Women's Work 2001
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Women's Work 2001

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.

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 (PT&Co.), which commissioned a national survey for LCI that revealed 96 percent of LCI customers believed domestic violence was a problem in America and, moreover, that 91 percent 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, teens, college students, corporate America and the legal and medical establishments.

 

CHALLENGES

 

  • 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 10 years after it was created and with many more companies involved in domestic violence prevention than ever before.

 

RESEARCH

 

Following the 2000 program, which delivered important messages to American teens about preventing dating violence, LCI received anecdotal feedback from parents of teens who wanted more information about this issue. PT&Co. worked with LCI and the Empower Program, a Washington, D.C.-based youth violence prevention organization, to sponsor a national survey of teens and parents. Findings revealed that nearly one in four teens know at least one student at their school who was physically hit by a person they were dating, yet 81 percent of parents don’t acknowledge teen dating violence as an issue.

 

Almost two-thirds of parents surveyed who had not discussed the topic with their child said they would do so if they had more information. Furthermore, several of those surveyed who were not aware of the gravity of the problem indicated they intend to discuss dating violence with their children now that they are cognizant of the issue, a clear indication that parents need to be educated about teen dating violence as much as teens and school personnel do.

 

The agency confirmed the need for such parent education via discussions with experts nationally recognized for their work to prevent gender-based violence among teens and with relevant organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the V-Day organization, a movement that seeks to stop violence against women, and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

 

OBJECTIVE

 

Reinforce LCI’s relevance to its core customers by positioning the company as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader that cares about the future of America’s families and young people.

 

STRATEGIC APPROACH

 

  • Update the creative execution of the Women’s Work campaign so that it continues to be groundbreaking, innovative and worthy of generating media attention, a decade after the program was launched.
  • Generate significant media coverage on a national and local level, including high-profile media placements.
  • Create a vehicle designed to help the parents of teens broach the tough issue of dating violence and provide specific advice on how to start a conversation about this rarely discussed phenomenon.
  • Produce newsworthy fundraising items designed to both raise awareness for LCI in fashion, teen and women’s media as well as 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 internally as a corporate leader in domestic violence prevention and education.

 

AUDIENCE

 

  • Parents and guardians of teenagers.
  • Concerned by-standers, including family members, adults and friends who want guidance on how to reach out to teens and talk about relationship abuse.
  • The domestic violence prevention community, whom we want to perceive and promote LCI as a corporate leader on this issue.

 

CAMPAIGN EXECUTION

 

  • Parent’s Handbook
  • Charity Shopping Day
  • Fundraising Items
  • V-Day
  • Survey Outreach
  • Community Outreach
  • LCI Employee Outreach
  • Media Outreach

 

RESULTS

 

The 2001 Liz Claiborne Women’s Work program was evaluated on media impressions, quality of high-profile media placements, monies raised for domestic violence charities and recognition from the domestic violence community and LCI’s core audience: women and their families.

 

The 2001 Women’s Work campaign broke new ground on the issue of relationship violence by reaching out via publicity to a new audience — parents and guardians of teens — with anti-abuse messages. With primary media outreach beginning in May, publicity has already yielded a total of 104,410,593 consumer media impressions for an advertising equivalency of over $1,044,483 and a PR value of more than $5,272,749. More than 1,652 news stories (1197 print and 455 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: “The Ananda Lewis Show,” Bloomberg Radio, American Urban Radio, Redbook, Rosie, YM, Honey, Woman’s Own, MH-18 and Vista. Local market coverage highlights included one or more newspaper, television or radio stations in the following cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Phoenix, Memphis, Las Vegas and Dayton.

 

More than 2,100 copies of “A Parent’s Guide…,” produced in September 2001, 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.

 

Since the program’s inception in 1991, LCI has directly donated more than $1.2 million to organizations working to end domestic violence via Charity Shopping Day and fundraising item sales and direct donations.

 

The company continues to be positioned as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader through public recognition. In October 2001, LCI was honored at the 30th Anniversary Humanitarian Awards Dinner by Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, California’s first center dedicated to the elimination of violence against women, youth and children. Additionally, positive feedback from the community via telephone, mail and email revealed LCI’s success in raising awareness about dating violence.

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