Video Production Services
Outreach Strategists developed a first of its kind sit-down series,” Your Career Your Choice” which airs on KHOU. The team managed the entire process resulting in a 13-episode pilot series…
The Takata Airbag Recall is the largest automobile safety recall in U.S. history. When deployed, these defective airbags can launch metal shrapnel at the driver and passengers in a vehicle, potentially injuring or even killing them. The Houston-Harris…
Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston region in 2017 delivering unprecedented amounts of flood damage to homes large and small. In early 2019, Harris County and the City of Houston (COH) were awarded approximately $1 billion dollars each…
The Harris County Flood Control District selected Outreach Strategists as its contractor to perform community engagement and public outreach services for its newly organized Encroachments Division and for large-scale…
The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) manages Texas’ most-used network of toll roads, processing more financial transactions in an average day than Amazon. When HCTRA embarked on a plan to replace all six of the Sam Houston…
Outreach Strategists is leading and implementing a community engagement initiative focused on diasporic communities and remittances (sending money to a person in another country). Working with partners and contacts in…
The Austin Independent School District saw a significant decrease in student enrollment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When schools re-opened to in-person classes, campuses across the district reported that scores of students…
Built community support for Facebook’s cutting-edge digital wallet technology
Outreach Strategists is leading and implementing a community engagement initiative focused on diasporic communities and remittances (sending money to a person in another country).
Working with partners and contacts in the Los Angeles area, home to one of the largest and most diverse immigrant populations in the county, we have organized an ongoing series of roundtables, both in-person and digital, to discuss remittances and the digital wallet solution.
Facebook uses the consensus built from these roundtables to demonstrate support for their product.
Gulfcoast Workforce Solutions
Workforce Solutions – Gulf Coast is the public workforce development agency serving Houston-Harris County and the surrounding 13 county region, and is the largest of 28 workforce boards in Texas. Outreach Strategists has led the strategic communication services for Workforce Solutions for the last six years. We provide a full suite of public affairs and community engagement services, as well as media relations, focusing on both the general public and regional employers.
Outreach Strategists assisted Workforce Solutions with media outreach and engagement efforts aimed at informing the community about Workforce Solutions’ services and aiding those who were suddenly out of work. Among several initiatives launched were direct partnerships with local televisions stations. KTRK-TV Channel 13 (ABC) launched a weekly virtual job fair through Facebook and, later, their station’s connected TV app. KRIV-TV Channel 26 (Fox) provided a semi-permanent interview segment during their 6:00 a.m. Friday newscasts. Both partnerships continue to the present day.
Additionally, Outreach Strategists developed a show, “Your Career, Your Choice”, a 30-minute time slot on co-owned KTBU-TV Channel 55 (Quest). Working with our partners at Workforce Solutions, we developed a magazine-talk show hybrid introducing viewers to the plethora of services the agency offers, community groups that provide training programs and other opportunities, advice on writing a compelling resume, strengthening interview skills, and using labor market information in a job search.
A proof-of-concept pilot episode, entitled “Your Career Your Choice – Powered by Workforce Solutions” was produced in March 2021 and was presented to KHOU-TV management in June 2021. The outlet picked up the program with an initial 13-episode order for the first season. Production got underway in January 2022 and continued through July. On July 11, 2022, KHOU-TV assigned the program a 3:00 p.m. Saturday time slot on KTBU-TV with the premiere episode airing on August 6, 2022. Each episode is comprised of three long-form interview segments and two to three pre-taped feature stories related to the theme of each episode. A decision was made very early in the process to recruit Workforce Solutions staff as subject matter experts during interview segments and to serve as feature reporters for pre-taped stories.
Bayou City Initiative
The Project Recovery Buyout Program assists owners whose property was damaged by the 2017 floods to relocate to areas of reduced flood risk. This mandatory program is a key part of Harris County’s plan to increase the county’s overall resilience to future flooding by buying out properties in pre-identified areas that have previously flooded. Outreach Strategists has brought a human approach to the emotional struggle of the individuals and families that are working with the Harris County Department of Community Services Buyout Program. The families of the Buyout Program are facing the reality of moving away from the communities they’ve raised their families in to work through a fairly long process to eventually access a new home. Outreach Strategists was selected to lead the outreach and engagement efforts to help more than 400 families within these low-lying areas move to higher ground through participation on the program.
Outreach Strategists provided cinematic video products that highlighted the milestones of families and individuals that worked with the program processes, their emotional journey, and flood stories to finally arriving at their forever homes. These video production assets gave a personal connection to the loss but also gives even more encouragement and confidence to a lengthy process that can become time consuming and periodically frustrating.
Coordination with program staff and local leaders has led to more people understanding the relocation assistance available to help them and has linked residents with community resources to assist in the transition into their forever homes. Outreach Strategists customized video production is assisting the Harris County Department of Community Services Buyout Program to continue attracting flood risk residents, while still retaining current program participants to start a new safe and secure life as a homeowner.
Federal Monitor for the Takata Airbag Recall
The Takata Airbag Recall is the largest automobile safety recall in U.S. history. When deployed, these defective airbags can launch metal shrapnel at the driver and passengers in a vehicle, potentially injuring or even killing them. The Houston-Harris County region had the largest number of unrepaired airbags in the nation and the federal monitor considered the region to be its top area of concern. The federal monitor tasked Outreach Strategists with developing a plan to build public engagement and awareness of the recall and the life-saving remedies available to vehicle owners.
Leveraging our institutional knowledge and connections throughout Houston-Harris County, we built a coalition of diverse leaders–both community and elected–and stakeholders throughout the region. We supported these coalition members in developing messaging, providing talking points, and collateral materials. Initial rollout of the Airbag Recall campaign launched by a press conference at Houston City Hall generated significant press coverage and immediately elevated the issue in the public conversation. As we continued to develop our engagement efforts, particularly focused on minority and low-income communities, we created a first‑of‑its‑kind canvass campaign for the recall, leveraging the depth of data available to the federal monitor to send trained professionals directly to the doors of owners of recalled vehicles.
Outreach Strategists has built a coalition of over 140 community leaders, organizations, non-profits, and faith groups across the Greater Houston region to create awareness of this life-saving recall and remedy. We further led our community coalition in developing a grassroots outreach plan in partnership with local elected leaders. Our canvassing campaign, the first of its kind for a product safety recall, has reached out to 135,000 households and has a conversion rate of over 80% when we reach people at their residences. Based on the success of this campaign, our engagement model is currently being implemented in the Los Angeles CA–and Fort Lauderdale, FL–regions.
Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston region in 2017 delivering unprecedented amounts of flood damage to homes large and small. In early 2019, Harris County and the City of Houston (COH) were awarded approximately $1 billion dollars each in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to set up programs with these funds to provide homeowner assistance to those affected. Homeowners turned to the disaster recovery programs Project Recovery Harvey run by Harris County and Build it Forward run by the City of Houston to apply for assistance on their road to recovery. The City of Houston and Harris County looked to Outreach Strategists to raise awareness of this much needed funding.
Outreach Strategists engaged in various roles within the county and city programs to help applicants get started in the process as quickly as possible. Our primary role was to manage outreach and engagement for Project Recovery Harvey run by Harris County while our role in Houston’s Build it Forward program was to coordinate a citywide canvassing initiative.
Over the course of our outreach, we presented at over 200 community events across Harris County delivering presentations and doing pre-application intake, the first step toward assistance. Through our efforts, more than 8,000 people filled out a pre-application, exceeding the goal for the program.
Because of our close ties to local community organizations, we recruited and engaged local partners that know their neighbors best, as experts in their community to help spread the word to those affected. We also developed original social media content that they shared across several platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.
Over the course of a year, we engaged approximately 180 organizations to share information about Project Recovery including 217 social media posts, spoke at over 200 community events, and secured 27 media hits worth $196,000. Through our outreach, more than 8,000 people filled out a pre-application for assistance in Harris County’s Project Recovery Harvey program. For Houston’s Build it Forward program, we knocked on over 180,000 doors and helped over 6,000 people apply for assistance. This resulted in the number of applications necessary for both the city and the county to determine eligibility and get homeowners one step closer on the road to recovery.
HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT
The Harris County Flood Control District selected Outreach Strategists as its contractor to perform community engagement and public outreach services for its newly organized Encroachments Division and for large-scale civil engineering and flood mitigation projects within the White Oak Bayou Watershed in central Harris County. This work includes federally- required communications and outreach to the more than 400,000 residents living within the watershed’s boundaries. Outreach Strategists provides guidance and facilitation on community meetings, collateral design, crisis communications, and a variety of other services to deliver clear and effective content for this large public agency.
Outreach Strategists has identified potential community advocates for flood mitigation projects along the White Oak Bayou, and developed a comprehensive database of civic, non-profit, advocacy, and neighborhood contacts. We have also developed comprehensive communications plans to keep residents and business located within the watershed up to date on the status of projects already underway, preparing to get underway, or in the planning stages. From conducting “zero contact” literature drops to inform neighborhoods of upcoming construction to developing video content that explains in layman’s terms complex engineering and construction projects, we provide strategic communications and guidance that help keep these federally-funded projects moving forward, on time, and on budget.
Outreach Strategists staff have attended more than 100 community, civic club, super neighborhood, and homeowner association meetings within the White Oak Bayou Watershed to listen and learn about community concerns around flooding, flood control infrastructure projects, and determine community leaders and other advocates the Flood Control District could engage to build community consensus and support for future projects. We have also written and presented five communications plans relating to various projects the Flood Control District will undertake over the next two years and been tasked with re-writing and updating the White Oak Bayou Watershed website to be more user friendly and engaging to the public.
Harris County Toll Road Authority
The Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) manages Texas’ most-used network of toll roads, processing more financial transactions in an average day than Amazon. When HCTRA embarked on a plan to replace all six of the Sam Houston Tollway’s massive tolling plazas with an all-electronic tolling system, the authority turned to Outreach Strategists to design and implement a community engagement strategy to ensure that the transition away from manned toll booths would happen with minimal disruption. At the same time, HCTRA saw the project as a chance to rebrand itself as an organization that positively impacts people’s lives in ways that extend far beyond simply operating toll roads.
HCTRA transition from a payment system that once allowed drivers to stop and hand cash to toll booth workers to an all-electronic system that invoices drivers by scanning a transponder device on their windshield or their license plate entailed a major education campaign. Outreach Strategists began with a deep-dive research effort that included multiple focus groups in multiple languages, where we gained valuable insights into drivers’ habits, perceptions, and unique needs. We also conducted a landscape analysis to glean best practices from other tolling agencies that had undertaken similar transitions.
We developed a project overview video that clearly connected the project’s goals with HCTRA’s mission and values. All of these resources supported a Communications Plan that included dates for press releases, media events, and community engagement activities. At the same time, Outreach Strategists worked with HCTRA to develop new branding standards, including a revamped logo and agency motto: “HCTRA Connects.”
Insights obtained from Outreach Strategists’ research and analysis helped HCTRA design new tollway signage that clearly and effectively helps drivers adjust to the new driving conditions. HCTRA leaders have conducted multiple public presentations on the project using the materials we developed to help the public understand the changes and the values that are driving them forward.
These efforts have earned HCTRA leadership various awards and recognitions within their industry. The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) has invited HCTRA leaders to conduct multiple presentations on the project’s successes at conferences across the nation. Most importantly, the transition to all-electronic tolling has been conducted with no major disruptions and public safety has been enhanced.
The Austin Independent School District saw a significant decrease in student enrollment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When schools re-opened to in-person classes, campuses across the district reported that scores of students never returned. Austin ISD turned to Outreach Strategists to design and implement a major marketing campaign to win back families that had left the district for charter schools, private schools, or other options. The district also tasked Outreach Strategists with planning and facilitating a major gathering of representatives of all 116 schools to showcase their offering to families in person.
Outreach Strategists began this campaign with a rapid research and analysis phase that focused on neighborhood school enrollment patterns and identifying reasons why families were choosing charter and private schools over Austin ISD campuses. Using these insights, Outreach Strategists developed a district Enrollment Guide with profiles highlighting each campus and its unique offerings. This guide, which is available in print and digitally, also features videos tailored to each campus and a photo library with curated pictures from all 116 campuses.
Outreach Strategists also devised a Marketing and Communications Plan that gave Austin ISD a detailed road map for reaching parents via paid and earned media.
Production of videos and photos began with the start of the new school year, and are on track to be completed in time for the district’s major recruiting effort later in the fall. When the Austin ISD Showcase event happens in October, each school will have its own brochure to show parents their unique offerings.