The Coronavirus had most US health systems scrambling to prepare for the expected surge in new COVID-19 patients. Bayhealth, the largest health system in Central and Southern Delaware, was no exception. However, they noticed many community members were not following CDC guidelines, and could be spreading the virus. They knew additional action was needed to prevent their own health system from becoming overwhelmed.
We recognized that people who did not follow CDC guidelines did not feel personally connected to the seriousness of the situation. Our strategy was to create a strong emotional reason for community members to engage with efforts to stop the spread of the virus. We accomplished this by highlighting healthcare workers who had become heroes in the community. But in a unique twist, we asked the community to return the favor, and become their heroes by following CDC guidelines. The campaign was called “Be My Hero” and it gave a new sense of purpose to those being asked to practice social distancing or stay at home.
Given the urgency of the situation, the campaign was fully concepted in 48 hours, and materials were live in the market only a few days afterward. Production was completed “at home” while self-quarantined. The campaign ran across many outlets including local press, TV and radio PSAs, digital and social media.
The campaign sparked community action and was widely applauded. In the first week, the “Be My Hero” campaign received more than 300 shares, up over 1000%, including from high profile leaders and influencers such as state senators. Campaign reach was up by 573% and engagement up by 225%. The campaign continued to engage community members with social activities that could be safely enjoyed throughout the pandemic.
The campaign also elevated employee engagement as healthcare workers felt supported during their time of need. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare teams took pictures of themselves holding #BeMyHero signs to spread the word even further.
Most importantly, Bayhealth’s COVID-19 patient capacity was not breached.
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