Liz Claiborne's 2000 Women's Work Program
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Liz Claiborne's 2000 Women's Work Program

In 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. (LCI) became the first major corporation in America to take a stand on domestic violence when it launched Women's Work, an anti-abuse public service awareness campaign. Each year, the company partners with PT&Co. to develop and

Paul Holmes

In 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. (LCI) became the first major corporation in America to take a stand on domestic violence when it launched Women's Work, an anti-abuse public service awareness campaign.  Women's Work resulted in part from research by Patrice Tanaka & Company, Inc. (PT&Co.), which commissioned a national survey for LCI that revealed 96% of LCI customers believed domestic violence was a problem in America and 91% would have a positive opinion of a company conducting an awareness campaign about the issue.  Based on these and other findings, PT&Co. developed a cause-related marketing/public relations program on domestic violence awareness that was designed to strengthen the bond between LCI and its customers and to enhance Liz Claiborne’s leadership in corporate social responsibility.  Each year, the company partners with PT&Co. to develop and evolve the program and reach different audiences with focused anti-abuse messages.  Previous campaigns have targeted women, parents, men, college students, corporate America and the legal and medical establishments.  

CHALLENGE 

·        Competing for media coverage during the crowded “women’s issues” month of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, among others.

·        Overcoming the media’s increasing resistance to covering “tough” issues such as relationship violence. 

·        Maintaining media interest in LCI’s Women's Work program nine years after it was created and with many more companies involved in domestic violence prevention than ever before.

RESEARCH/PLANNING

To develop the 2000 program, PT&Co. conducted extensive research including:  working with LCI to commission a survey of teens across the country; consulting with national experts recognized for their work to prevent gender-based violence among teens; and working with national and community non-profit organizations to assemble a panel of teens from across the country to review all Y2000 materials. 

Objectives

Reinforce LCI's relevance to its core customers and reach out to a younger market, positioning the company as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader that cares about the future of America’s youth.

Update the creative execution of the Women’s Work campaign so that it continues to be ground-breaking, innovative and worthy of generating media attention, even nine years after the program was launched.

Generate significant media coverage on a national and local level, including high-profile media placements.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

·        Create a vehicle designed to help teenagers, their parents and the adults who care about them confront the tough issue of dating violence and provide specific advice on how to broach the issue and get help. 

·        Produce newsworthy fundraising items designed to raise awareness for LCI in fashion, teen and women’s media as well as raise funds for domestic violence service agencies.

·        Continue to provide much-needed informational resources (posters, handbooks, etc.) for domestic violence agencies nationwide to maintain LCI's leadership role and proprietary stake in the issue.

·        Continue LCI's existing Employee Assistance Program in order to reinforce the company's position as a corporate leader in domestic violence prevention and education.

AUDIENCE

Teenagers and their mothers, LCI’s primary customers.

·        Concerned bystanders, including family members, adults and friends who want guidance on how to reach out to a teen they suspect is in a violent relationship. 

·        The domestic violence prevention community, to spread word-of-mouth on LCI as a responsible and forward-thinking corporate citizen on this issue. 

CAMPAIGN EXECUTION/TACTICS

Teen’s Handbook/ Web site:  To generate coverage in women's, teen and lifestyle media, LCI created a 24-page booklet, entitled "What You Need to Know About Dating Violence:  A Teen's Handbook” to help teens, their parents and concerned bystanders reach out to teens they suspect may be involved in an abusive relationship.  The handbook was written in collaboration with Jackson Katz and Rosalind Wiseman, two experts recognized nationally for their work on gender violence prevention with teens, and reviewed by teen panelists from around the country.  It is available free via an 800 number and can be downloaded free on the Web at www.loveisnotabuse.com, and was available in October-December 2000, at the popular teen site www.Alloy.com.  Content includes:  a definition of dating violence; warning signs of an abusive relationship; answers to the most commonly asked questions about the issue; guidance for the reader who is a victim of dating violence; suggestions for bystanders on how to help a friend and specific language to use in talking to them; how and when to approach an adult about the issue; and a resource guide for teens and their parents including hotlines, Web sites and organizations.  Supplementary content is available on the Web site, including additional chapters and an informative interactive quiz on teen dating abuse.  A total of 50,000 handbooks have been printed and distributed since September 2000, and a second printing is currently underway.

Charity Shopping Day:  To generate local media coverage and encourage partnerships between local charities and LCI retail stores, more than 100 Liz Claiborne and Elisabeth stores around the country hosted their seventh annual "Charity Shopping Day" event on October 19th wherein 10 percent of each store's total day sales were donated to local domestic violence service agencies.  Rosalind Wiseman of The Empower Program and teen members of the program’s Girls Advisory Board presented an informative role-play session at Liz Claiborne’s Fifth Avenue Store in New York where they addressed teen dating violence, peer relationships and ways to help parents respond to their teenagers when dealing with these issues.

Fundraising Items:  To generate coverage in women’s and fashion media, each year LCI creates two new, limited-edition retail items bearing a powerful anti-abuse message:  "Love Is Not Abuse."  In 2000, three leather bangle bracelets ($10) and a T-shirt ($12) were sold at all LCI stores during October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and on an ongoing basis via 800-449-STOP.  All profits benefit local and national domestic violence organizations.

Community Outreach:  Since September 2000 more than 890 posters, 1,656 buttons and 75,000 brochures have been distributed free-of-charge to all organizations that requested them, including domestic violence and social service agencies, schools, hospitals, etc.

LCI Employee Outreach:  LCI continued to educate its employees about domestic violence through its Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and the display/distribution of domestic violence educational materials in employee restrooms and payroll envelopes.  

Second Annual “ New York Walks to End Domestic Violence:”   Because of LCI's high profile in the New York City domestic violence community, for the second consecutive year the company was a sponsor of the second annual New York City Walk to show public support for domestic violence prevention.  As a title sponsor, LCI donated funding to cover a significant portion of the October 29th walk, and contributed a logo design and T-shirts for more than three thousand walk participants.

Media Outreach: Preceded by editor deskside previews of the program in Spring 2000, PT&Co. conducted a comprehensive national and local market media relations campaign, including long-/short-lead mailings for "A Teen’s Handbook," fundraising items and Charity Shopping Day; Charity Shopping Day calendar alerts, press releases and media alerts localized for 37 LCI store markets with market name, mall name and local charity partner; and individually tailored pitches to women's, fashion, lifestyle and business media.  Two mat releases and two audio news releases were distributed to newspapers and radio stations nationwide offering "A Teen’s Handbook," and the fundraising items as “Gifts That Give Back” in order to generate year-round publicity for the fundraising objects.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

The 2000 Liz Claiborne Women's Work program was evaluated on publicity impressions generated, high-profile media placements earned and monies raised for domestic violence charities from LCI consumers.

The 2000 Women’s Work campaign broke new ground on the issue of relationship violence by reaching out via publicity to a new audience — teenagers, their mothers and the adults who care about them—with anti-abuse messages.  To date, publicity has yielded a total of 163,022,661 consumer media impressions for an advertising equivalency of over $435,400 and a PR value of more than $1,306,200.  More than 1320 news stories (828 print and 492 broadcast placements) generated awareness of the campaign's message. 

Despite intensified competition for editorial coverage of "women’s issues" during October, as well as the media’s increasing reluctance to cover "tough" subjects like relationship violence, particularly among teens, awareness of Liz Claiborne’s program was increased through widespread national and local market publicity.  National coverage included:  McCall’s, InStyle, Seventeen, Self, Cosmo Girl!, Teen, Mode, Honey, Jump, and Brandweek.  Local market coverage highlights included one or more newspaper, television or radio stations in the following cities:  Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Washington, DC.

All 50,000 copies of "A Teen’s Handbook," produced in September 2000, have already been distributed to individuals and organizations, including Liz Claiborne and Elisabeth stores, health clinics, domestic violence shelters and help agencies, police departments, health departments, schools, etc.  Due to the overwhelming success of the handbook, 100,000 additional copies have been reprinted.

The program reinforced LCI's relevance to core consumers by reaching out to their teenage children and offering guidance on a tough subject.  Charity Shopping Day sales 2000 were up 13 percent from 1999.

Since the program’s inception in 1991, LCI has directly donated more than $729,955 to organizations working to end domestic violence. 
The company continues to be positioned as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader through public recognition.  Paul Charron, the Chairman and CEO of LCI, was asked to speak at several conferences during the year, including "The Fifth Annual Corporate Conference on Domestic Violence."

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