When COVID-19 first struck the United States, people weren’t sure what to think or how to appropriately respond. This left a void of reliable information, and The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth – a medical research center and university – saw an opportunity to step forward as a reliable source of scientific information that people could trust. Since the Health Science Center had recently unveiled its rebranding efforts, the timing was perfect to build awareness and positively impact the community.
The public is saturated with dire warnings and doomsday scenarios about COVID-19. While the health and safety intent is noble, many of the messages cause stress, anxiety, and fear, and the emotional effects of these campaigns can muddy the facts and leave the community confused about the realities of COVID-19. The situation required someone to step up, take the lead and empower the people of North Texas with reliable messages and accurate information about COVID-19. Instead of creating something that leads to confusion and fear, why not urge optimism through clear information and encourage preparation?
The seriousness of the coronavirus required truly timely messaging. With that urgency in place, our team had to be nimble and responsive and put together a comprehensive campaign that would inspire community-wide participation in safer lifestyle changes. To complicate matters further, we earned this new business opportunity while our entire team was in the first stages of working remotely and adjusting to the new normal of professional life under quarantine. These circumstances challenged us to strategize quickly, and the nature of creating accurate messages about COVID-19 implored us to execute with extreme accuracy.
COVID-19 is a serious disease that requires people’s earnest respect. Unfortunately, that has created an atmosphere of negativity, and disempowerment that makes people feel like they’re being told what they can and cannot do every single day. People are worried about their jobs, concerned for their family and friends, and lack a clear direction and information about where the situation is heading.
The pervasiveness of negativity and the ultimate feeling of powerlessness led to the creation of the COVID DAYxDAY campaign, which empowers people to be optimistic and pragmatic during these uncertain times. When we created this campaign, we wanted to change the public’s general attitude from fear to resilience. We understand that people feel down, powerless, and pessimistic about the future, so our challenge is to help our community get through this one day at a time – and that’s where DAYxDAY was born. Our ultimate goal is to meet our audience where they are emotionally, and encourage a positive attitude shift with hope, optimism, and science-based guidance that can protect the individual – and our community – from the coronavirus. We needed to do all of this while under a brief, three-month campaign period.
We built the DAYxDAY campaign with the guidance and partnership of the Health Science Center team. DAYxDAY provides north Texans with reliable information about how to safely navigate the world during the pandemic and offers important community updates to the people of North Texas. In fact, education is at the heart of the DAYxDAY campaign, and one of the core objectives is to encourage healthy lifestyle changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To centralize this information, we created coviddayxday.com – a microsite under the Health Science Center umbrella purely focused on sharing COVID-19 content.
We formed strategic partnerships with Texas news leaders like The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and local organizational partnerships with the City of Fort Worth, Visit Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Tarrant County and Camp Fire First Texas to tap into relevant supporting content and leverage our partners’ audience for improved campaign exposure. To ensure that we shared a wide breadth of valuable information, we carefully selected the type of content we shared from each partner so that we could create a comprehensive informational hub tailored to the needs of North Texans.
Our campaign content matrix uses a blend of organic content, partnership content, paid and organic social media, and earned media to make certain that our message reached the widest local audience possible. Furthermore, the microsite exists in English and Spanish to better communicate with a third of North Texas, which is Spanish speaking.
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and we’re still working to encourage people to take the necessary preventative measures to protect themselves and our community. It’s an honor to be part of a creative campaign that educates and empowers our North Texas home, and we feel fortunate to play a role in helping to keep our community safe and healthy. As a result of our shared success, we’ve expanded the initial campaign agreement into a broader, long-term initiative for the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.