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 fun-filled four weeks feature diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit – the majority of which are free and open to the public, including over 150 daily cultural performances by local, national and international entertainers.
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 the Spring season 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 representative of renewal, growth, and the unlimited opportunities blossoming at the festival. “Here” identifies D.C. as a unique destination for the experience.
Prior to engaging Fathom, the Festival’s primary challenge was finding ways to refresh and showcase that the Festival is much more that just the blossoms and communicate the full breadth of the Festival’s programming. In order to represent the full breadth, our campaign uses the word “Spring” interchangeably with messaging personalized to unique festival experiences. This approach highlights the inclusivity of the festival by incorporating a suite of messages that are tailored to resonate with a diverse audience. Each message opens up for interpretation what the festival, the season, and the festivities mean in a customizable and meaningful way. The full series of messages include: Spring, Creativity, Inclusivity, Culture, Family, Community, Friendship, Opportunity, Art, Music, Food, 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.
The Festival team felt that some of their past materials felt lackluster and relied on our creative expertise to find creative ways to update stale materials, while still looking “uniquely National Cherry Blossom Festival”. The visual creative consists of a flexible set of custom elements, including hand drawn cherry blossoms, blossom-inspired patterns, and artistic strokes that match the energy and personalization of the campaign messaging. The human touch of the visual creative relates to the viewer on a more personal level, and adds energy and movement to each and every touch point.
In order to support the Festival’s efforts to grow the Festival’s relevance to attract long-term support and partners and build the Festival’s profile at all levels, we aimed to positively affect the audiences’ first and last 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.
Another challenge the Festival faced was ensuring all communications about the Festival were clear, compelling and well-aligned. The visuals must communicate a cohesive brand across all platforms (print, online, or 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.