North Carolinians, like the majority of people across the US, have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, From facing increased food insecurity to not having adequate access to masks and PPE and increased job loss and uncertainty, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) recognized the need for community support. As the largest health insurer in the state, Blue Cross NC, which has a long history of community involvement, doubled-down on their outreach efforts and launched new endeavors while expanding access to existing programs to help where it was needed most.
To highlight these efforts, Blue Cross NC launched the Faces of COVID-19 campaign. This campaign set out to achieve two goals:
Inspired by the storytelling of People of New York, Blue Cross NC knew it wanted people to be front and center for the campaign – a shift in its original strategy which focused on sharing Blue Cross NC’s mission first and human interest stories second. The commitment to storytelling and sharing real stories is what grounded the campaign.
Tapping into its large network of community partners, Blue Cross NC worked to identify individuals with a story to tell. Focusing on sharing a variety of perspectives, Blue Cross NC’s hunt for stories took them across the state, with seven individuals identified in communities from the mountains to the coast, ranging in age, profession, and experience. One individual shared his story of how Meals on Wheels has been a bright spot in a difficult time. Another individual shared how his primary care practice was able to stay in business during the pandemic with help from a Blue Cross NC program. Each story detailed a unique experience, highlighting the realities many of us have faced throughout the pandemic. And while each story was different, there was one common thread: support from Blue Cross NC.
To bring these stories to life, Blue Cross NC hired a professional photographer to travel to the homes or businesses of each individual. The use of photography elevated the look and feel of the campaign – capturing the personalities of each participant.
Once stories and photography were finalized, Blue Cross NC published the pieces on its blog, Point of Blue. A quote from each individual was shared as the title of the post to spark reader interest. To drive traffic and awareness of the stories, Blue Cross NC deployed a paid social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram. The accompany ad copy furthered Blue Cross NC’s emphasis on storytelling, testing both long-form and short-form copy that encouraged users to click-through and read more. Along with the copy, each ad included a photo of the individual whose story was being told, putting a face to the experience. The campaign was targeted to North Carolinians with an interested in health and wellness, community health and COVID-19 relief efforts. Once users clicked through to the blog, they were greeted with additional images of the subject and their full story.
The campaign ran throughout the month of December, capturing users’ interest with a feel good, human-centric campaign during a more difficult holiday season.
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