Background: At the end of 2011, 23% of all people living with HIV in the United States were women. Black women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities. In March 2012, CDC launched Take Charge. Take the Test. ™ as part of its comprehensive efforts to support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and address the HIV prevention needs of black women. Take Charge. Take the Test. ™ is a national, social marketing campaign that aims to increase HIV testing and decrease new HIV infections among heterosexual black women between the ages of 18-34.
Program background: Take Charge. Take the Test. ™ was originally launched in 10 major U.S. cities where large numbers of black women are affected by HIV. In 2014, and in the midst of developing new creative to supplement the creative portfolio, the campaign team shifted implementation strategies as a result of decreased funding.
Evaluation Methods and Results: New implementation strategies relied on a mix of partnerships, and digital and social media initiatives. The campaign team leveraged partnerships to facilitate community HIV testing events in the campaign’s implementation cities; developed a social media series to reach additional segments of the target audience and further contextualize the threat of HIV; and secured donated media support through outreach to audience-specific media channels such as Essence magazine and BlackDoctor.org. The campaign team regularly reviewed campaign metrics to determine if implementation tactics were performing as anticipated or if alternate strategies should be considered. As a result of these efforts, the campaign generated more than 3 million impressions across Facebook and Twitter within the first month of the release of new campaign materials; media partnerships with Essence magazine resulted in more than 14 million donated media impressions; and a limited digital media buy garnered more than 14 million impressions across popular blogs for African American women. Collectively, these efforts resulted in a 68% increase in Web traffic over the previous campaign year.
Conclusions: Program managers should be strategic about the division of labor between internal and external sources, consider low-cost strategies to facilitate creative production, and use a range of scalable digital, social and partnership activities to drive campaign exposure. Health communicators should also pay close attention to campaign metrics to identify hidden opportunities for additional exposure, and to gauge the performance of new strategies and tactics.
Implications for research and/or practice: Health communicators should consider employing a range of partnerships, social and digital media strategies and tactics to drive campaign performance, scaling efforts as needed. Through attending this session, attendees will learn:
- Strategies for selecting appropriate partners
- How to effectively leverage partnerships and establish linkages to support community efforts and editorial opportunities.
- How to leverage basic public relations principles to drive donated and earned media
- How to use social media as a listening tool and identify opportunities to contextualize campaign messages
- How metrics can guide implementation efforts and help optimize campaign performance