Last year shined a light on the deeply rooted systemic and societal pandemic that is racism against Black people in this country. Commitment to families, inclusivity, and elevating underrepresented groups was core to HP’s brand and it wanted to offer support for its employees and families to ensure they have the tools they need to spark necessary dialogue with kids about race and equality.
At the same time:
HP had just reached 5 million visits to its Printables platform (formerly Print, Play & Lean) – a free content site launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help parents keep their kids engaged at home by providing hundreds of free printable activities, including worksheets, coloring pages, puzzles and more for children between two and 12-years-old. Summer was coming to an end, and the realization that back-to-school was back to distance learning was setting in for families across the country.
Objective: Insert HP into the back-to-school conversation while showcasing its core values and continuing to drive awareness and downloads of its newly launched ENVY printer series and Printables.
To achieve this objective, HP saw an opportunity to partner with artists and influencers of diverse backgrounds who were already active in raising awareness on racial inequality, cultivating positive identity formation and embracing people’s differences; first-hand experience educating children on D&I. These artists and influencers had an authentic voice – and HP had a platform that would allow them to reach millions of families around the world.
To equip HP with insights and data needed to inform the program, it looked both internally and externally.
Internal: After launching Printables at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, HP saw a rapid growth of families using the platform. There was an appetite and opportunity to provide more timely and relevant content. External: According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Report: Brands and Racial Justice in America study, 63 percent of Americans cited concerns about systemic racism and racial injustice in the U.S. Further, 60 percent indicated that they expect brands to take a public stance against racism and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd and other racially motivated attacks on Blacks. In addition, HP noticed searches (according to Google Trends) for “how to teach my kids about racism” was up 100% - Americans were looking for resources to teach their kids about diversity.
Grounded in research insights, HP tapped into cultural moments surrounding social injustice/racial equality by applying its values of inclusion, equal rights, and human rights. This strategy rolled out in a multi-pronged approach across social and earned media.
Pass the mic: Partnered with Black artists Adrian Brandon and Keturah A Bobo to create nine activities for Printables, including worksheets, coloring pages, word searches, and more. HP was hyper-focused on the artists, their stories, and the activities they created to bring narrative to life. HP also worked with diverse TikTok influencers (Nick & Sienna, Terrell & Jarius, and Ebony & Denise) to develop video content, encouraging fans to print and download the activities. These artists and influencers had the credibility, creativity, and reach to not only provide content on various educational and societal topics, but also an authentic voice for external communications. Purpose-driven and credible: HP reinforced its credibility in the larger Diversity & Inclusion conversation – while not overpromising what the activities can do for families. Creative freedom: Campaign messaging was very personal, and HP enabled each artist and influencer to take their own, authentic approach. Test new platforms: In addition to traditional storytelling methods, HP tested TikTok, a place where families are discovering content. Family love: HP focused on the influencers’ and artists’ social accounts, enabling them to target parents specifically and help them bring conversations to life; promoted the activities through Instagram posts and stories. Cultural awareness: Given the complexity of racial injustice and social equality, HP closely coordinated with multicultural experts (including its own Black Chief Diversity Officer and other Black leaders at HP) to ensure all messaging was positioned accurately. Earned momentum: HP sent curated mailers for media, including D&I arts and craft supplies and the new HP ENVY printer, to bring the activities to life. Additionally, the artists were spokespeople for broadcast and print interviews, highlighting their experience as Black illustrators and why they felt their partnership with HP was important. The activities and ENVY printer were also promoted in a tailored back-to-school media outreach push, priming media for long-lead stories.
Since launching the Printables D&I activities, efforts across social and earned generated significant organic results, successfully reaching target audiences, generating widespread, positive engagements among those audiences, and positioning the activities as tools that assist in engaging kids in conversations about social justice and racism. This integrated, multi-channel initiative resulted in the following:
The team saw positive consumer reactions across all pieces of influencer content and platforms with users sharing love, support, and praise for the program and Printables overall. The partnerships were timely and authentic, and brand sentiment remained positive and supportive across social and earned efforts.
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