Too often, patient safety issues are pushed to the fringes of health care policy discussions because they make patients and health care providers uneasy. We don’t like to think (or talk) about this topic, which brings us face to face with an uncomfortable truth – that our health care isn’t as safe as it could be. Think About It Colorado, a coalition of dedicated and knowledgeable leaders from the patient advocacy, health care and business communities, wanted to change this by launching an awareness campaign designed to foster a culture of patient safety. SE2’s challenge was to create a large-scale awareness campaign on a slim budget. To make the challenge more difficult, SE2 had to communicate a complex and often polarizing issue in a way that articulated the problem and encouraged the audience to take action.
We started by crafting powerful messages to serve as the foundation for all our media. From there, SE2 drafted an integrated media campaign – including earned media as well as television, radio, print, and web advertising. SE2 created an ad campaign that cut through the clutter with highly targeted media buys and simple but compelling imagery and messaging. For example, we secured print ads that ran weekly on The Denver Post’s editorial page – the first ever of their kind. The stark creative highlighted a single provocative message. We also avoided becoming part of the online advertising clutter by utilizing demographic and behavioral targeting to ensure ads were delivered to the right people at the right times. The call to action requested that the audience visit the campaign’s website, ThinkAboutItColorado.org, to get involved.
SE2’s thoughtfully crafted media campaign resulted in an astonishing response by patients and the health care community. By leveraging a mix of paid and earned media tactics, the campaign demonstrated to stakeholders how important it is for them to come together to improve patient safety. As a result, Think About It Colorado built a broad and growing coalition that includes individuals and three dozen health care organizations who have all come together to drive the critical reforms needed in this area. The targeted paid and earned media campaign drove a significant amount of traffic to ThinkAboutItColorado,org, resulting in a 1300% increase in new visitors to the website, a five-fold increase in views of Think About It Colorado’s patient safety videos, and a three-fold increase in the number of campaign supporters.