Challenge

In September of 2013, Pulse was awarded an initial contract with the Bangor Public Health & Community Services (BPHCS) to develop a communications plan encompassing outreach, education, and awareness of its programs and services to local target audiences.

Approach

We understood that people in the greater Bangor area didn’t quite understand the mission and purpose of what was previously known as the Bangor Health Department. We began with a full audit and redesign of BPHCS’s existing logo to better reflect its role as a trusted Bangor health resource, including the development of a graphic style guide to help the organization maintain a consistent brand image.

Following this successful rebranding, Pulse created a full communications plan for BPHCS to increase awareness and visibility of their services, and better convey the value of the resources they offer. The plan outlined customized strategies and tactics to address their internal and external constituents, identify the best media formats and outlets to reach their target audience (low-income populations in the greater Bangor area) – encouraging engagement and empowering them to make informed, healthy lifestyle choices.

Rather than dictating the way the information had to be conveyed from a local government agency, we listened to the challenges, needs, and desires of our target groups to craft a program that resonated with the public at both rational and emotional levels. We decided to use a cartoonish version of our local hero – Paul Bunyan. In fact, we humanized the myth so much that we even gave him a family! Paul Bunyan became our ‘spokesperson’ on a variety of topics from exercising, to nutrition, to substance abuse.

We created a variety of materials for this campaign including a PSA video, T-shirts, internal and external community bus posters, wall posters that were distributed throughout the greater Bangor area by Pulse staff, smoke-free signage for the American Folk Festival, and topic specific brochures.

In the summer of 2015, Pulse was awarded a second contract with BPHCS through a bidding process to develop an outreach campaign to educate various communities in Maine about the harmful and unknown effects of e-cigarettes. Campaign assets were to be shared with several communities across the state to educate Maine residents that smoking e-cigarettes (i.e. vaping) is not a safe alternative to smoking tobacco, as it is often portrayed in the media.

Once again, we gathered data from Maine and other states who had conducted research on health-related risks associated with e-cigarettes. We also conducted on-site visits to local vape shops to better understand the product and how it was being marketed to youth and adults. Based on our research, we understood that most people were not aware of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

Pulse determined that it needed to reach two very different audiences with this campaign – a younger demographic uninterested in tobacco products who thought vaping was “cool,” and an older demographic who previously used tobacco and decided to switch to e-cigarettes because they believed it was safer alternative.

In the spring of 2016, Pulse was awarded a third contract with BPHCS through a bidding process to develop an outreach campaign to educate the community about the harmful effects of opioid addiction and overdose risks. The campaign, named “Knowledge is Power” aimed to educate people about the risks associated with opioid use and encouraged them to talk to their doctor about alternative pain management treatments.

Using data available to us from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local data from the City of Bangor, Pulse and BPHCS conducted several brainstorming sessions to find the best way to communicate to the public the importance of seeking alternative pain management treatments, other than opioids, whenever possible. Our goal was to empower people to take charge of their health and bodies, while communicating a message of hope for those dealing with chronic pain.

Results

With a new, redefined brand and strategic direction, BPHCS has increased its brand visibility in the community, which has helped them reach out to populations that were previously unaware of their services.

Our campaigns have been quite successful and we continue to receive amazing feedback on our PSAs.

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