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Design and Communication for the Greater Good: Encouraging Covid-19 Vaccinations

Macumbla Smith

Featured in the Now is the Time Covid-19 vaccination campaign

At ONWRD we believe that design is tied to creating business value and that good communication is good business. It is not often that these two things converge in a way that is so critical to the greater good.

Recently, we had the opportunity to work with the Templeton Religion Trust (TRT), a Bahamas-based global charitable trust chartered by Sir John Templeton in 1984.

TRT wanted to find a way to encourage Bahamians and residents to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Our multidisciplinary, collaborative team rallied for this cause. We wanted to design a campaign that could be respectful of those who waited to get vaccinated yet make an authentic emotional connection in a way that persuaded them to reconsider getting vaccinated. The idea was to communicate in a human, peer-to-peer manner using real people rather than using a top-down directive from someone in a position of authority

We took a data-driven approach to developing a campaign that could address real concerns about the vaccination. What the data showed was that men and women between 35-54 years old indicated the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy. That hesitancy was based on distrust of the vaccines’ speed of development and approval and a lack of trust in its safety.

Those findings were used to create the Now is the Time campaign. This integrated marketing campaign encourages people to get vaccinated using three main communication features: visually-stunning, bold design that stands out, messaging that acknowledges fears about vaccine safety advocates for a change of heart and, lastly, storytelling from real people who share their previous hesitations about taking the vaccine, their experiences when they got the virus and why they decided to get vaccinated.

Importantly, the campaign integrates facts about vaccination safety and benefits to give the audience the space to find their own “why” in the vaccination decision making process. This message has become even more relevant with the uptick in infection rates happening in many cities around the world and here in The Bahamas. The campaign has received support from other organizations such as the US Embassy, Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas, Zonta Clubs, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, the Abaco Bulletin, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and Rotaract Club of Freeport that share the desire to see more people in The Bahamas get the Covid-19 vaccine.

Using design and communication to change minds for something that can potentially impact how we get through this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic as individuals and as people is an amazing opportunity. Like the TRT, it is our hope that the Now is the Time campaign can persuade those who opted out of taking the vaccine to change their minds and protect their health by taking the shot.

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