Everyone is thinking it. Why print when you can publish on a screen? The question comes up whenever we design an annual report, event materials or membership collateral. Each time we start a new donor campaign, plan holiday greetings or consider advertising.
For Ludlow6, the choice between “traditional” printed matter and digital manifestations of a client’s messaging begins with an understanding of what the client hopes to achieve and how.
Print and digital each have their own advantages, so we assess the strengths of each, determine how to use them strategically, and lay out an overall communication strategy that ultimately leverages their benefits.
Permanence: Long life span and visibility on-site and in the home.
Credibility: Published work offers an element of legitimacy (or value) to ideas, places and people.
Engagement: A deep level of commitment and immersion in the material.
Sensory Experience: Holding a document in your hands becomes a memorable experience. The feel of paper, the use of print techniques to visually engage your readers can make a lasting impression.
Speed: Instantaneous availability.
Cost: While the upfront cost may be high, but long term costs may be minimal.
Tracking and Analytics: Analytic feedback can help organizations target and optimize communications.
Virality: Readers are able to share “upworthy” links and images with their social community.
Action: What action do I want audiences to take and what is the most direct way to motivate them to act? What is the quickest line from my request to their action?
Engagement: How does my audience prefer to engage with me?
Relationship: What is the long-term relationship I want to have with this constituent? How does this reinforce that ideal relationship?
Experience: How does the medium fit the message? To what extent does the screen experience or the tactical experience inform their experience with our organization and its values?
Sharing: How share-able, share-worthy, share-necessary is the information I am providing? What is the best share outcome?
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a part of Montefiore Medical Center, is a premier, research-intensive medical school. In all of the College’s outreach and fundraising activities, we see two common elements:
Engagement: They strive to create direct, personal and meaningful engagements with their audience.
Relationship: They strive to build life-long, generation-to-generation relationships with its donors. These are entrenched relationships in which donors generously give throughout their lives and beyond.
When the college embarked on its $500 million capital campaign they determined that a printed case statement would be the most compelling call to action.
Action: Inspire giving at a high level.
Experience: A key design goal was to visually portray the dynamism and optimism of the college. We achieved this with the use of multiple photos and bright colors in lively page layouts. This was a major fundraiser by the university to build the college’s future.
Sharing across Mediums: Initially presented at a campaign gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York, the printed piece was completed by a video, made available for download on their website. However, the greatest impact comes from delivering document directly to donors rather than requiring them to download or read it online.
For the first time in its history, a woman was elected as Chairperson of the Board of Overseers of the college. The Board decided to hold a Gala to both honor Ruth L. Gottesman’s new position and to create a major fundraising event for the college.
Action: Initiate giving and honor an achievement.
Experience: Event journals accompany most major fundraising events to serve as documentation of the event as well as a way of recognizing donors and participants. This journal is strategically different in that each of the 54 board members was spotlighted with a full-page portrait and a full-page profile. These portraits put a face on the many people who significantly contribute and provide guidance to the college and are generally only found in lists of names. These hefty, 252 page books became memorable keepsakes and a point of pride for Board members.
Sharing: Event participants were highly motivated to share the campaign book with friends and family because of the quality of the piece, and the beautiful, professionally photographed profiles. These became the highlight of the event, with every participant eager to take theirs home and share with their personal, social network.
From the time of its creation in 1955, the quality and impact of the research performed by the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been extraordinary. When a new Dean was appointed for Einstein, he determined that “because of a convergence of external and internal factors the College needed to evaluate the status and direction of its research programs. Einstein must respond to these challenges and opportunities with a thoughtful and visionary strategic plan that strengthens existing research and paves the way for a productive expansion of resources and talent.” The plan is a ten-year effort to enhance the college’s position as a major force in biomedical research in the 21st century.
Action: Initiate change and create a path for growth.
Experience: The significance of this strategic plan dictated that it be presented as an impactful printed document powerful enough to be relevant for a number of years and bold enough to stand out from similar strategic plans produced by other research institutions. The impact of this document could not be replicated on a website.
Sharing: The physical document is literally able passed along from hand to hand and available to reference during meetings among key players. As a discussion piece, it is critical in its physical share-ability.
“Ludlow6 has been our choice as the strategic partner for our large-scale, highly important event and research publications. They have had a great impact on our fundraising and with the elevation of Einstein’s visibility with our donors, in our college community and with other medical research institutions.”
Creative Director, Einstein College of Medicine