Building Networks

Building Networks

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wanted to pursue a new area of funding in which they did not have a great deal of experience. So, before releasing a Call for Proposals (CFP), Aggregate identified and engaged influencers who could help them reach new communities to inform their funding strategy and build trust for the foundation among those working in the field. Throughout the process, we served as the program officer’s coach, helping her build her online network and to share timely and transparent updates. The process contributed to establishing the program officer as a credible thought leader and led to new relationships and opportunities well before the CFP was released. When it was released, the CFP generated a level of interest unprecedented by past CFPs issued by the foundation.

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Generating Buzz

Generating Buzz

Thomas Goetz, the former Executive Editor of Wired and the co-founder of Iodine, a start up that helps people use their personal data to make better decisions about their health, chose Aggregate to help him generate word of mouth about his second book, The Remedy. The book is about how scientific discovery becomes social truth—in the guise of the little known story of how Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes series, and Robert Koch crossed paths in the midst of the quest for a cure for tuberculosis. Our strategy was to identify and engage influencers within the broad range of online communities that could find something they loved within the pages of the book—Sherlock Holmes fans, global health advocates, health innovation thought leaders, and more. And to generate additional buzz, we designed a beautiful series of graphic excerpts from the book, to give readers a peek inside and highlight Thomas’ brilliant way with words.

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Reaching Common Ground

Reaching Common Ground

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Population and Reproductive Health program and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reproductive Health team hired us to undertake an analysis of the international population, reproductive health, and family planning communications landscape to gain a better understanding of how the field talks about their work and how these messages impact their ability to achieve their missions. We interviewed communications and program staff at leading foundations and NGOs in the field and conducted a traditional and social media audit. Our discovery process made it clear that, while there was interest in creating unified messaging, notable tensions existed between those who saw reproductive health primarily as a women’s rights issue and those who saw it as a driver in global poverty and global health. As a result, we recommended and developed a message platform that focused on shared objectives versus shared values.

The photo is by Possible Health and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

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Driving Outcome-Based Engagement

Driving Outcome-Based Engagement

The Connecticut Health Foundation hired Aggregate to conduct an audit of the Foundation’s social media engagement efforts. One of the conclusions of the audit was that the foundation had been successful in utilizing social media engagement as a strategy for brand building, but had not begun to use social media engagement strategically to support the achievement of program objectives. Doing so, Aggregate proposed, would—in addition to supporting the achievement of program objectives—increase understanding of the value of social media engagement among foundation staff members and, ultimately, their own engagement. Since then, we have worked with the foundation to develop and execute outcome driven strategies that have made social media engagement a more integral tool in their toolbox.

The photo is by florianric and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

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Defining Social Media Strategy

Defining Social Media Strategy

Aggregate works hand in hand with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Social Media Manager to guide the foundation’s use of social media. Our work began with an extensive audit of trends, viewpoints, and practices within the foundation to inform the creation of a social media strategy, which included guidelines for representing the foundation’s brand within social media, quantitative and qualitative metrics, and a peer-to-peer staff learning strategy. Additional work has included developing a decision tree to help the foundation determine when to launch a presence on a new social media platform, and developing and executing upon strategies to diversify the communities the foundation reaches and engages in its effort to build a Culture of Health.

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Listening to Online Conversations

Listening to Online Conversations

It always begins with listening. There is no project that Aggregate takes on that does not include listening first to those we want to reach and engage. We are developing experiences that will encourage and enable people to take action. And we can’t design that experience without knowing what motivates them and what hurdles stand in their way. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wanted us to listen to what people were saying about the social determinants of health and to develop recommendations for the creation of an online community. So, we aggregated and analyzed social media content and ultimately—because of what we heard—our recommendation was that the foundation should not invest in that online community. Sure, in the back of our minds we wanted to build it, but we didn’t want to help the foundation throw a party to which no one would come.

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