Say goodbye to the old UNICEF and hello to 'badass do-gooders'

Warriors. Renegades. Fearless rebels. The human rights organization is ready to show off its true colors.

Did you know that in Nigeria – one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth – UNICEF midwives are helicoptered in to conflict-affected areas to provide critical services to mothers and their babies?

Or that UNICEF uses drones to deliver blood samples taken from remote villages to help doctors make faster HIV diagnoses and save more children?

For more than 70 years, UNICEF has helped children and families around the world, and while the humanitarian aid’s mission of saving and improving lives isn’t going to change, it’s image is getting a much-needed refresh - with a focus on "badass do-goodery." 

When Shelley Diamond joined UNICEF last fall as CMO, she said her first thought about the organization was its orange trick-or-treat boxes to collect donations, which launched in 1950. 

"It’s an incredible link to something great, but it’s a distant memory," said Diamond, adding that most people don’t know the amazing things UNICEF does on a daily basis.

"We have an enormously powerful story," she said. "What UNICEF does is absolutely beyond the wildest imagination."

The stories about the midwives and drones are just two examples on a long list of what UNICEF does on a daily basis to help people around the global. And the organization plans on sharing these stories with the world soon.

To help her realize this new way ahead for UNICEF, Diamond hired Dirt Worldwide, a consultancy that focuses on tactical ideation, experience design and messaging. 

Eric Pakurar, founding partner of Dirt, said he admires that Diamond approached UNICEF’s board members in her early days at the organization to tell them they have to reassess their current go-to-market strategy.

"That takes a lot of guts," he said. 

Dirt and UNICEF worked together on a new strategy that brings "badassery" into its messaging, with a plan to deliver it to the right audiences - new and existing donors and younger people - at the right times and places, said Pakurar.

UNICEF is currently in talks with several creative partners in the U.S. and U.K. who can deliver the work by November, which is home to World Children’s Day and Giving Tuesday. 

"We want to go full force and get ahead of the pre-election cycle that will dominate digital," said Diamond. 

She added that UNICEF plans on tapping into addressable TV, which will make it the first nonprofit to leverage that channel. 

Going forward, the KPIs for UNICEF, Diamond said, will go way beyond fundraising and cross into brand-building and advocacy, amplifying the organization’s true badass nature. 

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