The traditional constituency for historic preservation—including both its champions and its donors—is aging. And while there is also a growing recognition of preservation as an engine of economic growth, community vitality, and environmental sustainability, the historic preservation movement has not yet been able to expand its reach to a more diverse, multicultural constituency.
In this context, the National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Metropolitan Group to develop a new way of defining both historic preservation and the organization itself to engage more effectively a new, broader, and more diverse audience.
During our initial stage of research, MG identified a new audience profile of “latent preservationist baby boomers,” whose core values, interests, and behaviors suggest that they would be sympathetic to the issue of historic preservation. We also redefined historic preservation to better connect with this audience in ways that were relevant in their own lives and experiences, including a broadening of the focus to include preservation of places that matter to people. We then developed a new brand platform for the organization reflecting the values, value, and voice of its brand. MG also articulated a strategic message framework grounded in the notion that “preservation matters,” which was refined through testing with audience focus groups in four cities across the country.
MG also developed a plan to implement the new brand platform and message framework across the organization and through its vast affiliate network, including brand training, phased implementation, co-branding, and more. As part of this rollout, we developed a toolkit to support adoption of the new brand and talking points for advocacy, fundraising, and media. The new definition of historic preservation developed by MG (helping people preserve, enhance, and enjoy the places that matter to them) has been successfully adopted across the organization’s national network and used as the foundation for a popular “This Place Matters” campaign.