Susan Davis International - Public Service Campaign
Company: Susan Davis International, Washington, DC
Company Description: Susan Davis International is a woman owned small business headquartered in Washington, D.C., named as one of the top six small business public relations/special events agencies in the U.S.
Nomination Category: Communications & Marketing Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Public Service
Nomination Title: Unveiling Our Hidden Heroes
In up to 525 words, tell the judges about the nominated campaign: its genesis, development, planning, commission, and performance to date: Text Redacted For Publication
When Susan Davis International (SDI) helped the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF) announce a pivotal Rand report and launch the Hidden Heroes Coalition of 300 partners, it established the basis for EDF’s work on behalf of military caregivers. EDF and SDI continue to answer the questions, “How do we get the nation to care about the 5.5 million Americans caring for wounded, ill, or injured service members or veterans?” and “how can we encourage military caregivers to self-identify?”
SDI began by developing a plan to translate the Rand report into action, addressing the need for awareness and sources for needed support. To build on the report’s findings, SDI’s consultations included the national director of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Caregiver Program, and Dole Caregiver Fellows – a cohort of active caregivers representing every state and Puerto Rico (SDI had recommended growing a modest Fellows program to one that represented all 50 states).
In the months leading up to the 2016 national launch of EDF’s Hidden Heroes Campaign and EDF’s annual Military and Veteran Caregiver Week, SDI, working with our marketing and social media partners, executed numerous initiatives to raise awareness of this population. Activities included:
• The conception, development and implementation of EDF’s Hidden Heroes Cities initiative – a grassroots campaign that engaged cities across the country to pledge their support for local military caregivers. SDI engaged 50 cities nationwide in a two-month period. The initiative, now 100-plus cities strong, continues with its original mission of reaching as many caregivers as possible while also broadening awareness of the challenges they face.
• Engaging and educating relevant nonprofits and service providers about EDF, and leveraging partner networks to provide missing services identified in the Rand report.
• Training 70 Dole Caregiver Fellows to serve as spokespeople during the Military and Veteran Caregiver Week. SDI scheduled meetings with each Fellow’s respective congressional representatives where they could educate members about relevant issues facing the military caregiver community.
• Partnering with celebrities including Tom Hanks, chairman of the Hidden Heroes Campaign, and NBC/Comcast Universal to broadcast PSAs and recruit additional celebrity talent to serve as Hidden Heroes Ambassadors.
• Implementing a nationwide traditional and social media campaign, leveraging personal caregiver stories to emphasize the need to address the military caregiver crisis at the local, regional and national level. National, military and Congressional media covered the launch which was also a trending topic on Twitter in the Washington, D.C. region.
On the heels of the successful campaign launch and the ever-growing Hidden Heroes Cities Program, awareness of military caregivers continues to grow. In early 2017, SDI helped EDF announce their inaugural Hidden Heroes Grant program, which awarded more than a half-million dollars in grants to 14 nonprofits for military caregiver support. We also broadened awareness by helping EDF announce their new class of Dole Caregiver Fellows, calling attention to the prevalence of military and veteran caregivers in local communities. Currently, SDI is working with EDF to plan and manage their upcoming military caregiver conference co-hosted with the VA.
Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the team that created and carried out the nominated communications campaign (up to 125 words):
Susan Davis, Chairman of Susan Davis International
Susan Davis founded SDI when relatively few women were successful in the business world and fewer owned their business. During her career, Susan was the first International President of the International Women’s Forum, the Chair Emeritus of Vital Voices Global Partnership and has received numerous awards, most recently being inducted into BizBash DC’s Hall of Fame.
Judy Whittlesey, Executive Vice President, Susan Davis International
Judy Whittlesey has more than 30 years of broad-based experience in strategic communication for local and national non-profit organizations and institutions. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Food Research and Action Council, is a member of Leadership Greater Washington, National Capital PRSA’s Hall of Fame and PR Week’s Top Women in PR.