Ahmed and Debra Islam founded the Gabriel’s Horn Foundation to increase awareness and treatment of autism in the African-American and Latino communities. Driven by their own son’s autism, their goals are to eliminate of the discrepancy in the age of diagnosis for autism between white children (ages 2 to 3) and African-American and Hispanic children (ages 6 to 7), and to lessen the stigma around autism and mental debility within those communities.
Their first website was little more than a placeholder and its effectiveness, even as a temporary solution, was limited. Messaging was unclear, there was no real branding and, of greater concern now that more than 75 percent of all Americans over 18 access content on both desktop and mobile devices, it did not work well on all platforms. In addition, security was inadequate and the site had, in fact, been hacked more than once.
Birk Creative conducted extensive research into autism, itself, and the audiences that the foundation targeted. Birk Creative determined which social media channels would be most effective in terms of not only delivering the foundation’s message, but to find others that would champion the mission and partner with the Gabriel’s Horn Foundation to deliver it.
A value proposition was created and a brand promise articulated: Raising awareness. Empowering families. Closing the gap. Content was developed strategically to be robust and drive SEO. The story around the founders’ purpose in creating the Gabriel’s Horn Foundation was utilized to engage the targeted communities. Creating the new website on the WordPress platform enabled the organization to create content, themselves, as well as update the site and add features as needed. Security was also increased substantially.
Content is supported by trusted governmental resources and validated by three verifiable sources. Ahmad Islam is a board member of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public, and that relationship was leveraged, as well.
Google analytics were utilized to make the website even more viable in terms of gathering and processing information around behaviors and insights in order to improve the visitor experience and provide Gabriel’s Horn Foundation with useful data.
provide such information as how many visitors arrived at the site through Google queries, where those visitors came from and how many landed on specific posts or pages. They also reveal the most significant search keywords and how Google indexes the site.
Meta-tags were incorporated into the code of each page to communicate with search engines and drive traffic to those pages, and the site, itself. Tracking is now available so that information about page requests, and the means through which those inquiries were made, can be utilized by the organization to proactively edit, update or add new information.
The Final Results
The social media program sparked timely and robust conversations around the foundation’s work, and engagement through those platforms increased over 600%. Within a short time the new website had elicited positive responses from people both within and outside of the autism community. The organization is seen as an expert voice and is frequently contacted about participation in community outreach programs and speaking engagements.
“Birk Creative’s outstanding customer service and a deep understanding of effective and cross channel marketing and branding is what sets them apart from other creative agencies we’ve worked with in the past” says founder Ahmad Islam. “They wanted to understand our family, which informed their creative approach with our brand redevelopment. Birk Creative also “gets” how important it is to have a multichannel DIGITAL strategy is with a brand. As a result, they created a sustainable social media strategy that continues to garner tremendous results in new followers, engagement, shares and likes on our Facebook and Twitter channels. The lively conversations, positive energy and smiles-while-you-work attitude is also a standout feature of working with Birk Creative. The best part of my experience with Birk Creative is that through the process, I had the confidence to let them lead. And the results speak for themselves.” Ahmad Islam, Founder, Gabriel’s Horn Foundation