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National Cherry Blossom Festival

Campaign Messaging & Identity

Washington D.C.’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the world’s great celebrations of spring, drawing over 1.6 million regional, national and international visitors each year. The four, fun-filled weeks feature diverse and creative programming highlighting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The majority of Festival events are free and open to the public, including over 150 daily cultural performances by local, national, and international entertainers.

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Our goal was to develop a campaign that remains consistent over the next three years, while leaving room for evolution, updates, and refreshing. “Spring Blossoms Here” is a delightful, positive welcome to springtime in D.C. “Spring” is integral to the campaign messaging and true to the Festival’s mission. “Blossoms” is not only a nod to the blooming cherry blossoms but also used as a verb to represent renewal, growth, and the unlimited opportunities blossoming at the festival. “Here” identifies D.C. as a unique destination for the experience.

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Prior to engaging Fathom, our client’s primary challenge was finding ways to communicate how the Festival is much more than just cherry blossoms. In order to represent the full breadth of the Festival’s programming, our solution was to create a campaign anchored by a flexible messaging platform that allowed for the first word (“Spring”) to be replaced by other words related to unique festival experiences. This approach highlights the inclusivity of the Festival by incorporating a suite of messages tailored to resonate with its diverse audiences. Each message conveys what the Festival, the season, and the festivities represent in a customizable and meaningful way. The full suite of messages include: Spring, Creativity, Inclusivity, Culture, Family, Community, Friendship, Opportunity, Art, Music, Food, and Fun — all of which are blossoming here, at the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The messaging is designed to expand over the next three years with ample room for growth and play.

Our designers were tasked with finding creative ways to update the stale materials used in recent years, while still looking uniquely “National Cherry Blossom Festival.” We created a new visual system of flexible, custom elements, including hand-drawn cherry blossoms, blossom-inspired patterns, and friendly, artistic strokes that match the energy and personalization of the campaign messaging. This new visual style helps audiences identify with the Festival on a much more personal level while adding energy and movement to each of the thousands of touch points.

In order to help the Festival attract long-term support and partners and build the Festival’s profile at all levels, we aimed to facilitate positive and long-lasting  audience impressions by inspiring visitors to share and create memories. The campaign hashtag #SpringBlossomsHere was attributed to over 2,500 posts on Instagram and widely shared across social media platforms.

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Another challenge our campaign addressed was ensuring that all Festival communications were clear, compelling and well-aligned. The visuals communicated a cohesive brand across all platforms (print, online, and in person). Our work was featured all over the city, from the airport to the metro, at multiple Festival events, and widely advertised online. As part of the project, we created a shareable “toolkit” containing messaging, identity assets, and comprehensive guidelines on how to use the messaging and identity assets to create a cohesive look across all materials. The toolkit was a massive success with the NCBF team and was also shared with Festival partners and contributors to enhance the cohesive festival experience all over the city.

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