WA CARES Fund Marketing Services

This competitive solicitation is issued in order to assist the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration, Home and Community Services Division of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in seeking qualified contractor(s) to plan and implement a strategic marketing campaign, conduct qualitative and quantitative audience research, design marketing assets, buy ads, conduct proactive media relations, and support launch of program social media accounts.


WA Cares Fund is a first-in-the-nation approach to funding long-term care needs of older Washingtonians enacted in 2019. WA Cares Fund is a cross-agency project administered collaboratively by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), the Employment Security Department (ESD), the Health Care Authority (HCA), and the Office of the State Actuary (OSA).

Under WA Cares Fund, workers contribute a premium equal to 0.58% of their wages while working. After contributing for the required number of years, they earn access to a benefit they can use to receive care from approved providers when they need assistance with activities of daily living. Almost all workers contribute and self-employed people can choose to opt in.

In January 2022, the legislature made key improvements to the program, including a path for near-retirees to earn partial benefits and optional exemptions for workers who live out of state, military spouses, workers on non-immigrant visas, and veterans with a 70% or higher service-connected disability. Applications for optional exemptions will open January 1, 2023. Workers will begin contributing and self-employed people will be able to opt in starting July 1, 2023.

Since September 2021, DSHS has been implementing a large-scale marketing and outreach campaign to inform the public about the purpose of the WA Cares Fund program and how it meets their needs. New statewide marketing and outreach strategies and materials are needed to target specific audiences impacted by the program and the recent changes with tailored messages.

Project Scope

1. Building on previous WA Cares Fund marketing persona research and leveraging the existing brand, develop a statewide marketing strategy in two phases. The initial phase will launch no later than August 1, 2022 and run through June 30, 2023. The second phase will run from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024. As part of the statewide strategy for phase one, develop a targeted approach to reach each of the priority groups listed below with tailored messages about the program’s benefits. These priority groups may be re-evaluated and changed before executing phase two of the strategy.

a. Three personas developed in previous research

b. Near-retirees (born before 1968)

c. Women

d. LGBTQ+ community

e. New exemption groups: People who live out of state and work in Washington, military spouses, veterans with 70% or higher service-connected disability, workers on a non-immigrant visa

2. Create key messages tailored to each of the following groups based on goals identified by WA Cares Fund team. Include messages on impact of family caregiving, long-term care as a women’s issue, and long-term care needs of older adults and people with disabilities.

a. Three personas developed in previous research

b. Near-retirees (born before 1968)

c. Women

d. LGBTQ+ community

3. Conduct audience research to understand the perspective of the groups identified below and test the effectiveness of the key messages the Contractor developed for each group. Research must include both qualitative and quantitative methods. Provide a written report on findings and refine messages based on results.

a. Three personas developed in previous research

b. Near-retirees (born before 1968)

c. Women

d. LGBTQ+ community

4. Create and produce distribution-ready marketing materials for the phase one marketing campaign (August 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) tailored to each priority group included in the approved statewide marketing strategy. Allow time for at least three rounds of edits in the initial development of each material. Materials should include assets for targeted digital, TV, radio, social media, and print advertising.

a. Produce videos, audio, photos, and written versions of 20 customer stories (vignettes) from a diverse range of Washingtonians. Participants should be representative of the population that will contribute to and/or benefit from WA Cares Fund.

i. Recruit 20 Washingtonians willing to share their experiences with long-term care and how WA Cares Fund would help their families or loved ones. Should include caregivers, care recipients, workers preparing for future care needs. At least one of the 20 Washingtonians must be a native Spanish speaker. Contractor must confirm none of the participants have received an exemption from the WA Cares Fund program.

ii. Provide the WA Cares team with raw video, audio, and photos, including b-roll of the customers in their daily lives.

iii. Provide at least 10 candid photos of each customer. Photos should take place in a variety of settings, including at home, at work, and outdoors in Washington settings.

iv. Work with each participant to develop a written version of their story in their own words, including ways the program could have helped them or will benefit them in the future.

v. Produce 20 90-second video vignettes, each featuring one of the customers. Each video must include a caption track.

vi. Drawing from the vignettes, create 10 30-second videos that can be used on social media and in digital advertising with narration, music, and additional B-roll as needed. All ads should follow a coherent campaign theme based on the overall marketing strategy and message development. Each video must include a caption track.

vii. One of the 20 vignettes should be conducted with a native Spanish speaker in Spanish. Translate at least two of the 30-second videos into Spanish, including narration. Include Spanish subtitles if any footage in English is used. Each video must include a caption track in Spanish.

viii. Based on the vignettes and 30-second videos, create 5 radio ads with music, narration, and interview clips. Two of the 5 radio ads should be created in Spanish, including Spanish-language narration and interview clips. All ads should follow a coherent campaign theme based on the overall marketing strategy and message development.

ix. Drawing from the vignettes, create 10 ads with a still image and text for use in advertising. Translate five of these ads into Spanish. All ads should follow a coherent campaign theme based on the overall marketing strategy and message development.

b. At the beginning of the project, the Contractor may leverage existing WA Cares Fund assets only if necessary to meet the August 1, 2022 deadline for advertising to begin. As soon as message development and audience research are completed, new materials should use the messages demonstrated in audience research to be most effective for each group.

c. Pending funding to execute phase two of the marketing strategy, develop updated phase two materials to reflect any campaign changes such as messaging, audiences, objectives, or tactics.

d. For the marketing assets developed to use in each phase, make updates (including changes to text, images, layout, and other elements) at least twice per year upon request from program staff. Allow at least two rounds of edits in the updates for each asset.

e. Provide native design files for all marketing assets to DSHS once finalized.

5. Provide recommendations based on research for using previously developed program messages in Spanish-language advertising, including which messages to translate and where to purchase ads.

6. Identify KPIs for paid media to ensure marketing strategies are successfully reaching the targeted audiences. Develop measurement tools for capturing the return on investment of media buys.

7. Facilitate purchases of paid media space/time for advertising campaign and produce a written summary of purchases. The first phase of ads should begin running no later than August 1, 2022.

8. Provide campaign and paid media management, including:

a. Conducting weekly ad optimization

b. Providing weekly written highlights on ad campaign, including metrics to demonstrate performance against KPIs and effectiveness of ads in reaching target audiences

c. Facilitating DSHS access to digital dashboard showing campaign performance metrics in real time for each targeted priority group across all digital channels

d. Providing weekly TV spot times monitored and sent to DSHS prior to the airing

9. Develop a template for written reports illustrating paid media campaign performance against KPIs and summarizing other activities performed as part of contract. Include metrics for any activities where applicable. Update and present report once per quarter.

10. Develop a proactive media pitching strategy that supports overall program marketing and communications goals.

a. Propose a new angle each month for pitching media interviews on the program. Work with the WA Cares Fund team to refine the pitch.

b. Reach out to relevant reporters and media outlets to share the pitch and follow up at least once.

c. Secure at least three interviews per month. Staff the interviews and take notes.

d. Monitor for any coverage resulting from the interviews and share it with the WA Cares Fund team.

e. Track resulting coverage and share story links with the WA Cares Fund team as they become available.

f. Send the WA Cares Fund team a weekly roundup email with a summary of news coverage, including stories that resulted from the Contractor’s media pitches, other mentions of the program and its staff, and general stories relevant to long-term care in the state.

11. Develop a strategic plan for launching WA Cares Fund social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other recommended platforms.

a. For each platform, provide recommendations on whether it’s a good fit for the program’s overall communications goals, when to launch presence, type of content, frequency of posting, strategies to increase followers, and amount of staff time necessary to maintain an effective presence.

b. Develop content calendar for first six months after launch for up to each platform approved by the WA Cares Fund team following review of Contractor’s recommendations.

c. Design image templates and develop sample content to be used for each approved platform.

12. Develop recommendations for WA Cares Fund on email marketing. Include recommendations for appropriate audiences, lists to develop, type of content, frequency of emails, and growing the identified lists.

13. Train at least 10 caregivers identified by WA Cares Fund as program ambassadors, including how to give an effective media interview and persuasive storytelling. Conduct one-on-one practice interviews with each caregiver and provide personalized coaching. Provide one session of storytelling training for WA Cares Fund staff.

14. Meet weekly with DSHS staff to review deliverables and give project updates. Attend meetings with DSHS and WA Cares Fund partner agencies to present if requested.

Bidder shall identify the key personnel it shall utilize in performing this Contract, and their experience and qualifications, as part of its Response. If awarded a Contract, Bidder shall not make changes to such Key Personnel during the term of the Contract except as requested or approved by DSHS.

Proposals due by May 14 to Email: Nicole.kahle@dshs.wa.gov

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