The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), with grant support from The Heinz Foundation, wanted to mobilize everyday Americans — in particular those who don’t have ties to the military — to care about the issues that affect veterans and demand better support for veterans from their politicians and lawmakers.
IMVF is adept at crafting comprehensive veteran policy recommendations but needed NationSwell to partner with them to help them transform complex policy documents into a compelling, integrated campaign that would engage new audiences both emotionally and rationally to see the significance of veterans issues in relation to their own lives and activism, set a new standard for use of creativity and design in the veterans and policy space, and give the institute valuable insights into the type of messaging and visuals that resonate with key target audiences.
Our driving insight for the campaign came from understanding that since the end of the military draft in the U.S., the divide between the veteran and civilian communities in America has increased. Many modern Americans have no connection to the military or military issues, despite veterans making up almost 10% percent of the population. This has created a lack of urgency around veterans’ issues, despite the community’s need for support, particularly as they re-integrate into life after service.
So, our campaign’s success relied on convincing our target audiences that a supported veteran population benefits non-veterans in ways they should care about. Supporting veterans and their families helps the broader U.S. economy, local communities, healthcare outcomes, bridging divides, among other broader positive impacts.
Through audience persona development work, we identified four key audience groups: Community Activists, Business Leaders, Military Connected and General Audiences. Over the course of a year, we developed a highly targeted campaign composed of videos featuring a diverse mix of veterans that busted conventional perceptions of veterans and their attitudes, and a series of targeted social cards that made both a “head” and “heart” appeal to these audiences. We refined our Calls To Action for each audience through A/B testing, and our work drove audiences to a centralized source for veteran related policy where people could learn more, join-in and be welcomed into the IVMF ecosystem.