CASE STUDY

CLIENT
Church Extension Plan

MARKET
Financial ministry

PROGRAM
Brand refresh

Build recognition for financial services.

Church Extension Plan, a financial ministry serving the Assemblies of God fellowship, needed a refreshed, bold presence at a fellowship conference. The long-term goal is to communicate the scope of services provided, capture more investors, and provide loans to more churches.

Audience

Assemblies of God fellowship, Christian investors.

Challenge

Although 60 years of financial ministry has helped more than 2,400 churches grow, Church Extension Plan is often confused with their primary competitor. A major fellowship conference, General Council, was a launch point for new positioning.

The existing booth needed to be refreshed. A giveaway bag had been chosen to draw attention and booth traffic. Current literature was out of date and needed to be replaced with simple information pieces. The goal was to create quick recognition of CEP’s services, since many constituents didn’t realize CEP offered investments in addition to church loans.

Church Extension Plan’s range of financial services can be challenging to introduce and explain to a wide range of audiences with different expectations. Pastors want to know about church loans and refinancing or other ministry services. Individuals might know about the investments or retirement accounts but not the loans or Will and Estate Planning services.

We started by leveraging the points of choice where audiences already connect with Church Extension Plan, and then developed campaigns and communication tools to reflect the mission and purpose of the ministry, while resonating with the target audiences.

Optimized

New communication tools introduced at the conference brought fresh attention to CEP’s financial services, while delivering quick-to-recognize details about investments, retirement accounts, church loans and refinancing. Direct mail to pastors and to investors before and after the conference, supported by email and landing pages, drove recipients to the booth and online for financial tools. Ads placed in General Council publications tied into the booth panels, and a simple roll-fold brochure was a low-cost, interactive handout.

Following the conference, direct mail and email campaigns were designed to reach pastors who might be seeking loans. To reach potential investors, the good rate of return was used as a key selling point in direct mail, advertising and special landing pages and web content. Ads in district publications and Christian magazines include specific URLs to track response.

Sharing the stories of ministry support

We also knew the best way to tell CEP’s story is in the words of those they have helped. Partners magazine was developed to profile happy investors and share real life stories of ministries helped by CEP. The magazine format was chosen as a less formal piece than a brochure. As a magazine, it will easily connect with everyone from the “pew-sitter” to investors, pastors and district leadership.

By bringing all of the services to life with testimonials and photos, one engaging publication lets every audience know what CEP has to offer. Incorporating helpful investment tips and guidelines for planning a will, as well as online budgeting tools, the magazine becomes a sharable resource for anyone who sees or reads it.

Components

For the conference:

  • Direct mail invitation for pastors, supported by emails and landing pages
  • Small handout brochure showcasing CEP’s range of services
  • An updated panel for the existing booth
  • New panels for the booth structure
  • Tote bag as a conference giveaway
  • Handout for the budget planning worksheet tool for pastors
  • Advertising in the conference publication
  • Most materials were produced in Spanish, too

Ongoing marketing communications:

  • Direct mail campaign to promote loans and refinancing
  • Direct mail campaign targeted to potential investors
  • Email campaign to reach investors
  • Website redesign and content
  • Brochure to support Wills and Estate Planning seminars
  • Web content updates and SEO tactics
  • Partners magazine
  • Companeros magazine

Results

At the conference, CEP received many compliments and new inquiries, primarily for investments. The financial tools on the website also continue to generate traffic and overall web traffic continues to increase.

Within the first few weeks of distribution of Partners, new investment accounts were opened and compliments such as “this is the best piece CEP has ever done,” were received. In fact, the pastor featured on the cover commented, “I didn’t know you offered investments until I read the magazine!”

Awards

  • General Council Promotional Bag: Ninth Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards, 2011, Imprinted Materials: Gold
  • Investment Mailer: Ninth Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards, 2011, Direct Mail: Silver
  • Overview Brochure: Ninth Annual Service Industry Advertising Awards, 2011, Brochure: Merit

I’ve been extremely impressed with how quickly [Creative Company has been] able to acclimate to our culture, vision and priority points. You are doing this with focus and energy, and great teamwork.

—Mark Whitney, Vice President of Marketing, Church Extension Plan

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