In order to progress with branding and design concepts, we needed to first create a mission statement, vision, and values that would help us build a core identity for the brand. Hosting a variety of workshops, we worked closely with the rest of the WeWillRecover team to come up with WeWillRecover’s mission:
We help live entertainment organisations affected in the COVID-19 crisis adapt and recover by creating, collecting, and sharing knowledge and inspiration.
The creation of the WeWillRecove branding was more of an evolution rather than starting from scratch, as the core of the initial brand had a great concept so we wanted to retain the spirit of connection and care. We refined the concept and gave the colours and typeface a refresh.
The original mark still had some reducibility issues and looked a bit generic, looking and feeling more digital-led rather than human. One of the main values that was discussed in the brand workshops was the idea of being a human-centred brand for those looking for more support. We wanted to bring a sense of human connection into the brand, and so, the new mark successfully captures the idea of connection and care; it even evokes a socially distant embrace.
From there, we worked on further colour iteration and typography pairings; settling on a warm primary brand colour with a cooler secondary colour. Finally, we worked on creating a variety of applications that could vary in how bold they would be; depending on the channel and purpose. For example, cleaner applications for documents or content-heavy needs, and bolder applications for social media or places where a more visual impact was needed.
Once the WeWillRecover brand logo, colours, and typography were decided upon, we got to work building the site on Squarespace. Using Squarespace was a quick and clean way that worked well for not only displaying content but also allowing others to contribute content as well.
Finally, design and digital marketing worked closely to create brand guidelines and a tone of voice document, as well as community guidelines and content strategy guidelines, to deliver a holistic brand strategy that would help WeWillRecover transition into a self-governing community.
“Working with Martin and Natasha on WeWillRecover was a great experience. As a designer, I think it speaks volumes about the power of making something collectively; especially when motivated by a greater cause. It was one of those rare occasions where a small team that had never met before was able to come together very fast and make something quite significant. There were no egos at the table, decisions were made fast and without fear of getting things wrong. Because of this iteration, feedback, and, most of all, trust played a massive role in the success of the creation of the site. I can’t wait to see what it brings in the future.”
Stef Woznarowycz, UX Designer, After Digital
Once the initial brand and design concept was finalised, Activity Stream and After Digital’s marketing team worked on creating a content strategy that would complement the WeWillRecover site and its mission.
Initially, our marketing team ran a tone of voice workshop, which was important when building the WeWillRecover brand, as it allowed us to create a character from scratch and give the team guidance on how to use tone of voice in email newsletters, social media, and on their own site; providing a more consistent message.
Social media is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to connect with people and grow brand awareness on a global basis; which was arguably our most important goal. And so, we got to work on building a suitable social media strategy. The website encouraged industry professionals to create free content to help support the industry, so we wanted to keep costs down and focus on an organic social media strategy; using the features on LinkedIn and Twitter to publish content and direct traffic to the site. The strategy we created for WeWillRecover also allowed them to create a dialogue with their followers and encourage them to share the content; further spreading awareness of the cause. In the three short months that we have been active, we have grown our social media presence from the ground up, with over 400 engaged followers across Twitter and LinkedIn.
It was clear when creating a content strategy for WeWillRecover that we wanted to build an online community, and so, we set up a newsletter and Slack channel for those working in affected organisations to join and keep up to date with industry insights, share inspiring stories, and read the site’s most recent published content – helping them recover with support and within a like-minded community.
“As the arts and entertainment industry faces the biggest challenge in living history; partnership and collaboration have never been more important. So, when Martin contacted me asking if we wanted to be involved in this global initiative, there was no doubt in my mind, we were in!
I spoke to the team and asked for volunteers to help out and the response was incredible. Within a week, the team had gone above and beyond to create a brand new site, craft content, and deliver assistance on marketing. I hope the platform is one that will genuinely assist the industry in its recovery efforts and stimulate further collaboration. After all, we are all in this together. ”
David Johnstone, Managing Director, After Digital
We launched the WeWillRecover website and social media channels at the beginning of May, and have seen some great results within the first 3 months:
PAGE VIEWS in the first 3 months
UNIQUE VISITORS in the first 3 months
ENGAGED FOLLOWERS across Twitter and LinkedIn
“Collaborating with After Digital on such a valuable project was an enriching experience because it reminded us (at the time that we needed it the most) that we can find strength in ourselves and one another by being a part of a motivated, ambitious, and passionate team.
It was rewarding to be a part of a team that, not only, inspired each other to create a space dedicated to helping each organisation recover during a global crisis but to also sense urgency and the need for such a community.
There has been a lot of support from the WeWillRecover community and receiving messages like, ‘The content on the website is truly helpful’, ‘Thank you for all your work’, and ‘Keep up the good work’, affirms the importance of having an initiative like WeWillRecover. We are excited to continue to share the initiative with the determination and hopes of a bright outcome”
Martin Gammeltoft, CBO, Activity Stream
Much of our traffic (69%) has come directly, however, 9% of traffic has also come from our efforts on the professional networking site, LinkedIn.
Hundreds of industry professionals from around the globe have contributed to the WeWillRecover site by writing articles, producing videos, and hosting informative webinars that have truly helped many organisations on their road to recovery.
Has your market changed and now you need to resegment and differentiate your audience? Would you like to attract a new market with your offering? Or, do you just fancy a simple refresh of your existing brand? Please do get in touch with us!