When Hallmark and CaringBridge announced their strategic agreement in October 2013, neither organization knew quite how that alliance would unfold.
What they did know was that the two organizations – the greeting card leader and the nonprofit social network that keeps loved ones connected during any type of health event – had compatible missions. They also knew that finding the right words and ways to show support in difficult times can be a struggle for many, and that together the two brands could be more helpful to more people.
One year later, that promise has taken shape in new greeting card collections, content for both brands’ digital platforms and the potential for a number of new and more meaningful ways to help people offer comfort, love, hope and compassion.
“Hallmark understands what to say and how to say it, even during difficult times,” says Ben Cohara, strategic alliance director for Hallmark. “CaringBridge understand what patients, caregivers and supporters need from and do for each other. Together we have worked to come up with content, product and services that combine the best of the two companies’ insight and expertise.”
Multiple initiatives have already emerged as a result of the partnership:
• Hallmark has created ways for visitors to CaringBridge.org to leave guestbook messages with Hallmark words and images for people experiencing a health event and their caregivers.
• For those wishing to send a tangible sign of support, a new co-branded greeting card collection is now available at select Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The collection consists of 12 inspirational cards that lift and empower people as they support one another in times of need. Customizable versions of the cards in the co-branded line are available on Hallmark.com as well.
• Also available on Hallmark.com are additional support-themed greeting cards developed from a consumer-created card contest. Hundreds of contest entries offering ideas for encouragement, caregiving and end-of-life support were evaluated by a team from CaringBridge and Hallmark. Winning designs have become personalized greeting cards.
• Businesses can show support for CaringBridge by sending co-branded greeting cards to customers, employees and other business contacts, offered by Hallmark Business Connection, Hallmark’s B2B division. Five designs are currently available, one for Thanksgiving and four for the December holidays.
• Content on Hallmark.com developed by Hallmark and CaringBridge offers inspiration for supporting caregivers, including how to share easily prepared and stored meals, how to start a prayer chain and ways to include children in caregiving.
“The amount of interaction and support from CaringBridge users was phenomenal during the Hallmark card contests,” says Sona Mehring, founder and CEO of CaringBridge. “Enhancing the Guestbook experience by adding Hallmark-designed creative to our CarePosts® library has allowed loved ones the ability to send an uplifting message when words fail, which is priceless.”
“The goal of our partnership is to help people support the patient and caregivers, strengthen the community of support around the patient, and celebrate and find meaning in the health journey,” says Cohara. “We believe the services and products we have jointly developed – and those yet to come – exceed that goal.”
About Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Hallmark makes the world a more caring place by helping people express what's in their hearts and connect in emotional ways with others. In the U.S., innovative Hallmark greeting cards and gifts are sold through the network of Hallmark Gold Crown® specialty stores, leading mass retailers and online. Worldwide, Hallmark offers products in more than 30 languages available in 100 countries. Millions of households enjoy family friendly television programming offered by cable’s top-rated Hallmark Channel and fast-growing Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Hallmark’s Crayola subsidiary inspires artistic creativity in children through Crayola® crayons and markers as well as other innovative art tools, crafting activities and creative toys. Privately held Hallmark is based in Kansas City, Mo., and continues to be led by members of the founding Hall family. Visit http://corporate.hallmark.com for more details.
CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization offering many ways for people to care for each other during any type of health event. Its mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier and fostering healing when it’s needed most. CaringBridge, started in 1997, provides free websites with customized security settings and is completely ad-free. More than 43 million people visited the site in 2013, and half a million people connect through CaringBridge every day. For more information, visit www.CaringBridge.org.
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