Centers for Disease Control

Many Voices × Strategic Design = Harmonized Social Media Communications

As one of the most trusted federal agencies, the voice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) carries tremendous weight with the American public. So in an environment where social media has become a significant communication tool, ensuring that more than 15,000 CDC employees are aligned and speaking in harmony is a huge challenge.

Diagnosing the CDC Social Media Challenge

Understanding the organization’s social media challenge was an important framing exercise:

  • Because doctors and scientists are the heart of the CDC, research studies and data drive the majority of its communication, making those instances where marketing managers and communication strategists need to share more than just hard numbers and facts particularly demanding.
  • The wide range of social media familiarity and expertise among CDC personnel pointed out the need for a broad but deep breakdown of the medium.
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Articulating and Executing a Social Media Strategy Tool

Working over a twenty-four month research, prototyping and iteration period with a team from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) and advisors from organizations such as Livestrong, Northrop Grumman and McCann Health, we framed, articulated, named, and developed, a suite of resources and tools that CDC communicators now use in the development and execution of social media strategy.

Designed to meet the needs of both novice and expert CDC social media practitioners, the system provides the organization’s communication staff with extensive guidance and structure related to:

  • developing and executing a social media strategy;
  • developing and delivering unified messaging;
  • understanding the range of social media options;
  • recommending social media channels based on current resources;
  • educating social media strategists and users about metrics and analysis;
  • providing a forum for novices and experts to engage about social media.

To help introduce and socialize the system for CDC personnel, we convened and moderated social media panels, facilitated numerous social media team meetings, and delivered presentations on social media strategy and execution to both the CDC and the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media (NCHCMM).

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CDC communications staff now have access to a comprehensive set of social media strategy tools purpose-built to help them create and execute cohesive, harmonized communication across the full spectrum of social media options.

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Centers for Disease Control

This visualization illustrates the full extent of our engagement with this particular client, broken down by the percentage of specific capabilities we provided during the relationship.

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  • General
  • Individual
  1. I Understanding / strategy
    1. A Research
    2. B Data visualization
    3. C Brand strategy
  2. II Conceptualization / articulation
    1. D Naming / nomenclature
    2. E Positioning / message development
    3. F Copywriting / content development
  3. III Communication design / execution
    1. G Corporate identity
    2. H Video / motion graphics
    3. I Web design / development
    4. J Physical spaces
    5. K Collateral / publications
    6. L Events / experiences
    7. M Digital media / marketing
    8. N Social media
    9. O Packaging
  4. IV Measurement / consulting
    1. P Search engine marketing
    2. Q Creative consultation
    3. R Innovation workshops