Cause & Effectiveness (Conclusion)

[October 16, 2009]

The National Wildlife Federation site I reviewed in my previous post delivers a coherent message in a relatively engaging package. Yet its tidy, modular construction lacks the drama associated with the forces of nature. Undoubtedly, that’s intentional. The site’s goal is to make the concept of wildlife accessible, more like a Disney character than an eons-old survivor of tooth, claw and infestation.

Emotion at the core…
Greenpeace takes a different approach, plunging visitors right into the issues with its dynamic home page marquee. Coupled with a distribution strategy enabling users to subscribe to “GreenpeaceVideo” on YouTube, this visually striking content expands the reach of the site, giving the user experience more dimension.

Many of the interior pages, however, have all the visual appeal of a typical high school year book. Despite well-conceived content, I suspect only the most devoted will spend more than a few minutes on the site at a time.

…articulated & supported…
By contrast, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Live Strong (the Lance Armstrong Foundation site) create a motivating user experience by merging their strategic, design and content choices into a distinct “personality profile.”

Like the American Diabetes Association, Susan G. Komen for the Cure enables users to choose their path through the site. It does so, however in the context of an umbrella theme, “Join the Global Breast Cancer Movement.” By establishing a broader context for the site’s content, it creates a sense of arrival, reassuring people that they’ve come to the right place.

Supporting that sense are carefully integrated profiles of cancer sufferers, survivors and healthcare professionals. Yet the site’s attention to architecture and message still leaves plenty of room for the detailed information craved by “active seekers.” The site also owes its impact to Copy that respects its audience’s intelligence, as it offers a voice of reason in the eye of an emotional storm.

…by integrating key elements.
Another fine example of tight integration between message, architecture, design and copy is Live Strong. Here, life-affirming color, artfully cropped photography and an invitingly colloquial tone create an immediate sense of belonging. On key pages, the inventive marquee gathers diverse imagery into a unified graphic style. Underlying these images is “Live Strong,” the call to action to which all site content relates.

This two-word phrase summarizes a philosophy addressing both a cancer sufferer’s will to survive and an individual’s route to cancer prevention. No empty show of bravura, this philosophy is defined by the discrete steps it encourages users to take.

Like Susan B. Komen for the Cure, Live Strong is among the most motivating cause marketing sites I’ve seen—precisely because it’s also among the most human. By banishing marketing speak and coy set pieces “From the President’s Desk,” both sites address real concerns of real people in real time—not to score points in Google Analytics, but to make a priceless human connection.


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Mark Laporta

Writer, Creative Consultant
New York, NY




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