Virtual Forum Branding & Outreach

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

When USDA needed to drive registration for their annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, we developed a campaign that resulted in nearly 6,000 attendees!

From the event logo to emails, social media, and videos, our cohesive outreach campaign resonated with USDA’s key audiences and led to a successful forum.

USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum (AOF) provides a platform for key stakeholders to discuss current issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and explore cutting-edge topics that will influence the future of agriculture. During the forum, USDA’s Chief Economist also unveils USDA’s outlook for the domestic agricultural economy and trade for the year.

Under contract with INFINITY Conference Group, Novak Birch was tasked with developing an event brand and executing an outreach campaign that generated excitement and drove registration for USDA’s 98th annual AOF, to be held virtually.

Positive Reach & Engagement:

  • Nearly 6,000 people registered and attended the virtual event.
  • According to MailChimp’s benchmarks, the email campaign had a higher-than-average open rate and click rate:
    • The cumulative average open rate of 34.87% is higher than average among both government agencies (28.77%) and the agriculture/food services industry (23.31%).
    • The cumulative average click rate of 9.97% is higher than average among both government agencies (3.99%) and the agriculture/food services industry (2.94%).
  • The email campaign had a very low unsubscribe rate, with only 49 total unsubscribes out of over 5,500 recipients.
  • The social media campaign garnered many likes, shares, and views.
  • The four teaser videos collectively received over 1,700 views on YouTube.


Positive Feedback:

Novak Birch received positive feedback from INFINITY Conference Group:

  • Doreen Albertson, President and CEO, said, “Thanks to Novak Birch for working with INFINITY as a seamless team on this project. It was an all-around great experience, and we appreciated your excellent management.”
  • Kathy Berry, Project Manager and Graphic Design Specialist, said, “Thank you for a job well done! We especially appreciate the creativity and flexibility your team demonstrated throughout the entire forum planning process.”

Using the 2022 AOF theme “New Paths to Sustainability and Productivity Growth,” Novak Birch planned and delivered an outreach campaign with the following components:

  • Campaign Strategy & Content Plan: We conducted an audit and then developed and maintained a comprehensive master content plan with over 60 outreach deliverables across the three-month campaign and provided strategic recommendations for outreach type, content, cadence, and frequency.
  • Event Branding: We designed the event logo and key art and established the overall look-and-feel, including visual style, modern typography and iconography, a warm color palette, and design elements that complement USDA’s brand and reinforce the forum as an established and informative, must-attend industry event. The new brand uses earth tones and warm photography, including field rows that project forward motion and innovation.
  • Program: We designed the forum’s program-at-a-glance (PDF for digital use).
  • Graphic Support: We formatted and sized key art for inclusion on the virtual event platform, USDA’s website, and the Facebook event banner graphic.
  • Email Campaign: NB created an email campaign to promote registration for AOF, including:
    • Setting up the email platform in Mailchimp and managing the campaign, including deploying test blasts, launches, and post-show reporting.
    • Designing and developing the email template and designing 10 email header graphics as interchangeable elements.
    • Writing 10 emails and writing and testing subject lines and pre-header copy for optimal open rate performance.
  • Social Media Campaign: NB crafted a social media campaign to generate buzz and drive event registration via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Our work included:
    • Writing pre-event, post-event, and live post copy and tweets.
    • Designing and formatting graphics and teaser videos for 10 social posts.
  • Videos: NB developed four teaser videos (all under 2 minutes) to promote the forum. These were featured on the AOF website and embedded in emails and social posts. We wrote the on-screen copy, designed the video template, selected soundtracks, and produced the videos. We promoted the videos leading up to and during the event via email, social media, and in the virtual event platform.

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