Denver Health / Community Voices

INDUSTRY: Health Care and Social Outreach
LENGTH OF ENGAGEMENT: Ongoing client since 2001

SCOPE OF WORK: Awareness campaign and outreach program support materials; logo creation, print ads, outdoor, transit, TV, Point of Service displays, window displays and exterior and interior event-day signage

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Denver Health is the city and county public hospital serving Denver’s underserved, homeless and indigent populations. Community Voices is the arm of the hospital that aggressively tackles social issues and is supported almost entirely through government and foundation grants.

To date, we’ve created campaigns targeting Native American parents, Hispanic and African-American men, homeless men and women, and Coloradans at risk for heart disease. Because the audiences for these specialized programs tend to be very cynical and jaded, we need to steer clear of “hokey” or cookie-cutter approaches. Instead, we start by developing a deep understanding of each audience we are targeting.

We speak in depth with members of the defined target, not just about the topic at hand, but also about their lives in general. We walk in their shoes for a while. We ask them questions, which on the surface may seem completely unrelated to the subject at hand but which provide us with a deeper understanding of who they are as individuals and as a group.

Armed with this, we look for commonalities around which we craft our messaging. Creating a campaign based upon a universally understood message not only keeps any one population from feeling singled out, it also raises awareness among the general population of the program, helping to diffuse the stigmas commonly associated with social programs. This universal message is then adjusted, only as necessary, for members of a specific group. To help the success of our messaging and our executions, we have Hispanic copywriting resources we include as consultants early in our strategic and creative processes.

The campaigns we’ve created celebrate life and speak to the target audiences in a manner that gives them credit for being intelligent and able to decode our marketing messages. We have empowered them to take control of their lives, which, from the research, we discovered they felt powerless to do. We consciously avoided telling them what to do; we simply informed them what could happen if they continue to ignore their health.

RESULTS: Our approach and executions have been continuously successful in not only reaching the desired audience, but also moving them to take action on behalf of their own health.

More than 4,000 African-American and Hispanic men signed up for health care over a three-month period as a result of our Men’s Health Initiative Campaign.

During the first 18 months of our ongoing Heart Health Campaign, the Community Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program provided screenings and health services to 4,326 individuals in 10 communities.

Our Homeless Campaign had enrollment specialists assisting more than 200 homeless individuals, up from only 30–45 the year before.

Our Native American campaign realized a 20 percent increase in Native American children enrolled in CHP+. Post-campaign feedback was also very positive, and the Native American community beamed with pride as the campaign hit the community.