Introducing User-Friendly

User-Friendly is an EA-aligned marketing agency. We provide marketing expertise to impact-driven organisations, multiplying efforts towards solving the world's biggest challenges. 

We have supported EA clients such as Giving What We Can, 80K, High Impact Athletes, WANBAM, Rethink Priorities, Happier Lives Institute and Carrick Flynn’s recent campaign for congress, with a wide-range of strategic and creative marketing services.

We had been operating User-Friendly as a freelance side-hustle up until early May this year when we increased our capacity following funding from the EA Infrastructure Fund. The grant is to give User-Friendly operational support whilst we continue to assess the worth and desire for our work in this space.

The Pitch

Effective communication is a key component to the success of many organisational aims. As a movement, core components of our work are unavoidably entwined in the way in which we communicate with our intended audiences. Whether you are aiming to change opinions, change behaviours, drive others towards a more impactful path or encourage donations or pledges, the way in which your message is constructed and disseminated plays a crucial role in how effective your organisation can be.

As an indication of the scale for impact, it’s worth considering the Kantar research that suggests the creative quality of marketing is one of the best multipliers of impact (x12). This indicates the substantial impact available between the best and worst marketing attempts on quality alone. We want to support EA-aligned organisations to achieve their strategic objectives by utilising our expertise and skills, ensuring that their marketing is effectively (and cost-effectively) implemented.

The Service

User-Friendly brings together the international marketing and behavioural science expertise of James Odene and the substantial global animal movement campaigns experience of Amy Odene. We also collaborate with external freelancers for specific expertise that we do not hold ourselves.

Getting the best multiplying effect of marketing requires not only creative skill, but sound strategic underpinning honed through years of experience and training. We offer strategic services including; strategic consultation, messaging development, brand development and management and marketing auditing as well as creative execution services including; graphic design, branding, social media management and asset development, campaign development and ad creative. 

The Scoping

In order to assess the current landscape of the movement’s marketing and communications resource, we disseminated a scoping survey earlier this year. 35 organisations responded, the results from which were assessed alongside our top preconceptions about the desire and worth of such an offering in the EA space, informing our strategy moving forward.

Here you will find a list of our initial preconceptions, a summary of the responses in relation to these, and our agency's solution. We identified 6 challenges that we felt the EA movement faced in relation to such a service. You can review the full scoping survey here.

Internal resource 

Organisations are looking for a specific service or task to be completed but do not have the resource, funding or perhaps full-time capacity need, to hire in-house for this particular project.

Survey result: Throughout the survey results it is clear that the demand for one-off project based work is high, and growing, with seemingly no short-term intention to build this capacity in-house. With the current lack of resource, skill deficit and predicted increase in spend, it is reasonable to suggest that a service such as User-Friendly, could provide an important service, the need for which is only likely to grow. 

User-Friendly Offering:

We can provide the skill and expertise for short, time-bound projects by highly-skilled individuals.

 

Industry pricing

Organisations use external agencies to fill this resource gap, however, this tends to be expensive as they compete with standard industry competitive pricing.

Survey result: Those who currently use external services aren't concerned with the cost of this service however, those who didn't use external services cited lack of budget and external services being too expensive as a reason for attempting to fulfil this resource in-house. Respondents also classed cost-effectiveness as one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an external agency. 

User-Friendly Offering:

We can provide industry-level services without the industry-level pricing.

[NB: We have since increased our fees following feedback from the EA infrastructure fund and will continue to assess this following post-collaboration surveys with our clients. Rather than charging low, subsidised fees and topping these up with grants, we now charge a slightly higher fee, allowing the organisations themselves to assess the value of our service rather than a central funder which would be more difficult to evaluate. Our charges are still less than industry-level pricing.]

 

Nuanced Communication 

Organisations may be hesitant to use an external agency due to the intricacies of their work which needs to be successfully communicated to both the agency completing the works and their intended audience.

Survey result: Amongst the respondents who don't currently use external services, 41% cited their organisation's work being too complicated to communicate and requiring a nuanced understanding of the movement. When thinking about the most important factors to consider when using an external agency, 57.1% of respondents indicated that alignment with EA principles was a key factor. 

User-Friendly Offering:

We are active members of this community and understand the unique nuances. We have experience working across multiple cause areas with EA clients.


Time Commitment/Quality Of Work

The searching and vetting of external agencies or freelancers takes too much time and or project management. On top of this, you can’t always guarantee the quality of the finished product.

Survey result: Those who don't have an internal member of staff and don't use external services cited that they felt they didn't have enough time to organise working with an agency or didn't know who to hire or how to go about hiring them. When considering the most important factors when working with an external agency, the top answer was personally vetting and seeing work examples - all of which can be a significant time commitment. Reputation and ability to fulfil time sensitive requests also scored highly. 

User-Friendly Offering:

Most of our work comes through word of mouth or recommendation, and we continue to grow a positive reputation in the space, cutting out significant resource in hiring external support.

 

Prioritisation

We recognise that whilst organisations may state that marketing is important to their success, it is, broadly speaking, an under-prioritised area in terms of talent and budget allocation.

Survey result: 77.2% of respondents indicated that effective marketing was important to the success of their organisation's objectives and yet, 45.7% of respondents had no internal member of staff responsible for marketing/communications and of those, 78.6% also don't outsource this requirement to an external resource suggesting substantial amounts of 'unskilled' work is being completed. 

User-Friendly Offering:

We aim to highlight the importance of effective marketing as a multiplier towards solving the world's biggest challenges alongside providing skilled support to organisations.


Making Do

Because of the expense or hesitancy to use external agencies, organisations attempt to fill the requirement internally with staff who don’t have adequate experience in this field to effectively complete this work.

Survey result: Marketing, branding and marketing strategy remain underrepresented skills when organisations have one or more dedicated staff members in this field. Coupled with the above results, this suggests that staff with inadequate experience could be making key strategic decisions, affecting organisational output and performance over the long-term. 

User-Friendly Offering:

As a vetted, trusted and cost-effective agency solution, we aim to support the movement with a highly-trained strategic underpinning to ensure that the potential impact of all outputs are multiplied.


The full survey results can be found here.

We are looking forward to continuing our monitoring of the impact of this work, collecting client feedback and assessing the service demand across the movement. 

The Reviews

Luke Freeman, Executive Director, Giving What We Can 

User-Friendly was outstanding to work with. With only a minimal brief and a short timeline, they were able to turn around an excellent giving guide that has received much praise from our community. We are excited to continue working together and don’t hesitate to recommend to others.

 

Bella Forristal, Marketer, 80,000 Hours

I’ve worked with User-Friendly on the ad creative for 80,000 Hours’ Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns. They produced dozens of creative assets, some working very closely from my specifications, and others that they designed fairly autonomously from open-ended prompts. I’ve found their work to be consistently high quality. [..] On my claim that their work is ‘high quality’: I think it looks good, but more importantly, it performs well at its intended function. I commissioned work from 3 graphic designers and User-Friendly’s work consistently significantly outperformed the work of the other designers.

 

Kathryn Mecrow-Flynn, CEO, Magnify Mentoring 

To say I am impressed with Amy and James Odene of User-Friendly is an understatement. The quality of their work is amazing. They were absolutely instrumental in helping Magnify Mentoring with every stage of our rebranding, building an incredible logo from scratch, designing and executing flawlessly every page on our website. Perhaps, the aspect I enjoyed working with James and Amy the most on, is that they deeply care about what they do. It shows in every website they have designed for us- extra details that make the website look not just good but excellent! They also prepared the website for my husband's congressional campaign. They worked so hard on a ridiculously short timeline and the work they created laid the foundation for our fundraising and launch! We are so grateful and they would be my first port of call for any project of this nature. I cannot wait to see what they go to achieve! 

 

Marcus Daniell, CEO, High Impact Athletes

User-Friendly has been extremely effective and a pleasure to work with. So much so that a temporary contract has turned into a long-term relationship! They have been helpful both on a day-to-day level and also in informing and shaping our engagement strategy.

Let’s Talk 

We would love to hear from you if you have any questions or feedback for us at this point. If you have any marketing or communication needs (or maybe think that you don't but would like to be convinced ;) ) we would also love to set up a call to discuss how User-Friendly might be able to support you in your work. 

You can contact us at letstalk@userfriendly.org.uk

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7 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:59 PM

You can tell User-Friendly are a marketing agency because they've not called themselves:

- Good Marketing
- Effective Marketing
- Marketing For Good
- Raising Awareness
- The EA Markers (TEAM)  
- EAgency
- More Ads
- Doing Ads Better
- Ads for Impact

I wasn't aware that this was allowed :P 

(I genuinely like straightforward names, please don't throw potatoes at my house)

I can neither confirm nor deny whether Naming What We Can staff were consulted in this decision.

Great to see.  I am excited to see more projects/organisations which provide support to EA organisations. It's an important and neglected ecosystem. I'd also like to see an incubator set up so that it's easier to get things like this off the ground.

I  am curious why I got a down vote.  Please share why if you are comfortable.  You can leave (anonymous) feedback here: https://forms.gle/c2N8PvNZfTPtUEom7

Me too :) 
I wonder if maybe someone thought the "incubator" part is not such a great idea, given the impact is not that clear? But yeah, overall I agree and am also excited to see this project in the EA space.

Just wanted to call out that working with User Friendly is great, and they've produced some excellent for Giving What We Can and we intend to keep using them! 

How about the same for individuals?

Is their an EA-oriented public resource covering:  

  • Personal website best practices (don't have one years out-of-date like mine!)
  • Social media
  • Is paid advertising ever worthwhile?