When agency work feels more like a mission.

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Making a difference.

It’s a powerful motivator. Positive change is the primary goal of most of our clients—whether encouraging healthier behaviors, job growth, financial literacy, sustainable communities, and more. It’s the kind of work that feels more like a mission than a job.

Like our recent work with Reading Works, a Detroit-based nonprofit dedicated to improving adult literacy. Reading Works collaborates with community impact partners like Focus Hope and Southwest Solutions to teach adults to read so that they can enjoy a better life and greater opportunities.

The cause is critically important.  One in three adults in Metro Detroit reads below a sixth grade level—twice as bad as the national average. The problem of low literacy is even worse in Detroit where it impacts 40 percent of adults.

Adult illiteracy casts a long shadow. Children of low-literacy parents are 87 percent more likely to be growing up in poverty. When adults learn to read well, it’s life changing. Increased adult literacy corresponds to decreased poverty, decreased crime, reduced overall health care burden, increased child literacy, long-term economic growth and increased per-capita income.

Moreover, improving adult literacy is key to Detroit’s revival. A great workforce, robust neighborhoods and confident children succeeding in the classroom depend on it.

Still, adult illiteracy is overshadowed by other causes. And most people aren’t aware of the magnitude of the problem, according to a recent informal Brogan Talks to Women survey. Nor are they familiar with Reading Works.

  • 40 percent are surprised to learn that one in three adults in Detroit read below sixth grade level.
  • 12 percent have heard of Reading Works.

But people are ready to lean in and learn more. They’re especially interested in its impact on poverty, job skills, crime and community revitalization. Of the 133 respondents surveyed:

  • 96 percent agree or strongly agree that adult literacy is “critical to addressing employment, education…healthcare, citizenship, incarceration and neighborhood revitalization.”
  • 89 percent are compelled by the fact that children of low literacy adults are far more likely to grow up in poverty.
  • 87 percent are motivated by the statement “adults who achieve reading proficiency qualify for better jobs that can move their children and families out of poverty.”

These insights helped inform our creative strategy to bolster awareness and spark action, beginning with a short video to frame the issue. The video was launched earlier this month as part of Reading Works’ bid to win up to $100,000 from A Community Thrives.

Take a look and let us know your thoughts. (And vote for Reading Works through May 12, 2017.) We’ll be reshaping this creative for other channels to connect with volunteers and donors. For more of our social marketing work, visit our portfolio.

Healthcare Checkup - December 2016

Tis the season for giving, forging connections and the flu? Yes, that’s right. Let’s take a look.

Give: Rethink Breast Cancer has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products to gift one-by-one or send curated packages to loved ones diagnosed with breast cancer.

Connections: Celebrity endorsements may seem like a trend of the past, but they are still used in several marketing campaigns today. And believe it or not, Millennials are sticking with their pediatricians well into adulthood.

Flu: While the flu season is in full swing, Uber is making it more convenient for consumers interested in receiving the flu shot. See here.


Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care. The young women’s breast cancer movement has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products that help friends diagnosed with breast cancer get through the tough time ahead.

Healthcare marketing: Do celebrities still resonate? As we’ve recently seen in the latest Cigna TV spot, celebrities definitely capture our attention. (Especially when Dr. McDreamy is talking to us.) But, does this marketing tactic still resonate?

Millennials are sticking with pediatricians into adulthood. From 2002 to 2012, pediatric office visits by patients 19 and older grew from less than a million to 2.4 million.

Flu season driving you nuts? There's an app for that: #UberForHealth. The ride-sharing enterprise advertised their new promotional effort.


Everything marketers need to know about paid search. How many times have you searched for something online? How many of those times did you search from your mobile device?


From #GivingTuesday to patient centered storytelling, social media has seen quite the transformation this year. Take a look.

Healthcare embraces #GivingTuesday with innovative fundraising. With momentum on social media and a partnership with the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has quickly become a vast philanthropic effort led by Millennials.

How healthcare marketers use social media. Gamification. Disruption. Value-based messaging. See how healthcare marketers can tap into social media to share their brand message.


Does your hospital marketing budget have you down? Download our free guide, "How to market your hospital on a tight budget," to learn budget efficient marketing strategies.

Healthcare marketing: Do celebrities still resonate?

As we’ve recently seen in the latest Cigna TV spot, celebrities definitely capture our attention. (Especially when Dr. McDreamy is talking to us.) But, does this marketing tactic still resonate? The answer: Yes.

While there has been talk about marketing with digital influencers (reality TV stars, YouTubers, bloggers, etc.) vs. marketing with celebrities, the idea is the same. Advertisers are still using familiar faces to bring awareness to health issues, ultimately creating an emotional connection with their audience.

Let’s take a look:

  1. Eyelove – Jennifer Aniston
  1. Prolia – Blythe Danner
  1. Halls – John C. McGinley
  1. CoorDown – Olivia Wilde
  1. CDC – Meryl Streep


For more on healthcare marketing trends, sign up for our monthly edition of the Brogan Healthcare Checkup.

Weekly Recap - November 4, 2016

Let’s take a poll…are you prepared for Black Friday shopping? A. Yes. B. No. C. I’m still eating leftover Halloween candy. Don’t fret, Mashable has four things every customer should know, well in advance. And if you think you’re going to post your post-Thanksgiving shopping experience to Vine, think again. Twitter announced last week that it is shutting down the six-second looping video platform. Where’s a Viner to go? Snapchat apparently. Take a look.

DETAILS, please

How to use Twitter Polls to engage your audience: 13 examples from real brands. It’s been a year since Twitter polls became an option. And HubSpot wants to know, “Are there any brands out there that are really using Twitter Polls well?

4 things you need to know about Black Friday. Many of the deals are legitimate bargains, but others are nothing more than ordinary sales wrapped in shiny packaging. How can you tell the difference? Let’s look.

With the closure of Vine, Snapchat may see an influx of creators. Lack of innovation? Challenges with monetization? Let’s face it, it was a combination. RIP Vine.

Meanwhile back at the RANCH

It's no tricks and all treats from Facebook this year! Facebook released limited-edition Halloween reactions to help you get into the holiday spirit. 

Microsoft's Surface Studio: A world of pure imagination. Last week, the multinational technology company announced the debut of their first-ever desktop computer. And it was epic.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care. The young women’s breast cancer movement has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products that help friends diagnosed with breast cancer get through the tough time ahead.

THE Topic of conversation

Millennials. Discover who Millennials are, why it’s important to market to them, and how you can increase brand loyalty and engagement. Download our free whitepaper “8 Rules of Marketing to Millennials.”


Like what you see? Share the Brogan Recap.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care.

Rethink Breast Cancer makes it easy to show you care

When my brother’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, we bought her a tablet to pass the time during her recovery. She loves to read, so it seemed a good choice. A year later, when my husband’s sister was diagnosed, we gave her a pressed metal necklace.

Why? I have no idea. My mother-in-law reacted in typically blunt fashion. “Why are you giving her presents? It’s cancer, not a birthday party.”

We just wanted to do something to let her know we were thinking of her. That we love her. And to somehow bridge the 4,200 miles that separated us from her while she battled cancer without us. So many things come to mind now that she’s four years cancer-free. But when you’re spinning with worry, thoughtful gift ideas rarely come in focus.

Rethink Breast Cancer gets it. The young women’s breast cancer movement has created thoughtful Give-A-Care products that help friends diagnosed with breast cancer get through the tough time ahead. More than a gesture, the collection includes meaningful gifts that acknowledge what’s she’s tackling, and helps support her along the way.

You can gift goodies a-la-carte or send carefully curated packages that come in small, medium and large. Items range from the practical—a planner, hand sanitizer, water bottle, tissue and tote—to the comfy—plush hoodies and a 100 percent cashmere toque that promises both warmth and style. There’s even a children’s book for moms to help with difficult conversations and can’t-we-ever-have-a-normal-conversation candy hearts inscribed with texts like “u r my rock.” All gifts come with a complementary care guidelines catered to young women who have a breast cancer diagnosis.

What’s more, Give-a-Care products keep on giving. All proceeds from sales fund Rethink Breast Cancer. The nonprofit is dedicated to raise awareness about breast cancer in those under the age of 40.

Talk about a feel-good fest. The giver feels like she’s helping. The recipient feels understood. And the nonprofit gets more funding to fuel great ideas to help more patients.

This kind of brand authenticity is what consumers crave across industries. There’s nothing like a confident decision to make people loyal advocates. The trick is to know your audience. Rethink Breast Cancer knows its target audience down to the cellular level. 

Speaking of brand authenticity, download our free whitepaper “3 Rules to Creating an Authentic Brand.” And discover which brands are getting real and how to market authenticity across genders, generations and ethnic groups.

Weekly Recap - July 20, 2015

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

6 ways your nonprofit organization can be successful on Instagram.
They say a single image is worth a thousand words. This adage has helped make Instagram popular among retail brands. But what about nonprofits?

10 Instagram Post Formulas That Drive Massive Engagement
Thankfully, all it takes is knowing how to create captivating Instagram posts. Here are the 10 formulas we recommend for driving engagement on Instagram, straight from the most engaging brands out there.

What Brands Can Learn from Customer Conversations on Social Media
Customers often care more about some things than a brand realizes and less about what the brand thinks is important. This can affect social media, marketing and even product decisions.

Let's get real: 3 rules to creating an authentic brand.
Does your brand care about being authentic? Consumers do. In fact, people care deeply about “authenticity.”

Inspiring examples of real time marketing #3: The Dress.
#TheDress tore just about everyone in the world apart, including the Brogan & Partners’ office. Was it blue and black? Was it white and gold?

4 Simple Steps for Creating a Social Editorial Calendar
One of the best ways to save your limited time on social is to create a social media editorial calendar for efficient scheduling and posting of your social content.

6 ways your nonprofit organization can be successful on Instagram.

They say a single image is worth a thousand words. This adage has helped make Instagram popular among retail brands. But what about nonprofits? Can a picture capture the power of a cause? Oh yeah.

From museums to charities, organizations to projects, Instagram is an impactful, strategic medium to market your nonprofit and bring awareness to your cause.

Here are six ways your nonprofit organization can be successful on Instagram.

1. URL linking
Want to drive more traffic to your website? Linking your homepage URL, donation page and or YouTube campaign video within the bio section of the account profile will generate leads and share your message. Organizations like Charity Water, Unicef and the TrevorProject are just a few nonprofits doing just that.

url linking

2. Pop culture references
Pop culture is constantly steering the direction of conversation–especially on social media. After the release and success of the film Jurassic World, #PrattKeeping quickly became a trending topic. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History quickly joined in the conversation by posting this clever photo, recreating a key scene from the film. Not only did it spark engagement, but it demonstrated their relevancy within the social space.

3. Inspirational quotes
#MondayMotivation anyone? Post inspiring quotes related to your cause like @ted, @unicef and @red do:


A photo posted by TED Talks (@ted) on


A photo posted by (RED) (@red) on

4. Celebrity involvement
Is a celebrity expected to participate at one of your events? Snap a quick photo.


Eight-year-old Bree wished to meet her favorite singer, @Meghan_Trainor. @MakeAWishMidSouth

A photo posted by Make-A-Wish America (@makeawishamerica) on

5. Educational facts
People take pleasure in learning new information, especially facts and statistics. Taking the time to provide factual information to the public is a great way to express the need of your efforts and cause. Over the past eight years, Charity Water has been able to fund more than 16,138 water projects around the world–and were sure to post about it.

6. Faraway places
From Ethiopia to Yemen, sharing where your organization has been is great way to encourage support. Followers can see where their donations are going, who they are helping, and they get to travel via their Instagram feed along the way. One of the many leading nonprofits in the space is National Geographic. From striking humanist portraits to environmental landscapes, @natgeo posts remarkable images, inspiring the public to care about the planet and all its inhabitants.

nonprofit on Instagram

Which nonprofits are you following on Instagram? Sound off in the comments section. And be sure to check out the latest blog in the series - 6 ways retailers can be successful on Instagram.

For more information on how to market your business on Instagram, stay tuned to this blog series. In upcoming posts, we’ll cover industry specific best practices, share a few examples, define different types of posts, and provide steps to launch your brand on Instagram. Meanwhile, take a peek at Brogan’s Instagram account for inspiration.

Effective nonprofit social media marketing campaign example #10: Water is Life

You may not be able to guarantee something to go viral on social media. So why not take something that’s already viral and use it to your advantage? That’s exactly what Water is Life did for their campaign. As their mission states, Water is Life is about impact. And their desire is to raise awareness about the positive impact that clean water could bring to different communities.

You may have seen (or even used) the trending hashtag #FirstWorldProblems. It’s defined as “a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experience in the developing world).” So, you’re more than likely to see tweets and Facebook statuses such as “I ate too much and now I’m miserable. #FirstWorldProblems” and “Can’t find my name on a Coke bottle. #FirstWorldProblems.” Instead of sitting back and taking offense to the minor problems people were having and complaining about, Water is Life took over the trending hashtag and used it to create something powerful.

They produced a video that juxtaposed typical #FirstWorldProblems with serious problems that were taking place in developing countries. It displayed individuals from Haiti quoting #FirstWorldProblems. The contrast between the minor complaints and the not-so-luxurious situations of those in Haiti made a strong and clear point: #FirstWorldProblems are not problems. Not only did the video receive more than 6 million views, but it provided over a million days’ worth of clean water to those in need.  Water is Life is definitely about impact.

What has been your favorite nonprofit marketing campaign so far? To see more nonprofits making a difference, check out the rest of my series, 10 Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns That Effectively Use Social Media.

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Effective nonprofit social media marketing campaign example #9: Department of Health

Nothing makes you cringe more than an awkward conversation. And when you’re a young teen forced to talk about topics such as drugs, smoking, alcohol, and dare I say – sex, the last people you want to hear from is your parents. Yikes! We’d feel awkward for you.

But just because it’s awkward doesn’t mean it should be avoided. The Department of Health in England launched the Awkward Conversations Project and made it their goal to talk with teenagers about difficult (and embarrassing) issues that can be damaging to their health.

Research showed that stating the facts wasn’t enough to change behaviors. Rather, starting conversations was more effective in challenging teens to stop unhealthy behaviors. But since they were dodging these discussions with their parents, the Department of Health decided to find people who were already well-trusted by this target audience. Who better to use than the UK’s most popular teenage YouTube vloggers?  The Department of Health selected 10 vloggers and asked them to create relevant videos that would eventually lead to teen engagement and conversations.

The results? The videos received over 5 million views, over 130,000 likes, and all 10 videos were featured in the ‘Top 50 Most Liked Videos on YouTube’ on the day it was uploaded. But the campaigns biggest success was getting their audience to stop avoiding these conversations and to start talking. The campaign prompted an additional 19 video responses, which attracted an additional 4,500 views. Now that’s a successful marketing campaign we can’t stop talking about.   


Which of the 10 videos did you enjoy most? To see more nonprofits making a difference, check out the rest of my series, 10 Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns That Effectively Use Social Media.

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Effective nonprofit social media marketing campaign example #8: TwitChange

Nonprofit organizations need people to support their cause, which is why they turn to social media to get the word out. TwitChange is a nonprofit organization that specifically exists to utilize change in the world through social media. That is, with the help of influential celebrities.

In 2010, Eva Longoria partnered up with TwitChange to raise money and help reconstruct the Miriam Center in Haiti, a home for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy and severe autism. With the support of more than 100 celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest and Shaquille O’Neal, TwitChange was equipped with two powerful tools – fame and Twitter – to make a change in Haiti. Celebrities committed to auctioning off tweets on eBay, where fans could bid on the chance to be followed, mentioned or retweeted by their favorite celebrity.


You’d be amazed at how much people were willing to bid for a celebrity tweet. In just 10 days, TwitChange received over $500,000 in bids. One of the highest bids went to Justin Bieber, with 62 bidders and the highest bid at $2,325. Plus, using Twitter allowed this campaign to easily become viral. In just 2 weeks, the campaign had over 30 million hits and more than a 100,000 tweets and retweets mentioning the campaign. And the best part about this social media campaign? It didn’t cost a penny to follow, mention or retweet fans.

Which celebrity would you bid on? To see more nonprofits making a difference, check out the rest of my series, 10 Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns That Effectively Use Social Media.

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Effective nonprofit social media marketing campaign example #7: Epic Change

What comes to mind when you hear the word “fundraising?” Bake sale? Car wash? Sponsored event? For Epic Change, it was Twitter. There’s a reason Mashable calls this nonprofit organization “a model for raising money using social media.”

With only 48 hours to raise money and build a classroom in Tanzania, Epic Change launched a Twitter campaign called Tweetsgiving (now known as Epic Thanks), which aimed to change the world through the power of gratitude. The project first asked Twitter users to tweet out anything they were thankful for with the hashtag #TweetsGiving. Then they asked them to donate money in honor of what they were grateful for.   

The results? Let’s just say there was a lot to be thankful for. In just two days, Epic Change raised over $11,000 to help build a classroom and support education in Tanzania. The social media campaign also brought awareness to the organization with 98% of donors never having donated to Epic Change before. As experts in marketing and social media, we’d say that’s pretty epic.


To see more nonprofits making a difference, check out the rest of my series, 10 Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns That Effectively Use Social Media.

Effective nonprofit social media marketing campaign example #6: Operation Smile

Operation Smile is a perfect example of how nonprofits can use social media to launch a campaign. This nonprofit is #HealingSmiles by repairing cleft palates in children around the world. But even more, they’re capturing the social change and promoting awareness on Pinterest. The visual-heavy platform allows for them to raise awareness and support using powerful “Before and After” photos.   

But it doesn’t stop there. Operation Smile dedicates additional boards to tell their patient stories, share videos, and display their celebrity ambassadors, which has gained them more than 1,900 followers. This nonprofit understands social media, but uses it unconventionally to change lives around the world.

Can you think of another board that Operation Smile can create? To see more nonprofits making a difference, check out the rest of my series, 10 Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns That Effectively Use Social Media.


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