YWAM MERCY VIETNAM
YWAM Mercy Vietnam has been working in and around Hanoi, Vietnam for over 18 years. They asked us to help them rebrand their organization and update their communication strategy. They wanted help building more meaningful connections with new and existing donors. YWAM Mercy Vietnam works to alleviate poverty by providing access to opportunities to those who need it most. Their programs are run by the local government with program design, oversight, and accountability provided by YWAM Mercy Vietnam. Their programs include assistance to children and families, business trainings, micro loans, and environmental projects.
Everyone Deserves Opportunity
We traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to spend time listening to their organizational story. We got to hear the details of how and why they started the organization and how they operate. As we listened, we realized that everything they did could be traced back to one core principle, opportunity. They believe that everyone, no matter their economic or social status, deserves the same opportunities to provide for their family, educate their children, and receive care and protection.
Every human being understands the idea of opportunity. We all have been given certain opportunities and denied others. In building the YWAM Mercy Vietnam brand we endeavored to build a connection between the people YWAM is serving and YWAM’s audience, who is being invited to help.
We realized, while they had many different programs running in many different geographical locations, these programs really fit into four main categories.
- Children and Families
- Economic Empowerment
- Business Development
- Environment and Sanitation
Organizing their work into these core program areas makes it easier for the reader to grasp what they do. It also provides a point of reference for stories they share in the future, allowing the audience to see exactly where each smaller program or project fits into the big picture of the organization.
We worked with YWAM Mercy Vietnam on both message branding and visual branding. We helped them clarify how they want to be seen and helped them come up with guidelines for branding consistency through all their communication.
While in Hanoi, we spent time out in the communities where YWAM works, capturing the stories of the people directly benefiting from YWAM’s programs. Our goal was to document their methods and successes through the stories of these people. When listening to YWAM”s staff describe their work, and the things they felt were most successful, we quickly realized that they saw their success in the faces and names of people who had successfully worked their way out of poverty.
We knew a successful communication strategy would revolve around telling these stories well. These stories have the power to build a connection with YWAM’s audience and inspire their donor base. We settled on 12 stories. Three stories were chosen for each of YWAM’s core program areas. Two stories in each program area were told as long form photo essays and one was told as a short film.
Our approach in capturing the photography for this project was very intentional and specific. We wanted to accurately and intimately portray what life was like for the people YWAM was serving. The programs that YWAM operates provide training and opportunities for people to succeed. We wanted to portray the subjects as successful, confident people who had overcome adversity and succeeded in creating a better life for them and their families.
We wanted the focus to be on the individual and have the photographs pull you into their world. Each photo was chosen to create the feeling of a personal intersection between the life of the subject and the audience. To accomplish this we used a wide angle lens pushed in close to the subject, and a telephoto lens to compress the scene and capture close, personal portraits of the subjects.
We created four storytelling films, and one organizational overview film, for YWAM Mercy Vietnam. We worked with YWAM’s staff to select the best subjects for each film that best demonstrated the work YWAM was doing in each of their core project areas. We spent time listening to each subject’s story, clarifying the facts, and understanding their relationship with YWAM.
We produced the script, planned shot lists, and worked with YWAM staff on logistics and time tables.
Our approach for these films was similar to the photography in that we wanted to build connection and help the audience understand why each person was in need of YWAM’s help and how their life had changed as a result of their relationship with YWAM. In order to maintain a consistent feel across all their media we again used a wide angle lens pushed in close and a telephoto lens to provide the shots that help the audience feel closer to the subject.
The new website for YWAM Mercy Vietnam is the delivery mechanism for all the work mentioned above. The site is designed to take all the complexity of what they do make it easily understandable to the viewer. We wanted the site to communicate:
- What they do
- Why they do it
- How they are successful
- How people can get involved in their work
We aimed to make the site easy to absorb quickly. We know every second counts when someone visits a website. The copy was kept as concise as possible and graphical elements and stories were added to help people connect the projects with the people benefiting from the programs.