How a Willingness to Change Helped This Missions Organization Accelerate the Spread of the Gospel
Open Eyes is a global missions organization dedicated to accelerating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached and underserved. This message of hope is carried by the organization's "Mobile Messengers" — local leaders on the backs of a motorcycles — who are equipped for evangelism, church planting, and relief and development.
Scope of Work
- Organizational Strategy
- Core Messaging
- Brand Positioning
- Renaming and Rebranding
- Visual Identity
- Website Design
- Collateral Development
2020 was a milestone year for Open Eyes. Not only did the organization hire a new president to lead the organization, it was working hard to expand evangelism efforts in two brand new regions: Nepal and Syria. With this growth came a lot of organizational change — and even more questions.
To meet its goals, Open Eyes needed to get clear on its organizational strategy, address some long-sidelined brand challenges, and develop a donor engagement strategy that would carry Open Eyes through a season of rapid growth. Numerous questions needed concrete answers. Rethink Creative was recruited to lead the way.
To get the organization in the right state of mind, Rethink Creative led Open Eyes in a series of strategic exercises, including a live SWOT analysis. This exercise revealed numerous insights.
First, the organization had a lot of clout and influence. Second, Open Eyes’ founding after the unexpected death of the Harrisons’ son, James, made for a compelling origin story. Third, Open Eyes’ creative use of Mobile Messengers on motorcycles gave its evangelism model an edge. But there were also some hangups to address — mainly in the branding department.
At the time we began our engagement with Open Eyes, the organization was actually called With Open Eyes. This naming choice created a number challenges for the organization’s marketing team, not the least of which were an obvious “preposition problem” and the unfortunate “WOE woes.”
But beyond naming and visual identity, Open Eyes was also struggling with brand clarity. To deliver on its ambitious expansion goals and garner enough support from donors, Open Eyes would need to develop a laser-focused donor engagement strategy backed by strong brand messaging. Without this foundation, any marketing efforts that followed were likely to fail.
To the organization’s benefit, these functional weaknesses also created numerous opportunities for Open Eyes. A new commitment took root: This would be the year that Open Eyes expanded its donor base. This would be the year the organization got back in touch with its brand essence. And this would be Open Eyes’ opportunity to build a better, more scalable model for reaching the unreached.
Following Rethink Creative’s strategy workshop, the Open Eyes team identified five strategic imperatives that would set the course for the organization’s 2021 efforts and position it to grow over the next three years. Several actions fell under the branding and messaging umbrella.
First, Open Eyes and Rethink Creative would work together to define a strong brand voice, develop core messaging, and locate key opportunities for differentiation. This phase would also include rethinking the organization’s name (With Open Eyes) and revising its mission statement. Second, the team would collaborate to refresh the organization’s website, social media, and core marketing materials. There was a lot to look forward to.
Renaming the Organization
With clear objectives in mind, Rethink Creative got to work on the rebrand. First on the list? Dealing with that preposition problem. While early conversations entertained the idea of using a fresh, new name, it soon became clear that retaining the original concept and simply dropping the word “With” was a better move. The result was a much cleaner, more versatile name — “Open Eyes” — that still maintained continuity for the donor community.
Rethinking the Visuals
Crafting a Core Messaging Platform
With Open Eyes’ visual identity clearly defined, it was time to flesh things out through core messaging. The goal? To distinguish Open Eyes from other missions organizations and cultivate trust with donors by painting a consistent picture of Open Eyes and its work in the field.
Emphasizing the donor’s need to feel like they are making a meaningful difference, Open Eyes’ messaging platform elevated the organization’s commitment to reaching those who have never before encountered the Gospel. A revised purpose statement put this in plain language:
The messaging platform also helped distill Open Eyes’ missions for donors, boiling it down to three main concepts: Evangelism, Church Planting, and Relief and Development. Each of these concepts were tied directly to the funding of Mobile Messengers on motorcycles — easily one of the most intriguing aspects of the organization’s model for spreading the Gospel.
Fleshing out Brand Personality
Excited to build on the core messaging foundation, Rethink Creative turned its attention to drawing out Open Eyes’ brand personality. Conversations with Open Eyes’ core team revealed a brand personality that was hopeful, servant-hearted, intrepid, and intentional. Open Eyes staff led with their hearts — and that boundless optimism was what kept donors supporting the organization year after year.
To ensure all future marketing endeavors were a true reflection of Open Eyes’ character, Rethink Creative also identified a few tone cues the firm could use to ensure they were on target.
- We were born out of passion, hard work, and sacrifice; we understand that the most valuable pursuits are the intensely personal ones.
- We treat each donor with respect and honor them as individuals — building relationships, asking questions, and expressing care.
- We can be trusted to share real needs, report real outcomes, and be transparent in the way we handle our finances.
- We tell the truth about hardships and difficult situations.
- We believe there are good reasons to be joyful, hopeful, and grateful, and we want to help the donor experience the world in those ways as well.
- We always invite the donor into a story we believe in and that we believe they care about.
Brand Voice Examples
Telling a Better Story Online
With essential brand architecture in place, it was time to tell Open Eyes’ story by reworking the organization’s web presence and taking the new brand public. Rethink Creative started at the ground level, discussing creative ways to connect with donors online, walk them through the organization’s mission, vision, and organizational model, and carve out natural opportunities to secure financial support. The hook, “Hope Made Visible,” helped tie the web story together, addressing how Open Eyes responds to the call, “How can they hear, unless someone is sent?”
An entire section of the new website was dedicated to Open Eyes’ primary campaign: Vision2030. This page helped increase momentum for the campaign by sharing success stories from the field, explaining the organization’s framework for progress, and boldly declaring three ambitious goals:
Ongoing Creative Partnership
Since the rebrand and website launch, Rethink Creative has served as a long-term partner for Open Eyes, filling a strategic support role and managing creative marketing endeavors such as the production of flagship brochures. This has allowed Open Eyes to focus on its primary goal:
“Accelerating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached and underserved.”
The result of the Open Eyes rebrand, and the work that followed, was a grounded and more intentional missions organization. Not only did it help establish Open Eyes as a world-class organization, it created new points of connection with Open Eyes’ donor base and made it easier for passionate, generous people to become a part of the movement.
““The primary thing that differentiates Rethink is that they become part of your family; part of your team. There is collaboration, camaraderie, room for agreement and disagreement, and the end result is all the more effective. They own the mission and vision and make sure that the end goal and impact are delivered with great excellence.””