The best communications campaigns consistently and authentically represent your brand. Research shows that people need to see a message at least 10 times to feel favorably toward an idea. They need to see it even more to remember it.
At the same time, attention spans are shrinking. In 2023, researchers found that people can only pay attention to one screen for an average of 47 seconds. If repetition is required for brand recognition, how do you repeatedly deliver your message without boring your audience?
This is where mini-campaigns can help. A mini-campaign is a coordinated series of communications activities, conducted within a defined time frame. They are very focused efforts, usually only lasting for a few weeks at most. They help you stay on brand while delivering your message in new ways.
EO Equals: Small-Business Campaign Beats Expectations. Big time.
The team at Hattaway Communications worked with The Kendeda Fund to execute an 18-month campaign called Employee Ownership Equals, or EO Equals. This effort was designed to spread the word about employee ownership, which is a business model in which employees have an equity stake in the business.
The Kendeda Fund aimed to pique the interest of 100 business owners, which we tracked via a contact form on the campaign website. The campaign ultimately beat that goal by more than five times, hearing from more than 550 business owners.
One Narrative, Many Mini-Campaigns
We communicated the same big idea over the entire campaign: Employee ownership unlocks countless opportunities that can take your business to the next level. Research showed that this idea motivated business owners to learn more about employee ownership. Despite the campaign’s compelling message, 18 months is a long time, so we deployed four mini-campaigns to ensure that our audience remained intrigued.
Each mini-campaign emphasized the business benefits that employee ownership can bring to a company, which, as we learned through our research, is a top priority for small business owners. “EO” stood for an array of benefits—enterprise optimization, excellent operations, enduring organizations, and more.
The following message was the campaign’s cornerstone narrative. EO Equals spokespeople adapted it for the website, social media, and other channels:
As a small business owner, you work long nights and shoulder big responsibilities. You’re building something you can be proud of, with a great team beside you.
Like many business owners, you want to see your business succeed, take care of your
employees, and make a difference in your community. For many, your business is your legacy—your chance to make a mark.
But it’s not easy. Every small business owner faces challenges that keep them up at night: How do you keep your team motivated and maintain a culture that encourages their best work? How will you retire? And when you do, what will happen to your business and your team?
Employee ownership unlocks countless opportunities that can take your business to the next level. By sharing ownership and leadership of your business with your employees, you keep your employees longer and working harder, and attract new people to your team. And when the time comes, it ensures you can retire on your own terms and be rewarded for your life’s work—and helps your business thrive for generations to come.
The EO Equals website features the business benefits of employee ownership, which was what we wanted owners to learn right away.
Small Business Week Mini-Campaign
For EO Equals, we identified four business holidays that would be of interest to our audience and structured a mini-campaign around each one. This meant we could enter existing conversations—rather than create them from scratch—and focus our efforts on making great content that would capture people’s attention.
For example, the first week of May is National Small Business Week, spearheaded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), to celebrate the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. We utilized this as an opportunity to test out audio recordings, a new content type for the campaign. By delivering our message via a mix of written case studies, audio recordings, and webinars, the campaign satiated our audience’s desire for new content.
Each short audio clip was posted on our website and shared on social media, using the hashtag #NationalSmallBusinessWeek. That allowed us to reach a new segment of business owners who looked to the SBA for resources. The recordings emphasized the business benefits of employee ownership—tying back to our overall campaign strategy—but delivered the messaging in a new format.
By launching and promoting this content over Small Business Week, we garnered 50% more website visitors than in our usual seven-day average. We subsequently ramped up audio and video efforts throughout the rest of the campaign.
Tips for Successful Mini-Campaigns
Like your organization’s communications strategy, mini-campaigns take time and thought to develop. If you’re planning a mini-campaign, here are four tips to keep in mind.
Tie your mini-campaign to a broader goal and communications strategy. The theme of your mini-campaign should be aligned with your overall brand message and should be designed to achieve a specific goal.
Ensure that your content is coordinated across all your platforms. Throughout your mini-campaign, your messaging, visuals, and tone of voice should be consistent across your social media, email marketing, and website.
Analyze and adjust as you go. Mini-campaigns are a great way to pilot new content ideas, but it’s important to keep an eye on their performance. You can always make changes without affecting your overall content strategy.
Give your new followers special treatment. Congrats! Your mini-campaign worked, and you’ve gained a new audience segment. Thank them for supporting your organization by offering a resource, event, or other compelling piece of content to keep them engaged.
Mini-campaigns are a great way to get creative with your marketing efforts. For EO Equals, we looked for ways to engage segments of our target audience that we hadn’t reached yet. Your current followers will also appreciate the fresh content, which will encourage them to become even more engaged with your organization.