2020’s abrupt orders to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” quickly exacerbated an already critical issue in Michigan — the lack of universal access to quality pre-K programs. Parents and caregivers were left to juggle multiple competing priorities as they cared for their young children without the training and expertise needed to consistently provide comprehensive educational support. Compounding the issue, a mindset quickly emerged among many young and frustrated parents that COVID-19 would be a “gap year” for academic instruction and educators would be responsible for mitigating the long-term ramifications.
Early On® Michigan and, by extension, its sister program, Build Up Michigan, tasked Güd Marketing with inspiring parents and caregivers to accept their role as primary educators for their 0-to-5-year-olds. To accomplish this, we provided them with the tools and support needed to identify developmental delays and to orient children to achieve important milestones. Changing the culture around early childhood education to incorporate a sense of urgency and increase awareness of support was key.
In consideration of the small and quickly passing window of time for formative education, the campaign would need to be activated expeditiously — leaving little time for new, primary research. Güd Marketing petitioned existing Early On educators across Michigan to compile data and insights to inform messaging and direction for a public education campaign. This research formed the basis of the “Thrive From Home” campaign, which packaged information, tools and encouragement for parents and caregivers to continue early education activities at home.
Our team forged an unprecedented relationship with one of the most trusted resources for educational content among parents — PBS Kids. Video content was created to serve as a “virtual classroom” with a focus on content that was easy to follow, accessible and actionable. The video lessons aired statewide on weekdays during PBS preschooler favorites like “Sesame Street” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” To attract parents to the campaign and encourage participation, content was promoted through earned (public relations), owned (website and organic social) and paid (billboards, digital, paid social) media tactics throughout the state to ensure equitable access to materials. Our owned and earned media teams curated content pieces for key audiences to raise awareness and increase participation.
Partnership With PBS
Meaningful, Measurable Results
“Thrive From Home” garnered unprecedented success in bringing vital educational resources to families and their young children. Campaign highlights include:
In phone calls to Early On
New website visitors
In website traffic
The most rewarding (and indicative) measure of success were the testimonials received throughout the campaign from parents, caregivers and educators statewide. Their messages heralded the effort with affirmations of hope, creativity, fun and balance.