May 6, 2021
The Year to Lead
David G. Brashears
An Agency’s Effort To Help Their Own Community
Ask most marketing and advertising professionals why they got into the industry and very few will say it was for the money. It’s much more likely that they have the drive to create design and messaging that inspires an audience to respond. Now it’s true that in most cases the expected response is to make some purchase decision or impact a consumer’s behavior in some way. However, there are rare and cherished opportunities for advertising creatives and marketing strategists to create campaigns that have an impact on their audience beyond their wallet. In the past year, Creative Energy has chosen to use our talents to attempt to have a positive impact on our community.
It was exactly one year ago that our agency launched its first pro bono public service campaign in response to the COVID pandemic. Our neighbors, local businesses, and many health and government officials were all spinning from the impact the virus was having on our area. While confusion, fear, and doubt began to overcome so many people, even within our own agency, we recognized that we had a set of skills that could be leveraged to do some real good for our region. For years, our agency had boasted about our pride in our beautiful community, with its world-class natural resources, amazing hospitality, and rich cultural heritage. It was time for us to roll up our sleeves and serve and support our home.
We Started with Kindness
In May of 2020, we realized that so many of our local partners and community members were dealing with a new threat to their families, livelihoods, and safety while there were still very few answers or strategies to give us any assurances. Around the world governments and scientists were struggling to provide any helpful insights or projections on the scope and magnitude of the new COVID-19 viral spread.
The Creative Energy team chose to use our talents and professional relationships to provide a simple message to encourage people to work together and remember their impact on their community as we worked together to navigate this global pandemic. The “Tri Kindness” campaign was launched and provided a hopeful directive to extend a kind word, a patient consideration, and a helpful hand to our neighbors as we walked together through the new rules and safety guidelines necessary to protect our region.
The campaign included short video messages that were given FREE local news media insertions, a social media campaign that was shared across many of our local media and business partners channels and a website that provided latest news and helpful information for local residents. It was a great exercise in using our creative talents in order to remind our own friends and neighbors that the best thing we could do at that time was to be kind and help each other where we could.
We Grew to Support
Through the success of our Tri Kindness campaign, Creative Energy was approached by a group of local business leaders, media professionals, and regional economic development partners in order to develop a plan to help support local businesses that had been hit hard by the social safety mandates that had been put in place to protect our communities. The government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had offered many companies and corporations much-needed financial assistance to help them endure the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic. However, many small local businesses may not have qualified for PPP assistance and were struggling to stay afloat.
Over the summer of 2020, we worked with RegionAHEAD, a local collection of government and private business professionals, in order to create a campaign to raise funds to help our own local small businesses stay in business through these challenging times. The Local Business Recovery Fund campaign was embraced by many corporate and national contributors that helped us provide over $250,000 in critical financial help to local businesses in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Creative Energy developed public relations messaging, video productions, and media plans to help get the message out about the funds and how local businesses could apply.
We Raised the Challenge
By the late fall and early winter of 2020, many local residents were becoming disenfranchised and frustrated with ongoing restrictions and regulations that were continuing to impact their day-to-day lives. As we entered the holiday season while COVID cases grew to record numbers, Creative Energy knew there was a need to remind local community members of how important it was to stay on course and continue to wear their masks.
The new “Wear the Mask” campaign was developed in partnership with RegionAHEAD and our local medical community to provide a somber reality check of how COVID was impacting our region. With candid conversations with the medical professionals that were working in the COVID units in hospitals across the Tri-Cities region, the campaign provided an emotional and heartfelt plea with our residents to consider the impact their decision to disregard mask protocols could have on their loved ones, community, and medical infrastructure. We were able to partner with regional media partners to receive free insertions for Out-of-Home (OOH), television, radio, and digital media messages from the campaign.
The campaign garnered local, state, and national recognition from news media outlets and government officials. Our biggest encouragement came from the outpouring of support and gratitude the agency heard from healthcare and first responders from the campaign.
Now We Are Taking a Shot on Life
As the highly anticipated COVID vaccinations began to be distributed throughout the nation, Creative Energy once again realized they had a part to play in providing clear and information messaging to our community about the vaccine and how to get involved. The early days of the vaccine rollout included a host of doubts, questions, and confusion on the safety of the vaccine and how people could enroll to receive it.
Through a partnership with the First Tennessee Development District (FTDD)—a regional government economic and community development organization—we sought to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield to build a public service campaign to provide information about the science behind the vaccines, how to enroll to receive the vaccine and a plea to those that were hesitant to participate in the vaccine program.
The “Take a Shot on Life” campaign, which launches this month, is an integrated campaign with OOH, video production, public relations, digital media, and social media assets. We interviewed local medical professionals that have participated in the federal vaccine trials, local spiritual leaders, and business leaders to encourage our community residents to make the decision to participate in the vaccine program.
In a year when it could have been easy to keep our head down and focus on our own safety and business stability, Creative Energy instead chose to lead and sacrifice time and resources to have a positive impact on the community we love so dearly. After all, jackalopes are mythical creatures that make magic happen—and our own burrow needed us this year. We are so thankful for all the many businesses, government, and professional partners that we had the opportunity to work with this past year. As we continue to move forward and look for ways to build the future for our agency team, our clients, and our community, we know that meeting the challenge fearlessly is just going to be our way.
If you want to learn more about our work or schedule a discussion to see how we might be able to help you as well just CONTACT US. We can’t wait to work with you!