Issue: The Federal government has been criticized and scrutinized for spending millions on public education campaigns, many of which are developed by public relations firms and other types of contractors. But with all of the public education the Federal government is doing across its agencies, there seems to be a lack of information and resource sharing, lack of best practice highlighting, and little or no integration, collaboration or partnering among the Federal agencies and programs - resulting in duplication of efforts and reinvention of the wheel.
Case in point: Today, DHS is launching it's "Blue Campaign" to raise awareness about human trafficking. While it is great that DHS is stepping up and taking a more visible role in combating this issue, there are already very successful human trafficking campaigns within the Federal government. For example, HHS's award-winning "Look Beneath the Surface" which was launched in 2005 and is still active. Dept. of Justice and Dept. of State also have public education efforts addressing this important issue.
So rather than launching multiple public education efforts on the same issue, why not create a portal for Federal government employees to access that features all Federal government, national publication education and outreach efforts categorized by issue and Federal agency.
Included on this Web site, which could be linked to the GSA or USA.gov web sites, would be links to all resources and information associated with the campaigns, including strategic communications plans, print materials, partnership and stakeholder lists, media coverage, and any research findings, as well as case studies on the campaigns to provide a quick snap shot. Points of contacts for each campaign should also be included.
When a Federal agency is planning to develop and launch a public education campaign, they should be required to go to this site as part of the strategic communication planning process.
Envision a wheel with spokes, each spoke could represent a step in the public education campaign planning and coordination process. One spoke on the wheel is to visit this portal to leverage and maximize existing resources and efforts on similar or the same issue (i.e. Human Trafficking).
The wheel and spoke concept is a play off the concept of reinventing the wheel. So in order to avoid reinventing the wheel, we are aiming for increased inefficency by asking agencies to go through this campaign planning and development process.
Two examples of campaigns that could be featured as case studies/best practices on the portal could be the "See Something, Say Something" Campaign, which highlights how DHS is repurposing NYC's MATA effective local campaign and extending the reach nationally by DHS adopting the campaign, and DHS's plans to adopt the FTC's already existing "Stop. Think. Click" for the messaging platform of the national cybersecurity campaign set to launch in October. "Stop. Think. Click" is currently the slogan for the FTC's OnGuardOnline.gov web site.
Both of these examples illustrate how Federal agencies can demonstrate efficency in educating the public without having to create concepts and approaches from scratch. These examples are also demonstrating how Federal and state governments can maximize each other's efforts and how Federal agencies can leverage each other's success when made aware of what is already out there.
The Public Education Campaign Planning Portal would have been (and could still be) a great efficiency resource for DHS, HHS, DOJ, State and all of the other Federal agencies educating the public about human trafficking.
Rather than DHS creating a brand new "Blue Campaign," which is a spin on the international symbol of Blue as a representation of the issue of human trafficking, DHS and HHS and all of the other agencies could have banned together under the already existing, effective HHS "Look Beneath the Surface" campaign to evidence the Federal government's collective power on combating this issue, rather than taking the risk of building the perception that Federal government agencies work in a vaccuum developing campaigns that may already exist.
An extension of the Public Education Campaign Planning Portal could be an external facing Web site that features and profiles the Federal government's collection of public education efforts, to demonstrate how we are streamlining campaigns and pooling resources together on important issues, rather than developing 5 separate anti-human trafficking efforts and 3 cybersecurity education campaigns.
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