Case Study: Diabetes Research Connection

When five people come together with a joint mission to prevent, treat, and cure type 1 diabetes, a lot of amazing things can happen. Five leading experts, and proponents for type 1 diabetes, came together in 2012 to establish the Diabetes Research Connection (DRC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to do just that.

Today, Diabetes Research Connection is the only crowdfunding platform that focuses on type 1 diabetes research by early-career scientists. This area of research is severely underfunded and yet, diabetes funding continues to decline globally. What is most interesting about DRC is that the projects they wish to crowdfund are research made by early-career scientists. As history has shown, young early-career scientists, like Albert Einstein, have found innovative breakthroughs that we still use as a foundation for our existence today. DRC sees funding early-career scientists as undervalued. As a result, they are now providing more opportunities for these scientists to gain substantial funding for their cutting edge research.

In order to make that difference, and get their name and mission known, DRC knew they needed to create a clear and consistent brand platform that would help differentiate their messaging from the rest. That was when Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was brought in (early 2015) to strengthen and support DRC’s brand across all public facing marketing channels. From brand management to website development to strategic social and digital marketing, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was able to enhance DRC’s brand equity and presence while helping them achieve their funding objectives.

The final work products were as follows:

  • Mobile-Responsive, Crowdfunding Ecommerce Website Design & Programming
  • Google Adwords Optimization via Google Grant
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Monthly Email Marketing & Social Media Campaigns
  • Infographic Design and Icon Development
  • Brochure & Collateral Design
  • Stationery Package Design
  • Public Relations: Press Releases & Media Fact Sheet
  • Integrated December Giving Campaign: Direct Mail Appeal + Social Fundraising Campaign

The Diabetes Research Connection difference was something Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency sought out to illuminate. Their first step in this process was conducting a branding analysis to clearly define DRC’s mission as well as align their internal and external brand attributes. By performing an in-depth brand analysis, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was able to crystallize DRC’s business, marketing, and sales objectives as well as lay out the foundation for additional tactics needed to develop and reposition their brand. Leveraging DRC’s refined brand and unique proposition, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was then able to tie their recommendations to a targeted marketing strategy so as to increase funding and maximize opportunities for brand awareness.

Using DRC’s refreshed brand identity, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was then able to refine the existing logo with the revised name, update the logo suite, and build out the stationery package: business cards, letterhead, and envelope. Using this foundation for the style guide, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency then worked to extend the brand by building a new mobile-responsive, crowdfunding e-commerce WordPress website and was ready for launch by the June 2015.


After the site launched, Incitrio’s next steps involved launching a series of effective marketing strategies and tactics that would provide DRC with maximum impact and ROI. One of DRC’s most robust campaigns was launched in December, a high-traffic giving month in the non-profit space. Using a three-pronged approach, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was able to receive substantial results for DRC fundraising goals. First, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency targeted publishing companies and contacts relevant to DRC’s mission to gain public exposure on news channels, digital magazines, and similar. Then, using a traditional marketing push, they requested donations through direct mail using an Appeal Letter and Remittance Card with easy-to-understand icons and infographics to explain the DRC’s unique model. Finally, they leveraged Facebook and Instagram to increase online awareness, promote engagement, and increase donations. This three-pronged approach for December resulted in increasing online engagement by 400% and a 30% increase in average monthly online donations compared to previous months.


Through thoughtfully considered and data-backed campaigns, Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency was able to help DRC raise a total of $478,494 for type 1 diabetes research within one year. As funding research for diabetes continues to decline globally, our hope for DRC is to support their goal for improving prevention, treatment, and curing type 1 diabetes.

> Click here to visit the new Diabetes Research Connection website.

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