Holy Land Trust is a non-profit Palestinian organization committed to fostering peace, justice, and transformation in the Holy Land. Inspired by his uncle Mubarak Awad leadership in Palestinian nonviolent resistance, Sami Awad founded Holy Land Trust in 1998 to promote Palestinian nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Holy Land Trust initiatives include training workshops, participation in local nonviolent campaigns, and seeking increased awareness for nonviolent resistance worldwide. They also run programs where internationals live with host families, study Arabic, and volunteer with Palestinian organizations.
Holy Land Trust approached Bryt•Idea Consulting in the fall of 2019 to help facilitate a recasting of their brand message. The goal was to develop a cohesive brand and marketing strategy guiding them into future local and global peace initiatives. In January of 2020, I traveled to HLT's headquarters in Bethlehem to work with their team to start the process.
After years of divergent brand messaging, Holy Land Trusts' brand story lacked consistency and failed to communicate a cohesive and engaging message to their desired audience.
Another challenge was to reach and engage an American and European demographic. Although the HLT team is fluent in English and well-traveled internationally, knowing and understanding the nuances of the English language, western culture, and understanding their felt wants and needs created challenges in crafting an engaging message that resonated with this audience.
Finally, their website was not written effectively for an English speaking audience, and design and development best practices were not used. Broken links, deprecated code, confusing navigation, and content, all contributed to a poor user experience. Also, the website did not visually capture Holy Land Trust's brand, instead relied on the default website theme visuals for the design.
At Bryt•Idea, we believe the foundation of all brand and marketing efforts, from logo design to sophisticated marketing automation campaigns, begins with an intimate understanding of an organization's brand message or story. With this in mind, I started working with the HLT team by initiating an all-day Brand Discovery session (we drank lots of coffee)! Through this in-depth and at times, arduous process, the following deliverables were produced:
"This was probably one of the best, if not best, organizational development sessions I've ever experienced" - Sami Awad
While in Bethlehem, I had the opportunity to tag along with one of HLT's Catholic Pilgrimage tours, giving me firsthand knowledge of a Holy Land Trust tour experience. This provided me invaluable deep insights into the creation of HLT's buyer personas and archetypes.
The cumulation of these efforts were captured in Holy Land Trusts' Brand Strategy Guide, a document that communicates the foundational brand story of HLT… a "brand bible" if you will. This document will be used as the underpinning of all future brand and marketing initiatives. It also establishes specific brand design elements, colors, and logo usage guidelines.
With this foundational work accomplished, work began on a complete website redesign. The primary goals and objectives of the redesigned website included:
With these goals and objectives in mind, our team went to work. At Bryt•Idea, we utilize Agile Project Management methodologies for all our website development projects. Our platform of choice is Teamwork Projects, which provides sophisticated yet intuitive Agile project workflows. Despite challenges with time zones and communication, Agile mythologies allowed for an efficient and cohesive web development process allowing for productive collaboration with the HLT team, making sure their needs and requirements are met.
The old website had little if any distinctive branding that represented HLTs personality or archetypes. Based on HLT's newly created brand guide, we created a distinctive color pallet and implemented it throughout the site.
Navigation on the old site was confusing, so we completely restructured the information architecture providing a more intuitive and straightforward user experience.
Critical to any web development strategy is the importance of understanding user experience and user-centered design principles. These principles constitute the foundation of creating a best-of-class and high performing website. Organizations often miss the essential concept that a site ultimately is for the user and not the organization. I worked closely with the HLT team to ensure we made this a consistent focus of our work.
As mentioned above, the website content had to be rewritten or repurposed to speak effectively to an American and European audience. We also wanted to confirm it spoke to HLT's core and influencer archetypes, as well as its buyer personas. Our content writers revise the content appropriately to meet these needs.
Launched in June 2020, the results of the hard work from the Holy Land Trust team and Bryt Idea is a dramatically higher-performing and best-of-class website.
Holy Land Trust already sees the fruits of this work with increased traffic, brand awareness, and user engagement, both online and off. By the work performed together as a team and our newly formed partnership, my vision is to see Holy Land Trust continue to thrive in these uncertain times and be a beacon of hope for a peaceful and just future for the people of Palestine and Israel. As you browse the new website, please consider what part you can play in the incredible and challenging work they do.
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