Helping a world-wide audience experience the wonder of nature.
Wilderness Awareness School (WAS) is a non-profit based in Duvall, WA that works to teach people of all ages the joys and benefits of recognizing the beauty of nature. They offer unique summer school courses for kids of all ages, weekend adult programs, and a nine-month survival course for adults that has seen several alumni featured on the Discovery Channel. We led a redesign of the school’s brand and online presence and currently lead all their marketing activities with ad design, print design, SEO, and social media.
Wilderness Awareness operated under five brands that were each developed separately or inconsistently from the primary brand.
- Wilderness Awareness School (outdoor education)
- The Awareness Society (philanthropy/fundraising)
- NatureSkills (article library)
- Kamana (self-paced skills course)
- Anake (intensive program)
We visited their land in Duvall, WA to understand the group’s mission and conduct our research. We reviewed their published materials; talked to their instructors, students, and elders; poured over online analytics, and even took part in one of their courses.
With a deep knowledge of our client’s goals and personality, we crafted a visual identity that was faithful to the original Wilderness Awareness brand but updated for clarity, flexibility, and a contemporary feel. Part and parcel of this visual identity was the creation of solid brand guidelines that specified typography, color, tone, and even photography techniques so every external communication would be instantly recognizable.
The assorted web sites each had a library of great content targeting slightly different but still overlapping audiences. To unite the audiences and build on the school's success, we performed a content audit across all sites and took care that articles and their SEO rankings were not lost.
We created the front-end design of the site to be vast and engaging regardless of the device the user was visiting through. We also wanted to focus users on specific tasks and content, letting the "chrome" of the site fade into the background.
To make the new web site a "one-stop-shop" and handle all the functionality expected of it, we decided that Drupal would be the ideal platform to facilitate:
- An online store
- Downloadable video subscriptions and e-books
- Class registration
- Class space management across multiple locations and session
We took care to make sure that the proposed information architecture would be flexible enough to be easy to navigate, but structured enough to allow content editors to focus on content and leave the presentation to us.
We approached WAS’s advertising the same way we do for most of our clients: making hypotheses to test, evaluating them, then refining, ad infinitum.
We ran test digital ads with ParentMap Magazine, a local publication aimed at families. From our A/B tests, we found—surprisingly—that the ads featuring landscape imagery performed better than those with pictures of children, and the biggest indicator of ad performance is whether or not the school’s Golden Teddy Award streak was called out.
With successful messaging established, we continue to experiment with alternatives, using originals as a control and measuring single variables with each iteration. The more data we gather, the more focused and effective our ads become.
D2’s approach to testing and refinement led to the surprising results that helped WAS reach all target application numbers. D2 continually adjusts its tactics to reinforce the school’s needs as certain classes fill up and other opportunities present themselves.