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Situation

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Office of Strategic Engagement (OSE) engages internal and external stakeholders to ensure effective communication with Veterans and their advocates about the VBA benefits they have earned and deserve.

Focus Areas
  • Strategy development
  • Channel optimization
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Brand unification
  • Content and material development
  • Video production

Need

VBA’s outreach and digital marketing strategy, focused on helping Veterans easily access their benefits, required an innovative and comprehensive approach to deploy trusted benefits information across all media. Specifically, OSE needs communications and outreach activities that:

  • Ensures that eligible Veterans of all eras (and survivors, family members and Service members where applicable) receive important benefit information how, when and where they wish to be served.
  • Enhances the Veteran experience by proactively providing information and timely and appropriate assistance to support to eligible Veterans and dependents in understanding VBA benefits and services.
  • Provides uniformed messaging and branding to reach more Veterans through both traditional and nontraditional methods including social and digital media.
  • Supports VBA’s programs and services administered through numerous VA offices.

Action

Aptive provides strategic guidance, development and execution of OSE’s digital media strategy, promotional and informational materials, video production, partnership efforts, public service announcements and customer analysis research to deploy trusted benefits information.

We engage in strategic planning. We conducted an initial audit of all current communications and channels, and developed a comprehensive Marketing and Strategy Plan to guide all efforts.  Our team deploys multiple strategies and messages across various mediums to reach Veterans of all eras, geographic locations and backgrounds. 

We refreshed the monthly newsletter. We support the development and delivery of OSE’s monthly email newsletter using GovDelivery, a web-based email subscription management system. To increase subscriber engagement, Aptive redesigned VBA’s newsletter template, developed an overarching strategy and content calendar for fiscal year 2020 (FY20) and initiated a recurring non-open campaign.

We revamped social media efforts. Aptive established branding for VBA unifying the style, tone and color schemes for content and images and ensured consistency with the use of appropriate image and video resolution and dimensions. Our efforts increased the number of followers and engagement across all platforms while decreasing frequency of content to avoid oversaturation.

We use video to humanize the VBA brand. We developed videos that highlight the individuals at VBA who work diligently every day to provide services to, and improve the lives of, Veterans. Through the #VBAvoices campaign, we identify inspiring stories of employees and highlight their paths serving in the military to becoming a civil servant. These videos focus on why they chose to continue their service to our country by choosing to work at VBA. From the inception of the initial campaign idea, to creative developing including brainstorms, interviewing each subject, developing a story board, onsite filming and post-production editing, Aptive is integral in each phase of the process. The ongoing video series promotes the benefit services Veterans have earned and encourages them to #ChooseVA.

We use innovative approaches to spread the word about benefits. When COVID-19 halted production on filming a public service announcement with Veteran actors, we needed to quickly pivot to alternative creative ideas to meet our deadline. We developed an animated PSA to showcase the VBA home loan guaranty benefit.

    Results

    Aptive strategically improved VBA's brand to increase visibility and engagement within the Veteran community. After an in-depth audit of all OSE campaigns and products, Aptive provided best practice recommendations to optimize the VBA brand, resulting in the following:

    • GovDelivery – Aptive’s strategic approach to developing content and a redesigned bulletin template have increased the Veterans Benefits Newsletter’s average open rate by an additional 400,000 subscribers and an additional 125,000 click-throughs on average.  
    • Social media – Aptive improved VBA's social media content style and consistency resulting in a more cohesive brand. By acquiring LinkTree for accessible linking on Instagram, and increasing the use of Instagram stories, VBA has gained more than 12,000 additional followers since the start of the contract.
    • Human centered design workshop – During an offsite workshop, Aptive helped OSE work individually and in collaborative teams to develop mission and vision statements, understand their employees’ personal values, map out guiding principles, complete a business model canvas and develop three strategic goals for the next 12 months.

    Connect with Aptive

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    Aptive

    421 King Street
    Suite #200
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    info@aptiveresources.com

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