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Campaign seeks to raise awareness of human services careers

A consistent, understandable message is at the core of a Providers’ Council marketing campaign to help raise awareness about the community-based human services sector as a viable career choice.

Council members and others were given a behind-the-scenes look on May 3 into a marketing campaign being crafted by Boston-based communications firm Argus and designed to help the sector, which is already struggling to attract and retain qualified workers, get people “to the door.”

During the forum, “Messaging & Millennials: A Campaign for the Next Workforce,” Argus’ team of Caitlyn Dodge, José  Nieto and Christine Healy presented the research and methodology that went into creating the messaging platform geared toward the millennial generation, definitions of human services and some of the creative imagery that has been developed and tested. Dafna Krouk-Gordon, founder and president of TILL, opened the session by talking about her experiences as co-chair of the Council’s Millennial Workgroup and what the organization has already accomplished.

“The Council is doing what it always does – getting ahead of a problem and coming up with solutions,” said Krouk-Gordon. “How do we attract them? That’s the marketing message.”

The messages Argus have developed use powerful imagery to make a quick connection and appeal to millennials’ desire for meaningful work, as well as strong current attitudes across generations toward social justice and advocacy. The overall campaign is being designed to “get people to take that next step of applying” for jobs in human services, Dodge said.

“We want to make a few memorable points,” Nieto added. “We want to speak to the head and the heart; spark an emotional reaction; make it believable and easy to understand and form a mental image.”
The campaign will include a broad, shared definition of human services and various types of co-brandable collateral materials to help maintain consistent messaging throughout all human services subsectors.

Consistency and repetition are two key pieces of raising awareness about human services, Healy noted, pointing out that during the initial research, an understanding of human services increased among the survey respondents from 26 percent at the start of the survey to 66 percent at the end of it.

“What I’ve learned throughout this process is that we need to ‘emphasize the positive’ about our sector,” said Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes. “They’ve been helping us think about how to best communicate that.”