HOW TO BE NIMBLE AMIDST A GLOBAL HEALTHCARE CRISIS
In February, COVID-19 reached the United States and began spreading like wildfire. By March, we declared a state of a national emergency. Then words like “social-distancing” and “quarantine” became commonplace in our vocabulary. With all this came fear and uncertainty around one of the things that concerns us most: Our health.
Quickly, we turned our eyes to the medical community for answers and, of course, a vaccine.
CU ANSCHUTZ MEDICAL CAMPUS “BREAKTHROUGH”
As one of the leading medical destinations in the world, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) tackles the toughest diseases on the planet.
In 2019, Karsh Hagan launched “This Is Breakthrough,” the first-ever brand advertising campaign for the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. It was designed to elevate the campus as a unique place that combines education, research, and patient care. A campus with the brightest brains and the best technology on the planet, united by one common goal — to end the biggest threats to our health, for good.
At the start of 2020, this courageous campaign got a bold follow up built on a similar foundation. It featured a confident narrator telling nasty illnesses, viruses and diseases to run and hide. Of course, CU Anschutz advancements in research around heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other major medical issues inspired this ad. But COVID-19 was a novel, never-before-seen virus. And it was slowly infiltrating our lives.
So with a campaign in-market through June that had strong media pull, but less power due to the mystery of COVID-19, it was time to bring ourselves into the “New Normal.”
Ever-ready, our Karsh Hagan Plan Ahead Team asked:
- Should CU Anschutz’s media assets go dark?
- Would we risk losing the momentum gained?
- How do we push through the noise?
But our biggest question of all was: What should the message be?
With CU Anschutz being one of the leading medical campuses in the world, what could it tell the people listening now, more than ever before?
CRISIS MANAGEMENT 101: CHANGING THE NARRATIVE
Our Plan Ahead Team acknowledged that the world was uncertain about what this "New Normal" looked like. So our active and bold “breakthrough” messaging, although very fitting to the CU Anschutz brand, needed to evolve to address our changing world.
The right thing to do as a trusted medical campus was to be empathetic, understanding, and, most importantly, relevant.
To achieve this, we worked to shed light on the doctors, nurses and researchers in the trenches fighting COVID-19. In a landscape where everyone else was saying “thank you” to the frontlines for their service, we reinforced that by showing CU Anschutz as a place where “breakthrough” is constant. A place where the relentless pursuit of solutions to complex illnesses is the top priority.
CRISIS PIVOT: BE QUICK, BUT NIMBLE
Not only did we pivot the CU Anschutz creative message, we also evaluated the media plan to ensure our new messaging would connect with audiences in the appropriate spaces.
With new developments, information, and regulations constantly evolving — we needed a plan that was versatile and could adjust to the constantly shifting media landscape. We utilized the remainder of our broadcast TV schedule, coupled with a strong digital plan, including:
- Connected TV
- Digital radio
- Native Advertising
Once we received the green light from CU Anschutz to pivot our messaging and media, the clock started ticking.
COMING TOGETHER AS A CRISIS MANAGEMENT TEAM
Together, we had to replace our current campaign, and fast. To meet the next broadcast flight, we needed to turn around a new TV spot in two weeks, with various versions, that could all correspond to our digital tactics.
To achieve this, our team focused on a succinct, yet nimble action plan, and jumped in with both feet knowing it would probably change by the hour.
This meant creating a new script in 24 hours, creating storyboards in 48 hours, getting approvals in 72 hours, gathering assets in 96 hours. Editing, versioning, and tactical executioning came together during the final four days, so we could traffic one day early.
EARNING RESULTS THROUGH CRISIS PLANNING
On April 13th we launched the new CU Anschutz campaign entitled “Through It All” with resounding support and pride from everyone involved. Despite navigating uncharted territory with many constraints, we organized a fully integrated and focused campaign that delivered something contextually relevant to our target audiences.
After six weeks, “Through It All” got even more engagement than our previous successful campaigns:
- Video Completion Rate: 80% (53% benchmark)
- Video Completions: 5.6M
- Video View Duration: 87%* (50-60% benchmark)*During the campaign we saw Video View Duration hover at 100% for several weeks.
- Total Organic Social mentions achieved the same number in less time and surpassed the number of Positive Social mentions.
Our work is far from over. With the threat of a COVID-19 resurgence on the horizon and a need for more medical resources to provide information and find a vaccine, more difficult decisions must be made.
We’ll continue to look to CU Anschutz doctors, nurses, and researchers to show us what “This Is Breakthrough” really means by communicating that we will get “Through it All” … together.