The combination of a clear purpose, editorial commitment and great timing helped The Guardian’s ‘Hope is Power’ campaign become a “huge driver” of financial support worldwide.

2019 has been a big year for The Guardian. Having reaching the milestone of more than 1 million people across 180 countries financially supporting its journalism last year, the Guardian News and Media group is on a mission to prove the business case for supporter-led organisations.

The group notched up revenues of £224.5m in the year to 31 March, up 3% on 2018, representing a third successive year of revenue growth supported by reader revenues and digital advertising. Digital revenues rose by 15% to £125.3m and now make up 56% of group revenues.

The organisation plans to use this financial success as a springboard from which to carve out a position as the home of “high-quality independent journalism”.

To help cement this message, in September The Guardian unveiled ‘Hope is Power’. Its first brand campaign since 2012, the campaign was designed to restate the publisher’s purpose, deepen brand affinity among readers and encourage support of its journalism.

Devised by creative agency Uncommon, the campaign ran for five weeks from 23 September across TV, cinema and video-on-demand. The 60-second ad shows a butterfly trying to escape an empty room. Police sirens and protests can be heard outside as the butterfly fights to eventually break through the glass to the lyrics “nothing changes”. The ad ends with the new slogan ‘Change is possible. Hope is power’, before showing multiple butterflies flying in the wild.

Chief customer officer Anna Bateson explains that the timing of Hope is Power made sense as the business had come through a turnaround project and moved beyond break-even. This was coupled with the “editorial confidence” around editor-in-chief Katharine Viner’s wider purpose.

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