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One of Michigan’s oldest faith-based landmarks is re-positioned for revival.

Bringing history alive is one of my favorite things. Colleague Dwight Gibson introduced me to the Simpson Park Camp Meeting Grounds’ administration and Board of Directors. They were grappling with sagging revenues and a desire to re-cast their vision. They knew they had a strong heritage to leverage, and they also had a keen sense of the future.

In the mid 1800s throughout the Northern and Southern U.S. the phenomena of camp meetings paralleled a wave of spiritual revival. Simpson Park is Michigan’s oldest such continually-operated camp, recognized by the Michigan Historic Sites registry.

Simpson Park is named for Bishop Matthew Simpson, Abraham Lincoln’s trusted spiritual advisor and confidant. The heritage of Simpson’s era and the integrity of his contemporaries still lives strong here.

We began a two year re-imagination process. It started with a strategic communication plan, which we completed in two months. While segmenting the existing constituency, we identified new audiences, growth markets and new paths to invigorate revenue. We uncovered some curious behaviors among their audience spheres. Some visitors acted more like members, while some members acted more like visitors. This led us to important conclusions that helped shape our vital marketing behaviors.

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We created a new brand identity and began rolling it out across all communication channels. We began developing a campus-wide signage and wayfinding plan for long-term implementation.

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We had an important opportunity to convey the unique character of this special place. Two days of on-site photography and video by Jimi Allen and crew yielded the world-class results that Jimi is well-known for. Great photography breathes life into ideas, strategy and brand positioning.

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In early 2012 we began rolling out all new web and print. A new content-managed web site is now allowing Simpson Park staff to update their own site without the need for a third-party intermediary, improving their image while bringing previously outsourced tasks in house. Randal Weidenaar led the web implementation and Jessica Baer contributed to print design.

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