In recent years, there’s been a rapid acceleration of racial tensions throughout the country and around the world – we’ve witnessed a wave of highly visible acts of hate against vulnerable communities, a flood of heated rhetoric meant to inflame conflicts between groups and the reversal of policies that support equitable opportunities to success. The causes of these are varied – from the long-term pressures and impact of the pandemic to the economic downturn and growing political divides.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) recognized the difficult work of keeping people motivated to continue the fight for racial equity in increasingly tumultuous times would take far more than a single act or moment in time.
To invite people to consider how they can face uncomfortable truths and heal together from the ills of racism, WKKF led a year-long, integrated campaign across multiple platforms – from media partnerships, influencer engagement and creative content to global, national and local PR and events, underpinned by social media.
WKKF partnered with Porter Novelli and Ketchum to achieve several primary goals throughout this journey:
Telling a different kind of story about racial equity – one that uplifts and empowers historically marginalized people – takes different kinds of storytelling. Together, Ketchum, Porter Novelli and WKKF launched an integrated, multiplatform campaign mobilizing earned media, digital storytelling, thought leadership and media partnerships to shed light on the interconnected and compounding effects of racism on children, communities and culture and provide platforms and resources to people who are making a difference.
Our strategy involved:
This strategy allowed us to engage broader audiences through cultural touchstones while tapping WKKF’s President and CEO, Montgomery Tabron, to lead national discussions around racial healing and racial equity.
Our three primary “tent pole” moments, which were underpinned by social amplification, national media and op-eds included:
The National Day of Racial Healing in January 2023, the day after MLK Day. In partnership with NBC Universal, we developed an activation that included nationally televised townhalls on MSNBC and Telemundo and hundreds of local events, where communities came together to talk about racial equity. This was the 7th annual event, but the first time WKKF leveraged the power and influence of an integrated campaign.
WKKF’s journey to shift and elevate the conversation around racial equity and racial healing has achieved powerful results.
Our earned media efforts resulted in more than 1 billion impressions and 200+ placements through the campaign across agenda-setting outlets like the Associated Press and The Guardian, culturally relevant publications like BET, Complex and Essence as well as mass media outlets like People Magazine and USA Today.
Our multiplatform paid partnership with GMA3, The Washington Post, and NowThis/Vox Media, exceeded all expectations. In addition to an average live television viewership of 1.8M, WKKF’s feature with GMA3 garnered a further 10K viewers across IG and Facebook. Our series with Vox earned a combined 571K video views and 229K video completes, for an overall view completion rate of 40%. And finally, our feature in the Washington Post reached 2.7M subscribers, attracting ~18K online readers with 2-min average visit, surpassing benchmarks by 28% and 56% for pageviews and visitors respectively.
According to a post-campaign study, WKKF’s video partnership with NowThis/Vox Media proved especially impactful, with 80% of respondents reporting that they gained new insights from the content. The videos also significantly improved perception of WKKF's commitment to equity and systemic change, with 2 in 3 respondents acknowledging WKKF's positive impact on racial equity and healing.
In an age of armchair activism, WKKF’s campaign transcended mediums – inspiring individuals and communities to engage both digitally and through live connection; nearly 1M people reported participating in the campaign’s live activations either through local events and townhalls.