We Built This NYC
Organic growth for a grassroots organization

We Built This NYC needed to quickly build a network of supporters to spread awareness about how to support small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. More importantly, they needed to get these new supporters to take action on their behalf.


A coalition of small businesses that came together at the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, We Built This NYC needed help rallying New Yorkers to support them—both financially and with their voices in Albany.

Because of the visibility of the plight facing small business in early 2020, We Built This NYC found themselves with a healthy organic following on Instagram but no strategy for translating the momentum that was building behind their cause into a concerted advocacy effort.


In our work with We Built This NYC, we developed a powerful messaging platform that would inspire users to demand action from politicians and a strategic framework within which we could drive these actions. After a very quick rebrand and messaging exploration, we developed an automated email campaign that segmented their supporters into two core segments: business owners and consumers. This segmentation allowed us to ask business owners to promote We Built This NYC to their customers while simultaneously pushing consumers to contact state and local politicians to help push We Built This NYC’s agenda.


We started by listening. We talked to the small business owners involved in We Built This NYC and dug into their biggest frustrations with state and local government and their greatest worries about their businesses, their finances, and the very uncertain future. From there, we were able to craft messaging that would connect emotionally both with other small business owners in the city and with their most loyal customers. We knew that capturing this emotion authentically was the key to driving the engagement we needed at scale.

Digital Activation


Our team created a campaign centered around email data capture to build a list of supporters to fuel the movement. Moving quickly, we installed a call-to-action at the top of We Built This NYC’s website that would direct users to sign a petition to demand that Albany mandate 90-day rent relief on commercial leases.


We integrated a form on the site to capture the key information required to segment supporters as either business owners or customers. This information was then passed to We Built This NYC’s email platform, where the supporter automatically began to receive an email cadence asking them to take actions on the organization’s behalf. For small business owners, we asked them to share our petition with their own customer lists, both on email and on social. For customers, we gave them the contact information for their representatives in Albany and requested that they reach out to push for 90-day rent relief. To help facilitate these conversations, our emails provided customers with both a call script and an email template they could use as part of their outreach.

To drive email sign ups, we also set up a paid social campaign targeting NYC small business owners. The goal of this campaign was to amplify the conversation around the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in New York City and to grow the We Built This NYC community.


To expand our engagement with small business supporters, we also worked closely with the business in the We Built This NYC coalition to contact their own customer databases, again asking them to sign our petition. Early on, we recognized that connecting with small businesses and channeling the voices of their customers through a single source was critical to achieving the scale this campaign required.


  • 210% increase in social media followers
  • Achieved cost per acquisition of $0.63 with paid social campaign
  • Increased June website traffic by over 600% month-on-month


Increase in active email list size