Jump to:Page Content
You are seeing this message because your web browser does not support basic web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing and what you can do to make your experience on this site better.
Volume VII, Number 1, Winter 2001
Issue Topic: Strategic Communications
Evaluations to Watch
HFRP offers the Covering Kids strategic communications campaign as an example of how a strategic communications campaign can be strengthened by using a research and evaluation framework.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Covering Kids strategic communications campaign is an example of how, with sufficient support and comprehensive planning, a strategic communications campaign can be strengthened by using a research and evaluation framework
The media campaign is a part of the larger Covering Kids coalition-building effort to increase enrollment in the SCHIP (children's health insurance) program by decreasing institutional barriers and simplifying the enrollment process for eligible families. The campaign was guided by the basic question, How can we motivate eligible families to apply for this insurance? This in mind, the strategic communications team at Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates, Inc., planned a comprehensive communications approach including paid advertising, earned media, and grassroots enrollment events. Research and evaluation to support this approach, conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide for the Foundation, included formative research-interviews with eligible families and a national survey-and outcome evaluation to test the effects in 6 pilot and 2 comparison media markets. The process serves as a model for how strategic communications can be integrated into larger organizational goals and activities including framing objectives, coalition-building, mass media initiatives, evaluation and continuous improvement.
For example, the formative research found that a majority60%of the target population did not realize their eligibility to enroll in Medicaid or SCHIP, but more than 80% said they would enroll in the program if they could. This understanding of the target audience and the primary barriers to enrollment focused the research team's planning for message development.
Initiation of the campaign, through staged press conferences and media saturation, was linked to a peak outreach timeback-to-school. In conjunction with message delivery, the campaign worked with the local Covering Kids coalition to leverage resources. The Covering Kids messages were delivered via print, radio and television media.
The point of action for the target audience was to call the national hotline (1-877-KIDS NOW) to get enrollment information. Outcome evaluation started with measuring hotline calls across time, to identify whether there were increased numbers of calls during the campaign period. In one target market there were 75% more hotline calls in the campaign period than in the same period the year before, and in another the hotline was ringing off the hook, with a whopping 700% increase in calls. In an innovative move to understand what prompted hotline callers to call, the evaluation team called back hotline callers and asked how they found out about the program and whether they planned to enroll. They found that 90% of these hotline callers said they had seen the advertisements, and 82% planned to apply to enroll. In addition, pre- and post-campaign target audience telephone surveys in the test and comparison markets found that awareness of the SCHIP program increased among eligible families. Although increasing SCHIP awareness and prompting eligible families to call were the most direct intended outcomes for the communication campaign, data on application requests and new enrollment also are being analyzed to identify whether increases over other periods occurred.
Based on the evaluation findings, Covering Kids plans to make a second pass at advertising in the same markets in addition to continued coalition building, media tracking and measurement of long term impact. They also plan to expand to two new markets, testing a radio-only campaign in those markets.
For more information about this initiative, contact David Smith at Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates, Inc., 1010 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20007, Tel: 202-338-8700, Fax: 202-338-2334