National Cherry Blossom Festival


Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of spring in Washington, D.C. and the blooming of the city’s world-famous flowering cherry trees. The festival, which is known as the nation’s greatest springtime celebration, produces and coordinates a variety of events that are free and open to the public.

The 2012 festival marked the 100th anniversary of the gift of trees from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. Festival organizers knew attendees, sponsors and participating organizations had high expectations for the 2012 celebration and needed to create a presence for the festival with branding and messaging that reflected the theme of the 2012 event—“Celebrating 100 Years of the Gift of Trees.” The goal of the project was to create a consistent, recognizable brand image and message to elevate awareness and participation for the centennial festival.

Sage acted as a strategic marketing partner holding kick-off messaging workshops with stakeholders and organizers to establish a solid brand platform as the foundation for all of the creative tools and outreach materials. Throughout the process, Sage worked closely with the festival team, maintaining constant communication and attending weekly staff meetings and conference calls. Rather than acting as an outside consultant, we became a true extension of the team.

Sage produced collateral material for approximately 15 festival events, including invitations, programs, flyers, signage, gobos (a logo projected on a wall), PowerPoint templates, animated presentations (to visually enhance performances), and web graphics. Sage handled content management for the festival’s website, entering in all event information and provided guidance for aligning the website to the new brand guidelines. We also recommended changes to the calendar function to improve the user experience.

In addition, Sage also wrote the content and managed the production process with the Washington Examiner for a 40-page festival guide as well as 3-4 page newspaper wraps that served as advertorial sections on the outside of the paper. Lastly, Sage managed a traffic schedule for advertisements going out almost daily for the duration of the festival. Content changed with each insertion to stay current with festival events and push timely messages.