One of the biggest challenges during COVID-19 has been the lack of clear, concise communication to help the public understand. In El Paso County, Colorado, the Public Health Department needed a way to cut through the confusion to better inform and protect its citizens. The deputy medical officer, Dr. Leon Kelly, had been conducting regular press conferences, but recognized that most people weren’t seeing them and the soundbites carried in the local news weren’t enough.
How we got there
The goals were simple: Communicate accurate information clearly and simply to encourage as many people as possible to change their behavior to slow the spread of COVID-19, thus protecting themselves and their neighbors.
El Paso County partnered with SSPR through the firm’s pro-bono Conscious Capitalism program to develop a series of eight short, animated public information videos addressing various aspects of COVID-19. Featuring Dr. Kelly and Dr. Robin Johnson, medical director for El Paso County, as animated characters, the videos turned dry medical data into friendly, actionable advice for residents, presenting it in a way that was both informative and entertaining to boost their relevance and “stickiness” with the audience.
SSPR used the Vyond online animation software to create the videos that featured Dr. Kelly and Dr. Johnson sharing basic information in a conversational style. The relatable approach to the 2-3 minute videos made the content easier to digest and understand for a wide audience.
The team leveraged these videos across social media and media outreach to disseminate the information. The videos were featured on the El Paso County Health Department’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages, where they could be easily viewed and shared by both the general public and the media, both as part of their coverage and as an educational knowledge base for research purposes.
The campaign was extremely successful, exceeding the Health Department’s expectations.
The videos garnered the following engagements on the Public Health and County Coroner’s social pages:
– 500 shares
– 33,000 views
– 400 likes
– 40 comments
The videos were also shared or re-posted by over a dozen other organizations, including:
– Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
– Colorado Springs Mayor’s Office
– City of Fountain
– A CO 299 Brigade Engineer Battalion
– City of Colorado Springs
– Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8
– Pikes Peak Area Council of Government
– Cripple Creek Parks & Recreation
– Heart-Centered Counselors
– Voyager Nurse Aide Program
– John Foley for District 14 campaign page
– Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers
– The Colorado Springs School
– Preston County Senior Citizens, Inc. (nearly 1,500 miles away in West Virginia)
These shares generated an additional combined audience reach of nearly 60,000.
The videos were also used during presentations to the county commissioners on the current COVID-19 situation, which was picked up by the local news, garnering even more views. This, in turn, got the attention of Colorado governor Jared Polis, who took the idea and ran with it, creating a similar style of infographics for statewide communication.