Paul Holmes 04 Mar 2003 // 12:00AM GMT
Despite the poignant grace of the well-known national memorial to Vietnam veterans dedicated on November 13, 1982, today, many Americans are still troubled by the war. In fact, the nation’s difficulty of coming to terms with both the memory and anonymity of the 58,000 US deaths in the war was the
Back in 1998, to further preserve the legacy of the Vietnam Memorial and to educate society about the impact of Vietnam, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund established The Virtual Wall. This interactive Web site serves as the online twin to the black granite Memorial and is as a place to remember, learn and heal. In September 2000, to further honor and remember the more than 58,000 who died in the Vietnam War, the Memorial Fund and Kinko’s embarked on a mission. The goal: to increase the number of digital photos posted to The Virtual Wall.
The campaign, “Put a Face with a Name,” showcased Kinko’s as a leader in technology services, digital imaging and corporate philanthropy and exemplified the company’s branding: “Kinko’s. We’re doing more.”
According to the most recent National Park Service figures, more than 4.4 million people experienced the Vietnam Memorial in 1999, making it the most visited memorial in the nation’s capital. Since extending the experience of the Memorial online at The Virtual Wall in 1998, each month nearly one million text remembrances are posted, proving America’s need to honor and remember this group of individuals. Since The Virtual Wall was launched only a limited number of photos had been shared.
The Memorial Fund concluded that due to the target audiences’ limited ability to scan and post photos, a huge opportunity would be missed, and this function would remain underutilized. Thus, the creation of “Put a Face with a Name.” To ensure the success of the campaign’s concept and elements, focus groups with Vietnam veterans were held. The findings showed that 1) Veterans would like to participate in a campaign like this and they would tell family and friends about it, 2) Veterans were intrigued by The Virtual Wall and 3) Kinko’s must not be portrayed as benefiting financially from this campaign. To ensure the program’s development and execution was appropriate and well received, Vietnam veterans and loved ones of those listed on The Wall served as ongoing advisories.
1) Generate positive media coverage of the “Put a Face with a Name” campaign to increase awareness and drive participation. 2) Significantly increase photo and text remembrances posted to The Virtual Wall. 3) Raise awareness of The Memorial Fund and its mission in preserving the legacy of The Wall. 4) Highlight Kinko’s role as a socially responsible company while promoting awareness of expanded products and services in the digital category.
Establish ongoing partnership between Kinko’s and the Memorial Fund by inducting Kinko’s as member of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Corporate Council.
Identify families with loved ones whose names appear on The Wall to support campaign and serve as advocates.
Utilize veteran focus groups to review campaign messages, tactics and collateral material.
Develop in-store merchandising collateral, including signage, participation kits, special employee name badges and brochures.
Develop software application and implementation strategy to ensure positive experience and seamless execution in all 1,000 Kinko’s stores.
Engage real families and people to tell their story to media on a national and local level.
Engage key Congressional influencers to endorse campaign and encourage member involvement to create additional awareness.
Identify high-profile political spokesperson to champion the campaign.
Host campaign announcement event September 12 on Capitol Hill to establish campaign as patriotic, positive, pro-America, pro-Veterans that members of Congress will want to support.
Develop “tool kit” to assist implementation and support at grassroots level.
Utilize existing internal communication vehicles to communicate with target audiences.
Capitalize on key dates occurring throughout the campaign (anniversaries/holidays) as added media “hooks.”
Due to the tragic circumstances of September 11, several of the tactics were revised.
Through outreach to House and Senate offices, secured support of Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Sen. Rockefeller to host campaign announcement in committee room attended by members of Congress and the Administration and representatives from organizations supporting veterans and their families. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz scheduled to deliver opening remarks.
Developed “How-To Guide” for more than 100 local Kinko’s employees that provided the tools necessary to execute local events and community outreach.
Information included in Kinko’s and Memorial Fund internal communication vehicles including employee bulletins, member direct mail pieces and annual meetings.
Provided campaign information to every House and Senate office, national veterans organization and all state Veterans Affairs Departments.
Created bylined editorial for media to utilize in Veterans Day weekend editions.
Families of those lost in Vietnam and five VIP Kinko’s employees served as spokespeople.
Postponed national media announcement on Capitol Hill (scheduled for September 12) and extend campaign through December 31, 2001. Media activities, including satellite media tour, radio media tour and grassroots events shifted to take place the week prior to Veterans Day (November 11).
Evaluation of Success
Media Coverage: To date more than 55 million media impressions have helped to raise awareness of the campaign. Despite canceling secured media (due to 9/11), including an exclusive with The Today Show, “Put a Face with a Name” was covered by media such as USA Today, Parade Magazine and The Washington Post. A complete media grid is included in the supporting materials.
“Put a Face with a Name” has also been communicated to:
250,000 Memorial Fund supporters • 20,000 Kinko’s employees • Two million VFW members • All House and Senate offices • Hundreds of national and local veterans organizations and members • The Bush Administration
Examples of efforts and activities to help increase awareness of “Put a Face with a Name”:
More than 15 national veteran organizations and 40 state veteran departments requested information, featured the campaign in newsletters or placed the campaign banner online • Alaska Governor, Tony Knowles, declared September “Put a Face with a Name” Month • Lt. Governor of California Cruz Bustamante encouraging participation through letter writing and hosting five statewide events • Senator Rockefeller distributed “Dear Colleague” letters to each Congressional office • Kinko’s received the VFW Commander-in-Chief’s Certificate of Appreciation.
Since the launch of The Virtual Wall, in two and a half years, only 2,500 photos were posted. Since the launch of the campaign, in just three months, nearly 3,000 photos were posted – greater than a 100 percent increase.
During the campaign, the daily average of photos posted has tripled.
Total unique Web site visitors to The Virtual Wall increased by 100 percent to six million from three million.
Ratio of photo to text remembrance postings increased from one in 10 postings to one in every two postings being a photograph.
With each remembrance that is posted, America unites to honor and remember these outstanding heroes.