Case Study

Client: Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation

The Purple Heart Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The organization provides support to veterans and their families though grants, outreach programs and donations to organizations with programs that help veterans.

The Challenge

The Purple Heart Foundation’s reputation took a hit when the organization received an “F” from the Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report in 2008. After making changes to its leadership team and adjusting financial reporting practices, the organization still could not shake the bad rap. They also grappled with an identity crisis —unable to clearly distinguish themselves from the Order or other veterans organizations due to a confusing, inconsistent and stale brand, leaving the foundation unsure how to communicate its brand to the veteran community, the public and potential major donors.

In early 2014, the Purple Heart Foundation hired Pushkin Public Relations to improve its messaging, update its brand identity and create strategies to reach its target audiences.

The Solution

We conducted a communication review that included stakeholder interviews, a PR and marketing evaluation and a social media audit that assessed public awareness and sentiment. The review provided a broad perspective of the organization and revealed that it lacked a cohesive brand, suffered from poor internal communication, and had fallen behind on its marketing and public relations activities. We used this information to develop an integrated, multi-channel brand strategy and a new messaging platform.

  • We developed a clear, consistent messaging platform that emphasizes the organization’s key differentiators: order and heritage, programs and services for the home front, and core values such as honor, sacrifice and commitment.
  • We simplified the visual brand, updated the corporate identity, and created a set of graphic standards. 
  • We designed a website (www.purpleheartfoundation.org) with an updated look, better functionality, valuable information and copy that incorporates the new messaging.
  • We created a short video of Purple Heart recipients telling personal stories and discussing how Purple Heart Foundation programs and services have benefited them. 
  • We developed a new corporate sponsorship brochure to reflect the new messaging and updated look.  
  • We developed a social media strategy to share information about the Purple Heart Foundation’s work and positive impact, to reach out to younger veterans and their families and to provide resources for veterans adjusting to civilian life.
  • We created an editorial calendar with monthly themes that guide the type of content we create, from press releases to blog posts and social media updates. 
  • We launched a national earned media campaign including multiple press releases, quarterly Mat releases, and media pitches focused on the organization’s annual convention in Denver during Purple Heart Day in August.

The Results

During our first year, we sent out two Mat releases that each totaled more than 1,1000 placements around the country. We worked with local media and garnered 658 positive media placements about the Purple Heart's annual meeting, including placements in The Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio, KOA radio, and an Associated Press story that ran nationwide.

By developing clear, consistent messaging, a cohesive brand image and using storytelling to highlight the virtues of the organization, we have helped the Purple Heart Foundation begin to mend their damaged reputation and reach a new generation of veterans and donors. 

As we begin our second year working with this organization, we are helping them develop a signature program, obtain large donors and national corporate sponsorships and streamline and enhance their online presence.

Videos

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