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Keys 4/4 Kids

For over 10 years, Midwest nonprofit Keys 4/4 Kids has been accepting donations of used and unwanted pianos and refurbishing them for resale to fund its three major youth and civic programs: Pianos On Parade, Piano Placement, and The Ellen Project. We joined the Keys 4/4 Kids team in October 2015 and stayed for a little over a year to draft and implement a digital media strategy modernizing the way the nonprofit delivers good on its mission after it experienced a 45% systemic decline in piano sales from 2012-2015.

With four brick and mortar retail locations ($1MM) and hundreds of pianos on showroom floors to bring to market, we became highly focused in three primary areas to reverse an alarming 3-year downward trend: 1) Analyzing channel performance from past sales data to identify best performing channels, 2) Overhauling the charity’s legacy website into an operationally-aligned platform to more seamlessly interface with donors and customers, and III) Producing content with community partners and deploying it to relevant audiences via targeted paid marketing.

In a year’s time, our design and implementation had not only reversed the trend, but also nearly brought revenue figures back to all time highs. Trailing October 2016, TTM for piano sales increased ~52%, recapturing ~80% of the peak year-end revenue benchmark set in 2012. Additionally, operations teams reported record numbers of high value piano donations including one professionally appraised at $35K, the highest valued instrument to be processed since the organization’s founding.

KEYS 4/4 KIDS

KEYS 4/4 KIDS

A Salvation Army, Just For Pianos

. . . .

For over 10 years, Midwest nonprofit Keys 4/4 Kids has been accepting donations of used and unwanted pianos and refurbishing them for resale to fund its three major youth and civic programs: Pianos On Parade, Piano Placement, and The Ellen Project. We joined the Keys 4/4 Kids team in October 2015 and stayed for a little over a year to draft and implement a digital media strategy modernizing the way the nonprofit delivers good on its mission after it experienced a 45% systemic decline in piano sales from 2012-2015.

With four brick and mortar retail locations ($1MM) and hundreds of pianos on showroom floors to bring to market, we became highly focused in three primary areas to reverse an alarming 3-year downward trend: 1) Analyzing channel performance from past sales data to identify best performing channels, 2) Overhauling the charity’s legacy website into an operationally-aligned platform to more seamlessly interface with donors and customers, and III) Producing content with community partners and deploying it to relevant audiences via targeted paid marketing.

In a year’s time, our design and implementation had not only reversed the trend, but also nearly brought revenue figures back to all time highs. Trailing October 2016, TTM for piano sales increased ~52%, recapturing ~80% of the peak year-end revenue benchmark set in 2012. Additionally, operations teams reported record numbers of high value piano donations including one professionally appraised at $35K, the highest valued instrument to be processed since the organization’s founding.

(Image Courtesy of Keys 4/4 Kids)

. . . .

Services: DIGITAL MEDIA STRATEGY, VIDEOGRAPHY, VIDEO EDITING, PHOTOGRAPHY, WEB DESIGN, PAID ACQUISITION

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I.

I.

HISTORICAL ACQUISITION CHANNEL PERFORMANCE

Analyzing years of purchase orders and donation slips, a palpable sense of how past customers and donors became aware of the charity emerged from the noise just in time for the holidays. Heavy seasonal promotion and offers deployed into the best performing channels via enriched media generated the most successful holiday on record. Auditing historical acquisition channel performance was critical to shoring up the charity's most vital KPIs and beginning the reversal of a 3-year downward trend.

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II.

II.

OPERATIONALLY-ALIGNED WEBSITE

The process of purchasing from or donating a piano to the charity requires a fair degree of coordination for all parties involved. Prospective customers and donors needed to know the charity had a proven track record of delivering good on its mission and the charity's internal sales and operations teams needed to be able to efficiently facilitate deal flow with prospective customers, streamline order fulfillment from donors, and manage service inquiries.

Integrating the charity's story, original video content, transparency on piano pathways, press clippings from established news outlets, industry guides to piano ownership, and thoughtful web forms into mobile-responsive streams created more seamless and educational consideration experiences for website visitors. Inquiries via web forms were automated to route to custom, user-friendly dashboards of sales and operations teams, according to market.

Additionally, the organization was transitioned out of an inefficient paper-based POS system to a web-based, full SSL encrypted and PCI compliant platform with branded checkout enabling more seamless financial reporting and accountability, automated data collection around vital KPIs (esp. channel performance), and easy management of a new payment plan system that lowered the barriers to piano ownership by an order of magnitude.

III.

III.

IN-HOUSE CONTENT PRODUCTION & TARGETED PAID AMPLIFICATION

Dedicated in-house content production powered a nimble and adaptable cycle that yielded timely or evergreen stories around organizational initiatives. Out of a collection of 40+ original videos produced during this engagement and various other collateral, the targeted paid amplification of choice content across 100+ unique Midwest audiences via Facebook placements against a modest ~$1800 budget (utilizing shares on content as the most vital KPI) generated hundreds of thousands of impressions enabling the charity to tell its stories at scale to relevant audiences.

The steady growth in top-of-funnel awareness created an inflow of prospective customers and donors, and attracted mission-aligned organizations and artists to the charity’s cause, laying the groundwork for a series of creative collaborations and partnerships:

  A Great Big World   Ian from   A Great Big World   worked with the charity to deliver a heart-wrenching acoustic version of a ballad AGBW fans know all too well on a painted piano installed at the Minnesota State Fair.    [ VIEW ]

A Great Big World

Ian from A Great Big World worked with the charity to deliver a heart-wrenching acoustic version of a ballad AGBW fans know all too well on a painted piano installed at the Minnesota State Fair.

[ VIEW ]

  Ben Folds   The inimitable   Ben Folds   threw his support behind the charity’s piano salvaging enterprise at a benefit concert from the stages of the Turf Club in Minneapolis.    [ VIEW ]

Ben Folds

The inimitable Ben Folds threw his support behind the charity’s piano salvaging enterprise at a benefit concert from the stages of the Turf Club in Minneapolis.

[ VIEW ]

  Tilden Trotter   We heard whispers from the charity’s Kansas City location about an Uber driver named Tilden Trotter (aka   King Trot  ) who would sometimes pull up right outside the store and freestyle into the night.    [ VIEW ]

Tilden Trotter

We heard whispers from the charity’s Kansas City location about an Uber driver named Tilden Trotter (aka King Trot) who would sometimes pull up right outside the store and freestyle into the night.

[ VIEW ]

  Nicholas David   “The Voice” season finalist and Saint Paul’s very own   Nicholas David   worked with the charity on a host of events including Pianos On Parade (   Kare 11 Press   ) and a series of shows called the “Summer of Love Your Neighbor” to warm up for his upcoming national tour, graciously donating a portion of proceeds to the charity.

Nicholas David

“The Voice” season finalist and Saint Paul’s very own Nicholas David worked with the charity on a host of events including Pianos On Parade (Kare 11 Press) and a series of shows called the “Summer of Love Your Neighbor” to warm up for his upcoming national tour, graciously donating a portion of proceeds to the charity.

  Maya Tuylieva   A piano lesson for Johnny in just under a minute from the charity’s KC showroom with the esteemed   Dr. Maya Tuylieva  , Executive Director of the   Piano Academy of Kansas City   …     [ VIEW ]

Maya Tuylieva

A piano lesson for Johnny in just under a minute from the charity’s KC showroom with the esteemed Dr. Maya Tuylieva, Executive Director of the Piano Academy of Kansas City

[ VIEW ]

  Davina and The Vagabonds   Down-and-dirty   Davina and The Vagabonds     spoke on what her piano meant to her and delivered a rousing set on a painted piano at the Minnesota State Fair.    [ VIEW ]

Davina and The Vagabonds

Down-and-dirty Davina and The Vagabonds spoke on what her piano meant to her and delivered a rousing set on a painted piano at the Minnesota State Fair.

[ VIEW ]

  Chicago Jazz Magazine   With similar audiences in mind, long standing   Chicago Jazz Magazine   and the charity joined forces to copublish a   10 episode series covering the jazz scene in Chicago. Episodes   013   and   006   stood out from the pack.

Chicago Jazz Magazine

With similar audiences in mind, long standing Chicago Jazz Magazine and the charity joined forces to copublish a 10 episode series covering the jazz scene in Chicago. Episodes 013 and 006 stood out from the pack.

  Jess Godwin   DIY pop artist and singer/songwriter   Jess Godwin   chose the charity’s Chicago warehouse as the site for her next self-produced music video “I Can Wait”.    [ VIEW ]

Jess Godwin

DIY pop artist and singer/songwriter Jess Godwin chose the charity’s Chicago warehouse as the site for her next self-produced music video “I Can Wait”.

[ VIEW ]

  Clamor & Claw   Old Chicago warehouses make for great acoustics thought the   Clamor and Claw Sextet  . The band set up shop for the weekend at the charity’s Chicago location to record their   six-song EP  .

Clamor & Claw

Old Chicago warehouses make for great acoustics thought the Clamor and Claw Sextet. The band set up shop for the weekend at the charity’s Chicago location to record their six-song EP.

  Minneapolis Downtown Council   In an unprecedented partnership with long-time neighbor   Minneapolis Downtown Council  , the business association generously sponsored and installed 25 highly decorated pianos throughout downtown Minneapolis in the summer of 2016 (   Kare 11 Press   ). The council cited the stories surrounding Pianos On Parade from the charity's new website as the primary activation behind its decision to approach the charity.    [ VIEW ]

Minneapolis Downtown Council

In an unprecedented partnership with long-time neighbor Minneapolis Downtown Council, the business association generously sponsored and installed 25 highly decorated pianos throughout downtown Minneapolis in the summer of 2016 (Kare 11 Press). The council cited the stories surrounding Pianos On Parade from the charity's new website as the primary activation behind its decision to approach the charity.

[ VIEW ]

  Hovland Conservatory of Music   Over 60 pianos were matched with parents of students from   Hovland Conservatory of Music  , a Twin Cities-based conservatory, and its satellite location in Phoenix, AZ. We designed and assembled a 50+ page interactive digital catalog to enable the charity’s sales and operations teams to interface with and successfully fulfill its very first wholesale intrastate demand.

Hovland Conservatory of Music

Over 60 pianos were matched with parents of students from Hovland Conservatory of Music, a Twin Cities-based conservatory, and its satellite location in Phoenix, AZ. We designed and assembled a 50+ page interactive digital catalog to enable the charity’s sales and operations teams to interface with and successfully fulfill its very first wholesale intrastate demand.

  Make Music Chicago   Every June 21st,   Make Music Chicago   helps Chicagoans celebrate their ability to make music, regardless of age, ability or preferred musical style. For its 3rd summer, Make Music Chicago partnered up with the charity and Night Out in the Parks (   DNA Info Press   ) to install seven pianos across the city’s parks and beaches for anyone to sit and play.

Make Music Chicago

Every June 21st, Make Music Chicago helps Chicagoans celebrate their ability to make music, regardless of age, ability or preferred musical style. For its 3rd summer, Make Music Chicago partnered up with the charity and Night Out in the Parks (DNA Info Press) to install seven pianos across the city’s parks and beaches for anyone to sit and play.