A strong brand strategy, a bold visual identity, a successful replenishment campaign, an effective investment case: our journey with GPE to transform education and inspire global change.
Hosted by the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works to ensure that every child receives a quality education. In 2019, GPE made a decision to align its brand with its new, more ambitious strategy of transforming educational systems in developing countries. GPE asked Blossom to re-envision its brand strategy and visual identity to reflect this shift in aspirations and position GPE as a leading actor in the fight to end the learning crisis. This request became an exciting journey, where Blossom helped GPE examine their purpose, their mission, vision, and values and how the organization was changing.
Through an extensive brand performance and landscape audit – including stakeholder outreach on brand perceptions, peer benchmarking and positioning analysis – Blossom developed a brand platform to reflect both GPE’s story and its new strategic direction. We translated this into a brand that emphasizes what GPE stands for rather than simply what it does.
The new brand strategy and platform gave rise to a renewed visual identity that captures GPE’s growth into a bold leader and embodies its lofty ambition to catalyze the transformation of the world’s educational systems.
Leaders motivate and inspire people rather than simply inform them. For this reason, we abbreviated the name Global Partnership for Education in the acronym GPE, and we added the tagline “Transforming Education”, which embodies GPE’s approach and characterizes its ambition and convictions.
The brand visual concept centers on GPE’s high strategic ambitions and underscores the focus and persistence with which GPE works to end the learning crisis. An arrow pointing up is the key symbol in GPE’s logo, created by rotating the central part of the letter “E” 45 degrees clockwise. Blue, standing for stability and knowledge, and emerald green, expressing life and hope, are combined to create a unique and distinctive color scheme to distinguish GPE from other brands in the education field.
We then developed the whole visual identity that was applied to stationary, internal and external communication material, website and social media.
After developing GPE’s brand identity, Blossom was asked to define the creative concept and develop the media outreach strategy for the replenishment campaign, co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Kenya, and aiming to raise $5 billion by 2021. The main task was to link GPE to the idea that education is one of the most important drivers of progress, and that, by funding it, world leaders can really make a difference.
After developing a global stakeholder mapping and an audience analysis identifying the primary and secondary targets to be reached, we defined a Global Campaign Plan. This included media planning and key country-specific plans. The challenge was to both convince world leaders about the importance to fully fund GPE and reassure them that funding education was a popular move, by creating a mass campaign. The campaign concept would have to be able to speak both to the main public and global leaders. Plans were laid for an ambitious campaign based around events, media outreach and social media in more than a dozen countries. Then COVID-19 hit. The whole campaign had to be reworked to move entirely online. Creating specific communication tools, their adaptation to national audiences and geographic contexts and the definition of the corresponding dissemination channels still was the challenge, but now all this had to be done virtually.
The strategy has proved effective: we were able to generate awareness in the main public, with champions and influencers getting engaged with the campaign and driving the attention towards the topic of Education as a crucial global issue. World leaders like Boris Johnson and celebrities like Didier Drogba were also involved, publicly joining the campaign during its launching phase.
A Global Campaign needs a strong creative concept, able to translate the value proposition into an engaging, appealing and convincing argument. The creative concept Blossom developed is centered around a simple, yet powerful message: Raise Your Hand. A hand raised is a common gesture with a strong meaning. It represents concepts such as solution, answer, presence, courage, taking a position and “stepping up”, “wanting in”, adhering to a movement. It is a positive gesture that challenges others to match the courage, a gesture within which any leader can easily recognize him/herself. And, of course, it forms a direct link with the world of education.
Based on this, we developed and filmed two main videos. In the first, emotional one, an African girl, sitting at a school desk and inspired by the examples of extraordinary changemakers, takes the courage to raise her hand, making an important gesture: the first step towards a better future. This first video was used to launch the campaign and aimed at introducing the concept of “Raise your Hand” without yet revealing GPE’s work in detail, but rather showing how any change can start with a powerful act and how therefore, the future of millions of children depends on the will of global leaders to take action towards education.
The second one, shot in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire and narrated by the former soccer player Didier Drogba, was launched during the second phase of the campaign. Its aim was to show world leaders the urgency of funding education. Four stories of GPE-driven empowerment are told, interspersed by a ringing bell: an urgent call for focusing on children’s future.
The two main videos were the main drivers of the creativity, applied consistently to all the communication tools, disseminated throughout the campaign phases.
Music and aid: a great classic. Something that simply had to be in GPE’s Replenishment campaign. Hands go up and hips, legs and heads start moving to the beat of the brand new song, ‘Raise Your Hand’, conceived by Blossom and produced in collaboration with music legend, Youssou N’Dour and Afro-pop stars, Reekado Banks, Teni the Entertainer and Nomcebo Zikode (the singer who lent her voice to the hit song, ‘Jerusalema’), performed with the London Community Gospel Choir.
Touching on the campaign’s key issues and accompanied by an engaging and catchy tune, the song aims to reach a mainstream audience and spread the message as widely as possible that education is the key to building a future for the generations to come.
In the video, the raised hand becomes the main element around which a sweeping choreography has been devised and danced by professionals, children and teachers from all over the world, who are then brought together by animated graphics that amplify the movements and create a strong visual connection. Dance was chosen as the main element of the video for its ability to create engagement and go viral. In fact, the video’s choreography becomes the basis for a social media challenge, which aims to turn ‘Raise Your Hand’ into a hit that is danced around the world.
We developed a digital and traditional media outreach campaign.
The first one aimed to translate the campaign’s concept, ‘Raise Your Hand’, into digital tools, to create awareness and engagement. The core of the strategy revolved around organic and paid distribution of static and animated contents. We developed a digital tool, where users were invited to create ‘the longest arm ever’ in an engaging social media challenge.
Another step of the campaign included engaging celebrities with huge social media followings to raise their hand and encourage their followers to do the same. Thanks to this strategy, we obtained impressive results: organic and paid social distribution resulting in over 5,000 percent engagement increase for GPE’s social channels. Dozens of decision makers, policy leaders and influencers raised their hands. This led to millions of content views and an arm several kilometers long.
In the traditional media outreach campaign, we created positive and effective narratives to support and explain the need for replenishment. Strategies were prepared to support donor and advocacy needs in specific countries around the world; and support given to the communications team to build messaging, media relations and content. As COVID-19 limited reporting options, Blossom led the building of global media partnerships (paid and free) on key platforms.
We supported GPE in designing and writing the Investment Case, helping the organization to find the most compelling way to show the results and the positive impact of GPE funding and work in partner countries. Blossom created a layout following the campaign concept and visual identity, highlighting the most relevant data and information to ensure an easy read and an intuitive understanding of the content.