Halcyon: "I Am Halcyon" Campaign

Situation/Challenge

Halcyon is a social impact and arts nonprofit launched in February 2017. It was birthed from a successful S&R Foundation program, Halcyon Incubator, which has incubated over 60 social impact ventures since 2014. Through mentorships, advising, funding, housing, and venture-funding opportunities, the newly formed organization catalyzes creatives striving to make the world a better place.

Our Strategic Approach

When Halcyon launched, it was relatively unknown, but had the backing of notable local influencers such as celebrity chef José Andrés, BET co-founder and philanthropist Sheila Johnson, and Bluemercury founder Marla Beck. Sage helped build a three-month social campaign — known as “I am Halcyon” — to activate these influential supporters.

The campaign comprised two tiers. The first involved partnering with influencers to give away experiences in an online contest, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit’s programs. For example, José Andrés donated a private dining experience for six guests across multiple D.C. restaurants in one evening, which was dubbed “Tour de José.” Mark Lowham of Sotheby’s donated an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, including a stay at a historic hotel, dinner at a Mario Batali restaurant, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Sotheby’s Auction House in New York. Participants simply had to donate $12 to Halcyon to be entered to win any one of these experiences.

The second tier of the campaign was focused on awareness. It sought to answer the questions, “Why are these notables, like Ben and Jerry, involved with Halcyon? Why do they believe in Halcyon, and why should I?” Through video interviews and engaging digital art, Sage told the stories of why the influencers so powerfully believed in this new organization, and why audiences should, too.

Sage created the concept, digital art, and a microsite for the initiative with a unique URL. We also conceived the two-tiered digital ad plan, targeting different audiences for the giveaways and the awareness posts. Additionally, Sage’s team wrote all associated copy, integrated the site with Halcyon’s donor software, and scheduled and managed all of the digital ads to ensure optimized impressions per dollar.

Results

Sage’s efforts led to a significant increase in donations, the highest number of new social followers, likes, shares and retweets in the organization’s history, and a dramatic increase in overall organizational awareness.