VA National Awareness Campaign

Relevant PWS Sections: 3.3.4.1 (Advertising Services), 3.3.4.3 (Public Relations Services/Outreach), 3.3.4.5 (Promotional Materials), 3.3.4.6 (Video/Film Production), and 3.3.4.7 (Graphics Design)

Team AMC’s Senior Communications Specialist, Pete Buttecali, has provided world-class outreach and communications services, including advertising, organizational branding, and a full communications plan, for the VA National Awareness Campaign aimed at informing Veterans of the VA benefits available to them. The campaign directly benefited Veterans by educating them about previously-unknown aspects of their individual eligibility.

Problem: Inconsistent branding and narrative was negatively impacting Veteran understanding of individual benefits. An inconsistent visual VA brand presence through ungoverned use of interdepartmental and program identifiers throughout internal and external visual communications was prevalent. There was growing concern that these conditions were inhibiting understanding among public, intergovernmental, and Veteran constituencies.

Solution: In conjunction with VA’s requirements, Team AMC’s SME led a team of talented, highly-specialized teaming partners to fulfill a number of important deliverables. Tasks performed by the team included a complete visual rebrand of this Cabinet level agency, a redesign of the VA.gov website user interface and page templates, a re-illustration of the official full-color Seal in vector format, branding support for high-visibility programs such as MyHealtheVet, two 30sec TV commercials promoting benefits awareness in major markets, and numerous creative solutions for multiple media including print, broadcast, video, photography, exhibit, and internal/external web compiled in one comprehensive web-based graphics repository for use by all VA communications staff and contractors. All creative execution was guided by the comprehensive communications strategy that Team AMC’s SME developed in direct coordination with the Office of the Secretary and a highly-dedicated and motivated team of OPIA staff and leadership (many Veterans themselves) for this VA National Awareness Campaign. The goal of this extensive planning effort was to create strategies and much needed foundational elements to pave the way for a significant increase in the awareness and confidence among U.S. Veterans of the value and extent of VA services available to them. Our collaboration with VA/OPIA leadership spearheaded a comprehensive, enterprise-wide graphic standards program for the complete visual rebrand execution by all VA communicators.

Benefit: The program directly enabled other program-level communications effort to dramatically improve Veteran understanding of benefits. According to OPIA Staff, after the redesign of VA.gov, traffic to the site has more than doubled year over year from 22.4 million to over 47 million. Since 2015, Veteran trust in VA and understanding of benefits have increased steadily, evidenced by a recent poll by Military.com, indicating 90% said they “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they trusted their VA health care. Another lasting benefit was the creation of the Tier-1 Graphic Standards, which codified consistent agency-wide branding to better enable more effective communications to Veterans, staff, and other stakeholders. The Graphic Standards Booklet is provided as a stand-alone URL for this proposal.

Note: Pete Buttecali leads AMC’s Strategic Communications Practice, which supports VA and NASA on a daily basis. Prior to arriving at Andrew Morgan Consulting, Pete built a career resume leading some of the best communications teams in the nation. His diverse StratCom credentials include multiple nationwide communications campaigns, high-impact website enhancements, large-scale project management, and high-end creative design for countless commercial and federal customers.