Nestled in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, Colonial Country Club stands as an iconic institution with an unwavering commitment to excellence and timeless traditions. Founded in 1936 by Marvin Leonard, the club offers a distinctive private club experience that fosters a strong sense of community. With a rich history in championship golf and a dedication to creating unforgettable moments, Colonial embodies unparalleled luxury and camaraderie.
Revitalizing tradition for Colonial Country Club
In 2023, the club found itself at a pivotal moment, embracing the desire to redefine excellence and embody a new era without forgetting their historic past. This ambitious journey began with an extraordinary renovation project, breathing new life into the esteemed championship course.
The transformation extended beyond the greens as Colonial invested in an array of exciting amenities, embarking on a revitalization journey to align their brand with the club’s updates. Recognizing this opportunity, Schaefer Advertising partnered with Colonial to refine and update their marketing and messaging, ensuring effective communication with a shared commitment to tradition and innovation.
The path to success is empowerment
Working closely with the internal staff at Colonial, we understood the significance of helping the team to define the authentic voice of the brand and building the necessary tools to support business objectives. Colonial’s strategic marketing initiatives focus on three primary goals:
Increasing awareness and perception among targeted prospective members to generate a consistent waitlist of high-quality prospects,
Enhancing member engagement to foster loyalty and advocacy, and
Boosting club revenue through increased event sales.
To achieve these objectives, Schaefer developed a comprehensive marketing strategy that presented findings from a digital platform audit and brand messaging exercise, as well as provided platform-specific optimizations, culminating in a holistic digital ecosystem approach for the internal team to utilize as a road map to support and elevate Colonial’s marketing endeavors.
Uniting past, present, and future
To elevate the essence of Colonial’s brand, we embarked on an extensive brand refresh that began with a meticulous exploration of the club’s unique attributes and a thorough brand landscape assessment. This approach identified key differentiators and core values that set Colonial apart. Establishing the brand archetype and positioning recommendations, Schaefer recognized that Colonial’s messaging should center around the unwavering pursuit of greatness, beautifully capturing the club’s rich history and unyielding commitment to excellence. This masterful process of brand archetyping and positioning culminated in the development of the club’s brand story, a compelling narrative that artfully united the past, present, and future.
Building upon this solid foundation, we crafted a cohesive visual system that seamlessly unified the brand while accommodating flexibility for its evolving identity. A comprehensive brand style guide was introduced, offering clear guidelines to the team and serving as a valuable tool for external communications, ensuring consistent brand alignment across all touchpoints. To capture the true essence of Colonial, Schaefer directed and produced photography and video shoots featuring real club members, thus curating an authentic content library that would enrich the future website and all brand materials, beautifully reflecting the genuine spirit of the club and its cherished traditions.
Elevating Colonial’s digital presence
Alongside the visual transformation, Schaefer undertook the crucial task of redesigning Colonial’s website to realign with the club’s prestigious history and standing. Our expertise came to the forefront as we crafted a visually stunning and user-friendly design that successfully communicated vital information while elevating the overall user experience. Through a development partnership with MembersFirst, the website became a powerful tool in supporting awareness, engagement, and lead-generation objectives, providing an app and private portal for members. Schaefer’s thoughtful approach, in tandem with Colonial’s rich heritage, gave rise to a website that now stands as a befitting window into the club.
The collaboration between Schaefer and Colonial resulted in a stronger brand presence that honored the club’s legacy as well as their future. The consolidated brand provides a consistent experience for current and potential members, reinforcing Colonial’s position as a pillar in the community. The revitalized brand strategy and web presence articulate the Club’s forward-thinking nature, appealing to both a global audience in search of elite golf experiences and creating a home away from home for local members. By providing the internal team at Colonial with the necessary tools and support, Schaefer empowered them to effectively communicate the brand’s voice and usher in a new era of success.
So Susie visited your museum once. How do you get her to come back? Kevin has attended the theater once a year, every year. Why is he not a subscriber? The Smith family has been aquarium members for 6 years, but they’ve never donated a penny outside of that. Why not?
In the entertainment space, everything we do is about engaging with our customers and convincing them to come back. Not once, not twice, but regularly. And if you’re doing it really well, then your guests are also referring friends, family and colleagues, donating and serving on committees that help you support your mission. But how do you create a plan to guide individuals or families within your target market to become advocates? Get to know your audience at every point in their journey to understand their needs and meet them there. The following steps will help you turn guests into a dedicated fanbase.
Step 1: Create a Continuum
Understanding that not every customer is created equal, and each journey may look a little different, is crucial to improve your guests’ experience and help focus your efforts where they can generate the greatest impact.
Your target market may be vast. Explore looking at your audience with a linear mindset. Start with those who have never heard of or visited your space and frankly, aren’t too keen on doing so. Graduate to people who come around once in a while, primarily at the invitation of someone else. From there, focus on regular yet somewhat inconsistent attendees. Once someone is regularly visiting your venue, they may become a member or subscriber. Lastly, the tried and true, your donors and advocates.
Now let’s focus our efforts. Aligning your budget, energy and time to nurture relationships that have the strongest opportunity for impact is important. We recommend focusing on three key opportunities of growth:
Single triers to regular buyers
Repeat visitors to committed members
Annual members to ongoing donors
Step 2: Define Your Audience Subsets
Look at each of these levels and put some definition to them. The better you know each group, the easier it is to build a plan to move them to the next step. Consider demographics, psychographics, geographies and ultimately, what motivates each group.
Take a look at the baseline for each group:
What percentage of your revenue is supported by them?
Where does your business have the most opportunity for growth?
Are people who try once organically becoming regular attendees?
Do you have trouble moving members into the donor category and why do you think that may be?
What is the average lifetime value for an individual or household at each stage?
Understanding the potential value of each stage provides guidance and direction on what investments should be made to grow that group of people into the next stage.
For example, if your members have the highest revenue contributions, but you have significantly more multi-ticket buyers, there is a clear opportunity to focus efforts to navigate your buyers into members by developing personalized campaigns that focus on the benefits of membership based on what motivates them. A higher percentage of your time and budget can be justified in this space because the return potential is there.
Step 3: Invest in Growth
Convincing the decision maker of the household to invest more time and money with your organization involves building a strong relationship and providing value and other incentives to entice repeat purchases. Here are some opportunities you can explore with your various audiences to help move them along your continuum.
Use purchase history and data to segment your audiences in a way to provide specialized recommendations for events, tickets and opportunities that match their interest. Capturing this data regularly is key to be able to use it to increase revenue.
Host exclusive events or pre-sales for loyal customers. Provide value by making them feel special which in turn incentivizes them to purchase early and frequently.
Offer a Loyalty or Referral Program
Reward your customers for multiple purchases/visits or referring others to attend. You can provide benefits like exclusive access, free tickets, discounts and more!
Ask for Feedback
Engage directly with your purchasers. It will show that you value their input, and they will be more likely to engage more frequently. Plus, you learn and can improve!
Create Urgency and Scarcity
Occasional limited-time offers or promotions create a sense of urgency without devaluing your brand. This doesn’t have to be a steep discount but can be a limited ticket type for a special event or creating an additional early-bird ticket tier.
Building brand advocates takes time and effort, and it is most important to align your communication and marketing strategies with the positive experience your customers have when they visit. Focus on delivering personalized value and fostering relationships to increase the customer lifetime value.
The Charles Schwab Challenge is one of the longest-running PGA TOUR invitational tournaments. The highly-anticipated event brings together top golfers from around the world to compete at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The historic course and club has hosted the event every Memorial Day Weekend since 1946, making the Charles Schwab Challenge one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR year after year.
Rising to the challenge
Coming off a global pandemic, 2022 was a year of transition for the Charles Schwab Challenge. People were still embracing intimate gatherings and with the tournament being played without fans one year and with limited attendance the next, the tradition of attending the Charles Schwab Challenge wasn’t top of mind for many fans. Additionally, 2022 ushered in a new pricing model for the tournament and increased revenue goals that required a shifted approach to marketing from awareness-based to conversion-focused.
An integrated campaign that drives conversion
Before partnering with Schaefer, the tournament utilized more traditional mediums to promote the event to a general North Texas audience. But as we prepared for the 2022 tournament, Schaefer recommended a more granular approach to targeting individual ticket buyers by splitting the audience to focus on two primary markets — avid golfers and social attendees. The goal was to create a more integrated campaign that not only got people excited about the tournament, but spoke directly to each audience’s particular area of interest wherever and whenever their needs arise. By leveraging a more individualized approach to messaging and targeting across tactics such as paid search, retargeting, geofencing, and paid social, we were able to capitalize on the buying period leading up to the event and increase opportunities for conversion.
Creative that can adapt to audience needs
If we had to achieve one thing to make this campaign successful, it was adaptability. A robust media strategy meant the creative needed to scale across a wide variety of mediums, from high-level awareness spaces like streaming TV to high-intent micro moments in the customer journey. That meant keeping design elements functional. So we opted for an abstract reference to course topography. The organic shapes allowed us to create compelling composites that featured the most important textures of the experience — environment, competition, and up-close views of the PGA TOUR’s best players.
Since we were targeting two audience sets, it was important that the messaging be specific yet modular. The line, Texas’ Best, extended across both target audiences while communicating the notoriety and pride North Texans have for the Colonial tournament. It also worked well with new player announcements.
The tournament field greatly impacts ticket sales. Top-ranked players and fan favorites draw big crowds, but player commitments can finalize weeks and sometimes days before the tournament. To improve performance, we build every concept to accommodate on-demand optimizations and leveraged that flexibility to announce new player commitments, some finalizing in the eleventh hour of the campaign. In the final weeks leading up to the event, we saw a big uptick in action, selling 80% of tickets in the last 30 days.
Moving the tournament from more traditional mediums to a digital-first, multi-audience campaign allowed us to reach people at every touch point – connecting the dots across channels to guide consumers from I-want-to-go to I-want-to-buy. Overall, our campaign strategy outperformed industry paid media standards in Sports and Recreation to produce nearly 14K in daily ticket sales and $1.2M in revenue.
A few top channel results include:
Paid Search: 16% CTR, 31% CVR and $3.72 cost-per-conversion Industry Average: 8.8% CTR, 5.9% CVR and $31.50 cost-per-conversion
Email: 39% open rate out of 575K+ emails delivered to a qualified audience Industry Average: 20.5% open rate
Display: 0.11% CTR on location-relevant geofencing campaign Industry Average: 0.08% CTR
TCU approached Schaefer to develop branding for their Sesquicentennial, or as it is more commonly referred to, their 150th anniversary celebration. Though 2023 was the big year to promote this monumental achievement, we started this project in 2019. We were charged with creating a logo and graphic system that would celebrate one of the university’s most significant milestones in their history and promote their vision for the future.
Schaefer was specifically selected based on our creative capabilities, connection to the TCU and Fort Worth communities and our ability to deftly navigate a committee-led initiative that would have a high-profile position among many audiences.
We dove into this challenge head first, conducting extensive research, including comparative landscape research, archival research, and interviews with key trustees, former Chancellor Bill Tucker, alumni, administration, students and committee members. Through this exploration, several key themes and values clearly stood out across generations of TCU students and alumni. A commitment to academic excellence, a strong sense of community, and a focus on service and leadership remained constant in spite of all the changes in the world over 15 decades.
“Our history is incomplete. Our speaking and our learning are incomplete. We will not demand vows or enjoin commitment to truth that we are still discovering. We will fill the next century by seeking, by entering gladly its maze of marvels, whose patterns will emerge, surprising us with joy. We light this torch to mark our hopes and expectations; its warmth and light tell our best intention.”
1973’s Centennial presentation by former Chancellor J.M. Moudy
In the archives of the TCU Library, we reviewed yearbooks, invitations, speeches, photographs, posters and other relics from the past. It provided consistent and humbling reminders of the responsibility we held in our hands to carry on an amazing legacy of intention in the pursuit of our best.
At its core, this logo had to connect. It had to compliment the existing arched TCU mark. Though it could leverage the equity of TCU’s logo, it had to balance alongside it and add specific meaning to this special occasion. It had to be clearly recognizable to our alumni base and students in a way that evoked pride built on meaning. It had to bridge 150 years of history and lean into its bold vision for the future. It had to support a broader ad campaign with a wide range of uses from video to merchandise, signage, athletic uniforms and fields of play, graduation gowns, lapel pins and even a drone show.
The final mark leverages the iconic symbol of Frog Fountain. Located in the heart of the TCU campus, Frog Fountain has four stylized flutes representing each class of students, and the water flowing between them symbolizing the passing of knowledge from class to class. This was the visual icon we felt could link generations in meaning, memory and pride.
The branding campaign for TCU’s 150th anniversary launched in the fall of 2022 and has marked the celebration with great consistency and clarity. Our small but mighty mark has lit up the sky above campus, stood behind the bell on Wall Street, found its way to the National College Football Championship, been painted on murals across the US and used almost everywhere in between. “To say we are proud of this little mark is an understatement. Our team is honored to be a part of this monumental milestone for a university that is leading us all into the future,” Charlie Howlett, VP, Creative Director (TCU Class of 2006).
Zoo Ball is the Fort Worth Zoo’s largest fundraising event of the year. Guests come together for a notoriously good time in support of wildlife conservation programs, locally and around the world. As one of Fort Worth’s most anticipated social events returned to the community’s calendar, Zoo Ball demanded an invitation worthy of the occasion.
In one of his last performances before retirement, country music legend and prolific songwriter, Robert Earl Keen, would take the stage and set the tone for the kind of affair Fort Worth does best – Texas outlaw.
What’s in an Invitation?
Zoo Ball is a great opportunity to bring people together in celebration of the Zoo’s ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation. And the invitation is the first step in attracting donors in our philanthropic community to attend and participate in the Zoo’s charitable efforts.
Generate buzz among new attendees and past guests
Communicate important event details
Create a memorable invitation that plays well beyond the event
Raise dollars to fund wildlife conservation and education programs
Rounding Up The Best
Schaefer’s creative team was off to the races and curated a Texas Outlaw concept that reached into the hearts of the philanthropic community and beyond. To set the tone for the event, our team developed an event theme moodboard. This visual representation of country elements included western saloons and cowboys allowing us to explore new ways to engage with the guests leading up to the event.
We gathered all our ideas together and set off on crafting the Save the Date package, Commemorative invitation, and Auction guide.
Save The Date & Invitation Suite
To unite the objectives and theme of the event, we developed a logo and paired it with a rugged, yet sophisticated color palette including shades of gold and black. Complementing the palette was a suite of custom illustrations featuring native Texas species of plants, animals, and the infamous Texas outlaw.
As a subtle nod that helped tease performer Robert Earl Keen, we included some of his most famous lyrics throughout the save the date and invitation. Most notably, the event name is abridged from his iconic song, “The Road Goes on Forever.”
Custom Card Deck
When it comes to cards they don’t call it Texas Hold’em for nothing. Leveraging themes of the old west, we created a saloon-inspired, 54-card playing deck that featured Texas animals, like the jaguarundi and armadillo. The deck was created in collaboration with Big Box Little Box, who was able to bring the details and textures that were important to the card and box design to fruition.
Included in the deck were educational facts and illustrations about Texas wildlife, giving guests a unique way to commemorate the event and pay homage to the wild things and wild places we all love.
It was crucial that the invite not get lost in the shuffle of daily mail while also rousing members of the community to think, “I can’t miss that.” The event attracted previous and first-time attendees, with tickets selling out. Not only was the Zoo able to receive impressive support from individuals and local businesses, but the fundraising event raised more than seven-figure sums. The Texas Outlaw theme generated social sharing before, during, and after the event. The annual event offered maximum entertainment that made for wild memories that people are still talking about.
In Spring 2021, the Fort Worth Zoo was ramping up to unveil their new habitat, Elephant Springs. The habitat, which is home to the Zoo’s Asian elephant herd and a greater one-horned rhino, is part of the Zoo’s Wilder Visioninitiative. With opening day on the horizon, the Zoo needed a way to generate excitement and communicate the truly immersive experience to new and returning Zoo goers. After all, Elephant Springs is more than a habitat. It’s a destination worth visiting.
After more than a year at home, people were ready to look forward to something big. And the grand opening of Elephant Springs was the perfect way to delight and excite animal lovers everywhere. Featuring wildlife and environmental details unique to the natural habitat that inspired it, we wanted to highlight this much-awaited encounter as more of an adventure than an exhibit.
Increase awareness and excitement for the opening of Elephant Springs
Boost ticket sales from both new and returning customers
Develop a campaign that extends beyond opening day
Some of the best things in life aren’t things at all. They’re places. Filled with the sights, sounds and even splashes that make a place unique. Drawing inspiration from Elephant Springs’ authentic environment and immersive nature, we decided to focus the campaign around capturing the playful and engaging way both people and wildlife experience the habitat.
The only problem? We had to imagine it. To ensure the campaign was ready in time to promote the exhibit as soon as it opened to the public, we had to envision the experience based on renderings and small-scale models. The habitat has no shortage of water features — large pools and waterfalls designed to create new opportunities for animal enrichment and soakers that allow guests to interact with the herd directly. Alongside the Asian elephants that now call this habitat home, we decided to make water a main character in our campaign.
Working with wildlife is tough. Patience, flexibility and creativity are essential to capturing key frames and moments that can be utilized in the campaign. We partnered with zookeepers to create fun enrichment opportunities that allowed us to photograph organic moments of the elephants getting acclimated and enjoying their new yard. In the end, we were able to provide the Fort Worth Zoo with a full stack of assets that could be used for years to come.
To build excitement for the new exhibit, we created a delightful soundtrack made entirely of the splashes and features of Elephant Springs, composing a soundscape as adventurous as the environment.
Opening a new exhibit attracts people from all over the state and beyond. To help meet the Zoo’s annual goals, we created a robust omnichannel campaign inclusive of traditional and digital media, including streaming audio, video and TV. Seeing an opportunity to expand awareness, we partnered with Visit Fort Worth to co-brand ads in Texas Monthly and on billboards across Texas. Additionally, we targeted travelers throughout DFW and Love Field. Because this was an awareness campaign, our success was measured in tickets sold (attendance), impressions served and reach across the state.
200% increase in website sessions
242% increase in new users on the Elephant Springs webpage
5.6 million website pageviews
1 million website sessions
681.3k new users on the website (16% increase in sessions and 22% increase in new users)
600K general admission tickets purchased and over 23k memberships/renewals sold during the campaign run (April – July)
The Fort Worth Zoo met their annual attendance goal in three months early
16% increase in organic search and direct channel traffic to the website
TCU Football is back! In the 8th year of this project, we wanted to celebrate TCU’s tradition and history in a way that would unite all Frog fans. Last year, fans missed out on the game day experience because of COVID. This year is all about reuniting with the gridiron, tailgating traditions and most importantly, each other.
The theme for this year’s Riff Ram video, Gather, centers around a return to normal as it takes you on a game day journey through campus, tailgating at Amon Carter and into the stadium itself. Game days in the fall look different for each Horned Frog fan. Some fans enjoy the game day experience from their couch, while others spend all week planning for their perfect tailgate. Regardless of how we support the Frogs, we are stronger together. Gather celebrates the triumphant return of the Horned Frog Faithful by bringing us back to the beat of the drum, the rustle of pom-poms and the roar of the crowd.
See you at the Carter!
Concept by: Schaefer Advertising Co. Produced by: Schaefer Advertising Co. and Make Something Beautiful
Every year, migratory birds travel through Texas to reach their destination. Many of them migrate at night, when street lamps and building lights shine bright. During peak migration months, artificial lights can pose a danger and often cause death for millions of migratory birds traveling at night. Inspired by our love of the Texas sky and all the wildlife in it, we developed a campaign to raise awareness and encourage Texans to turn off the lights.
The Challenge: Reduce Unnecessary Light Pollution
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has dedicated itself to advancing its mission of understanding and conserving the natural world—with a specific focus on birds. According to research, light pollution emitted from Texas cities, especially DFW and Houston, attracts and disorients birds—causing millions of them to fatally collide with buildings and windows. To reduce non-essential light output during peak migration times, Cornell Labs partnered with Schaefer to create a PSA campaign to drive measurable change. The “Lights Out” initiative was designed to raise awareness around the issue and show Texans that saving millions of migratory birds is as easy as flipping a switch.
Protecting the Skies Over Texas
Our biggest challenge was utilizing data to create an emotional response, ultimately driving people to not only pay attention, but to act. We focused our attention on the two groups who could make the biggest difference—residents and commercial building owners/operators. With a nod toward Texas’ unofficial motto “Don’t Mess With Texas” and an appeal to Texan pride, we created the Protect the Skies Over Texas campaign.
Utilizing hard-hitting facts and direct language, we developed a message that spoke to our key audiences. The language paired with clean typography and bold visuals to make the campaign difficult to ignore. And easy to act on. To track the effectiveness of our planned media, we invited Texans to pledge to flip the switch on nonessentiallighting.
Meaningful change begins within our communities, so we connected with local leaders and business owners to ensure the campaign messaging we delivered inspired people to make a difference—in the air and on the ground.
Every year, the Fort Worth Zoo hosts an immersive educational experience called Summer Zoo Camp. This adventurous program offers campers—from kindergarten to high school—a variety of unique summer camp options. Coming off the heels of the pandemic, families in North Texas were thrilled to give their children a chance to learn, play and make new friends in a safe, outdoor environment. And the Fort Worth Zoo was ready to provide the perfect space to experience wildlife up close.
Proud to create a fresh and original concept once again for this annual event—we infused into it, the world’s collective excitement for getting back to normal with those we love most. Leaning into a familiar and revered summer tradition, we concepted an enticing summer blockbuster theme, successfully casting a wide net on a wide-ranging audience.
Coming To a Zoo Near You
Summer Zoo Camp is a truly one-of-a-kind program where campers of all ages can safely explore and expand their knowledge of wildlife conservation. All while discovering new friendships and finding ample opportunities to grow their imagination. We recognized the importance and the potential impact of this educational program for young explorers, so we set out to create messaging that would attract the true decision makers in the home—moms. Every year, the Zoo creates themes that drive the conceptual direction of the creative. Inspired by this year’s movie theme and the posters theaters use to promote films, we featured Summer Zoo Camp and a star-studded cast of camp experiences.
Choosing to incorporate bright, flying flamingos in our messaging allowed us to easily showcase one of the Zoo’s favorite characters to catch people’s attention immediately. Our digital advertisements performed exceptionally well—as this medium allowed the static flamingos to animate and fly across the screens of thousands of North Texans. By the time the credits rolled, Summer Zoo Camp had nearly sold out, successfully achieving summer blockbuster status.
2,586 registrations were made—achieving 98% of the target goal
More than $716k in revenue reported
Our flying flamingo stars made over 8.5 million media impressions while in the spotlight
The Fort Worth Zoo was looking for a way to refresh their Valentine’s Adoption campaign to reach a broader audience and encourage more adoptions. As a new year approached, we gathered audience data and used our longtime partnership with the Zoo to create a reenergized Valentine’s campaign that appealed to a broader audience and sold more adoption packages.
Refreshing a Valentine’s Day Tradition
The Fort Worth Zoo Valentine’s Adoption campaign gives animal lovers a chance to show some love while contributing to the cost of care and wellbeing for the Zoo’s wildlife. In previous years, the Zoo primarily focused on penguin adoption packages, which were highly successful, but audience demographics revealed that most people purchased penguin adoption packages for children, limiting the impact of the campaign to one primary audience. Schaefer recommended including a new animal to encourage more engagement and the Zoo ran with our idea and responded by adding four new animals to the campaign—foxes, skunks, flamingoes, and porcupines — to fit more buyers’ unique personalities and relationships.
A Broader Appeal
Love has many definitions. By offering a larger selection of animals to adopt, we were able to personalize campaign messaging to connect with a wider audience and celebrate an even broader spectrum of love. For each animal, we chose to highlight different kinds of love that people experience.
Our romantic, love-focused options included foxes representing fox-y significant others. Our fun, anti-valentine’s day options were represented by a skunk and a porcupine because love can stink and even be a bit prickly. Finally, we included a “Galentine’s” option focused on celebrating positive friendships between women. By expanding our animal options, we were able to create a “choose your own” Valentine’s Day celebration.
We recreated a digital version of the classic Valentine’s Day cards from grade school for use on social media and leverage nostalgia as a vehicle for success. This medium offered us a space to use humor and strategically placed puns to highlight the different animal adoptions being offered as well as communicate the different types of love that Valentine’s Day celebrates.
Nearly 50% increase in animal adoptions sold YoY
40% of all orders were foxes
Despite Covid-19 and being a virtual event, 125 dinners were sold netting more than $15k in revenue