Most people take broadband internet for granted in metropolitan areas, but did you know that most areas of rural Illinois still don’t have it?
Enter Project Broadband Breakthrough, which launched this year in five Illinois counties to educate community members on how to get involved, develop plans, and submit proposals to acquire reliable and affordable broadband from service providers.
When the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) communications team approached us about this project, we were excited to help spread the word about this important technological development for Illinois farmers in print and online.
The creative inspiration came from the rural electrification of Illinois beginning back in 1938 when the State Rural Electrification Committee began a quest to connect farm homes with electricity. Their campaign featured sepia-toned pictures of real people doing hands on jobs, as well as illustrations of rural life set against modern angles and bold colors.
We aimed to meld the old and new with the throwback to the electrification campaign and contrast it with the modern soybean farmer.
Here’s how it came together.
Illinois Field & Bean Cover
The April issue of Illinois Field & Bean features the broadband project on the cover as an introduction to an entire issue dedicated to information about broadband. We wanted to show the different aspects of rural life that will be touched by better internet access. You can see the illustrations of everyday life that embody the look of a WIFI signal with Illinois at the base.
We created a landing page on ILSoy.org to explain the program, as well as the benefits for each sector of rural life, from precision agriculture, to modern farming, to education, to health, and more. The page is a springboard for more information; people looking to get broadband in their rural communities will also find resources and contact information to get the project started in their area.
The social media strategy focused on showcasing the benefits of having reliable broadband access and pointed to the webpage for farmers to find more information on how to advocate for broadband in their area.
The email template gave the ISA communications team a visual outlet that they can easily use to update their farmers as the broadband project continues and evolves.
With only five counties down and many more to go in Illinois, we’ll look forward to seeing the rest of rural Illinois get “up to speed”!