The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), with grant support from The Heinz Foundation, wanted to mobilize everyday Americans — specifically, those who don’t have ties to the military and aren’t personally impacted— to care about the issues that affect veterans and demand support from their lawmakers and politicians.
IMVF is experienced at drafting veteran policy recommendations and they came to NationSwell to transform complex policy documents into an integrated campaign with the goal of engaging untapped audiences to:
A key insight for the campaign was that since the end of the military draft in the U.S., the divide between the veteran and civilian communities in America has increased. Military recruitment has become more dominant in several communities and much rarer in others. Many modern Americans have no connection to the military, despite veterans making up almost 10% percent of the population.
This has created a lack of urgency around veterans’ issues, and the community’s needs for support, particularly as they re-integrate into life after service, have often gone unheard.
Our campaign’s success relied on convincing our target audiences – civilians with no military connections – that supporting veterans is in the best interest of both the veterans AND the civilians. We focused on finding the issue of intersectionality: What does our target audience already care about? Where do veterans’ issues intersect with that? We identified four key audience groups: Community Activists, Business Leaders, Military-Connected (but non-veteran), and General Audiences. This lead us to develop positioning and messaging that addressed local community stability, healthcare outcomes, opportunity divides, strong local businesses, among other broader positive impacts.
Over the course of a year, we developed a highly targeted, integrated social campaign. The campaign featured a mix of sharable graphic cards, GIFs, motion graphics content, and UGC videos featuring veterans. Each piece of campaign collateral had an A (head) and B (heart) version. We tested, tested, and tested. Then refined out CTAs for each audience in response, with the end goal of learning about IVMF, joining the conversation on social, adding them to IVMF’s e-mail list, and welcoming them to the IVMF ecosystem so they can engage in future moments.