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…
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the rollout of healthcare exchanges, Blue Cross BlueShield of Texas launched the non-profit Be Covered coalition to educate the public about health insurance and the enrollment process. The…
The Census Bureau is responsible for producing official population estimates which dictate how and where over $675 billion in federal funding is allocated each year. It is imperative that localities ensure as many residents respond to the Census…
The Alamo Colleges in San Antonio were planning to unveil their new Promise program, a last-dollar scholarship program for select graduates of San Antonio public high schools. The program was to launch in concert with the start…
Stone Child College
Stone Child College is a Native-Serving Institution located on the Rocky Boy Agency Reservation in Box Elder Montana. The college is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Chippewa Cree Nation and providing education…
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the rollout of healthcare exchanges, Blue Cross BlueShield of Texas launched the non-profit Be Covered coalition to educate the public about health insurance and the enrollment process. The campaign was particularly focused on the under‑privileged, many whom would qualify for cost-sharing subsidies, and sought to empower them to make informed health care decisions.
BlueCross BlueShield of Texas is the state’s largest insurer. Working with BlueCross BlueShield, Outreach Strategists created a campaign in Houston and Dallas [the states’ two most populous cities] to educate consumers about the Affordable Care Act and create awareness around the health care exchange markets. We built and drove a grass‑tops healthcare coalition of over 160 community partners, including non-profits and faith groups, who shared critical information with their constituents. Community partners were provided with regular, up-to-date talking points and collateral materials, and these efforts were supported by active social media and earned media campaigns to create a wrap-around narrative that would communicate the importance of enrollment and critical deadlines across multiple mediums.
Be Covered partners and staff participated in and distributed information at more than 500 public events in targeted communities, driving awareness and participation among traditionally hard to reach communities. Community partners shared information and multi-language collateral through e-blasts, social media, and digital and print newsletters. In total, the campaign reached an estimated 670,000 people through trusted messengers, which led to an increase in ACA enrollments that exceeded initial expectations.
This successful program ran for three years, and our firm was recently retained to reinitiate the program, following a dip in health insurance enrollments in 2018.
The Census Bureau is responsible for producing official population estimates which dictate how and where over $675 billion in federal funding is allocated each year. It is imperative that localities ensure as many residents respond to the Census as possible. Outreach Strategists has been at the forefront of regional efforts to drive up response rates in Harris County, the City of Houston, and Fort Bend County.
In Harris County and the City of Houston, Outreach Strategists oversees a $4 million project consisting of outreach, communications, and data vendors. Our role is to provide strategic guidance in concert with vendors, task management ensuring data-driven implementation sourced from project’s data science assets (experiments, surveys, and predictive models), facilitate streamlined communication between vendors, and prevent duplication of efforts with other partners operating in the space such as elected officials, the United States Census Bureau, and other operating entities.
Additionally, Outreach Strategists, knowing the importance of community outreach and involvement also leaned on the community support of Fort Bend County and created a Complete County Committee to both provide feedback on our strategies and to inform traditionally hard to count populations of the importance of the federal census.
Outreach Strategists secured over $250,000 in in-kind donations for advertisement of the coordinated campaign. Outreach Strategists, utilizing data-driven strategies, also works to ensure that all collateral is distributed in areas that reflect the most hard to count populations.
In Fort Bend County, currently ranked first amongst counties in the state for response rate of residents, Outreach Strategists developed a layered campaign focused on digital and direct outreach. Outreach Strategists did this through securing over $400,000 in funding to support direct mail, peer-to-peer and SMS, and digital advertising in targeted hard to count communities in Fort Bend County. In the course of a single month the aggressive digital advertising campaign designed and initiated by Outreach Strategists reached more than 120,544 residents, aggregating 958,402 total impressions, and creating more and 2,500 click-thrus to the federal census website.
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.
The Alamo Colleges in San Antonio were planning to unveil their new Promise program, a last-dollar scholarship program for select graduates of San Antonio public high schools. The program was to launch in concert with the start of the 2019-20 academic year for graduating high school seniors.
The leadership of the Promise program retained Outreach Strategists to evaluate the potential program offering. After conducting rigorous intake interviews with stakeholders and program staff, Outreach Strategists developed a series of qualitative exercises to measure opinion, test collateral, and evaluate potential interest in the program.
Outreach Strategists organized focus groups with the three key audiences for the organization: high school students, parents (in English and Spanish), and high school teachers. The groups evaluated whether attending a community college was seen as a positive step to a better future, the impacts of economic considerations like tuition and debt on the decision to continue an education beyond high school, and tested content and collateral to evaluate the dimensions of the Alamo Promise program.
The research informed subsequent programmatic design, including more accessible terminology, better visual representations, and explainer videos in English and Spanish for potential applicants and their families.
Outreach Strategists also confirmed how teachers could serve as effective vectors for increased applications by students seeking to find a post- secondary path, and identified significant skepticism from parents as a barrier to participation unless they received much more information about the program’s offerings and opportunities.
In the first year, more than 8,000 eligible applicants (out of nearly 10,000 High school seniors in participating schools) had taken the first step in the process; far greater than the 50 percent participation rate the program had anticipated prior to our engagement.
Stone Child College
Stone Child College is a Native-Serving Institution located on the Rocky Boy Agency Reservation in Box Elder Montana. The college is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Chippewa Cree Nation and providing education and opportunity to the local community. However, given its remote location, the college needed a way to connect with the young people they wished to serve. Outreach Strategists provided an in-depth re-branding to transform the image of the college and connect them to students and potential supporters across the state using highly targeted social media and digital advertising.
We cast a precise net targeting high school students in the surrounding school districts, as well as college and career counselors. Each post also contained a link to the college’s application portal and resources for additional information. As audience members clicked the posts, we tracked their interaction to continue serving them content over a period of several weeks.
Posts and content that highlighted different selling points of the college were served to help discover which elements of the college’s brand proposition resonated with a given audience member. For example, those clicking on content describing the college’s degree offerings in education would continue to be served content offering greater information on those courses and options specifically. By surrounding audiences with content and information that resonates, we facilitate in-bound traffic and interactions that drive KPIs for the college.
We also utilized recruitment events at neighboring competitor institutions to target students attending their events. Using a geo-fenced approach, we targeted competitor campuses across the state with our content so that prospective students visiting their campus would also be served our content. More of our work with Stone Child College is located in the attachments section.
Over the course of four months Stone Child College’s digital content has been served to more than 30,000 Montana students and educators, driving not only an initial increase in web traffic, in-coming requests for information, and enrollment, but also a far greater awareness of the institution and its offerings across audiences.