Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Challenge

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) was looking for a new way to tell its story following a major leadership transition. In recent years, it has created a new strategic plan and objectives, along with restructuring its marketing and development departments. Now, it needs a communications strategy that supports its overall organizational plan.

Insight

All successful communications strategies begin with the audience. PHS, like many other organizations of its size and history, has over 37 programs and just as many different audiences. Since very few organizations have unlimited time and money, it is almost impossible to effectively speak to all audiences at once. Like operations, finance, or HR, marketing communications needs discipline and focus to succeed. We worked with 10 members of the leadership team to identify multiple audiences and then focused in on the top two. Our team asked questions about their demographics, psychographics, pains, and value to PHS. The process took a single afternoon, and we were surprised at how aligned the leadership team was around the “who” of telling its story.

From there, we engaged the marketing communications team in a series of questions and exercises that help our Slice team better understand the future of PHS, its voice and tone, the competitive landscape, and everything happening outside the PHS doors that could impact the story or the audience. Following these activities, we then did our own research that includes audits of marketing materials, press materials, social media channels, website analytics, and email marketing efforts. We compared what we find there with what we hear through the discovery sessions.

Our Slice team then hosted a series of internal brainstorms to develop a messaging set, including positioning statement, point-of-view, and supporting messages. These form the foundation of any good story. We also developed campaign and promotions specifically intended to deliver the messaging set to the priority targeted audience.

Success

The output of our work, which is still in progress, is a 30-50 page strategic roadmap that provides guidance for PHS’ marketing communications activities in the next year and ensures they support the overall organizational goals. Working together, Slice and PHS have already brought focus and discipline to the organization so that there is clarity and alignment across the board. We look forward to rolling out the new story internally and externally in the coming months.