Re-positioning a mature brand to increase brand relevance.
Junior Achievement is a registered charity that operates in over 100 countries. Since 1950, JA has partnered with corporations to bring in-class experiential learning to over 4MM Canadian students in grades 4 to 12. Boston Consulting Group has confirmed JA’s impact showing, for example:
• JA alumni are three times more likely to hold middle and senior manager positions
• JA alumni are 50% more likely to own their own business
• JA Central Ontario is the largest Canadian Chapter and the organization engaged HALO Brand Leadership to develop strategies and campaigns to increase its fundraising capabilities
As a first step HALO recommended stakeholder research and moderated focus groups that confirmed that JA was seen to be a relevant and important cause, especially for large financial institutions that currently make up the bulk of their donor base. In particular, retail banks like to sponsor JA”s financial literacy program as it enables them to make an impact with customers in their local communities. It also provides their employees with an opportunity to volunteer, making JA a highly sought after CSR partner in the financial sector.
After almost 50 years, however, JA had become a mature brand. Many potential corporate partners had no idea that JA was a charitable organization that relied entirely on donations to fund its programs. Still others were quick to point to the organization’s long-standing partnership with banks and insurance companies as a sign that JA was not for them. To grow fundraising, JA Central Ontario had to change perceptions by increasing its relevance to a wider range of businesses.
Armed with these insights, HALO recommended that JA Central Ontario re-position its brand as a compelling cause to companies that operates both inside and outside of the traditional financial services sector. We leveraged an insight from an international study that shows in the era of globalization, of the 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada tops the list for educated people living in poverty. Youth unemployment is affecting Canada’s competitiveness and this is a relevant social issue for all Canadians and in particular senior business leaders. We recommended that JA Central Ontario prioritize its entrepreneurial programs as a strategy to demonstrate it is a highly relevant cause for today’s youth who are facing unprecedented levels of unemployment.
"Self-employment is the only solution to this economic crisis and we estimate that 1 in 5 Canadians will be their own boss in 10 years. Canada needs more entrepreneurs and JA Central Ontario is uniquely positioned to grow and support them.”
Benjamin Tal, Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets
To meet the CSR needs of a wider range of prospective donors and, to enable the organization to re-approach companies who may have rejected it in the past, HALO recommended a new brand promise for the organization as the starting place for a fully integrated communications program – “JA sparks the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadian youth”. Backed by Boston Consulting Group research that proves JA alumni make businesses large and small more competitive, JA Central Ontario has begun to shift the perceptions of business leaders making it clear that they are a not-for-profit that is driving social change that benefits all Canadians. Armed with a new suite of online and offline support materials and new key messages created by HALO, JA Central Ontario has increased the relevance of its brand and is poised for revenue growth.