In Part 1 of this series, you learned the right questions to ask in developing a communications strategy to support your state’s quality rating and improvement system.
In Part 2, we outlined specific guidelines to keep in mind in crafting that strategy.
In Part 3 we described the process of redesigning your QRIS brand to position the system for success.
In Part 4 you’ll learn what marketing materials are needed to launch your new QRIS brand identity.
Once you’ve completed the final part of the redesign process—approval of the overall brand identity in its mocked-up form—it’s time to create and distribute the marketing materials you’ll need to achieve your communications goals for each audience.
Note that this step is where you’ll need real copy to be written and approved, actual photography to be chosen and purchased, and realistic website development and production schedules to be drafted.
How you prioritize the creation of these materials depends on your specific situation. In the case of Virginia Quality, the first priority was to outfit the statewide network of Regional Coordinators who are charged with executing the QRIS with tools they needed in face-to-face meetings.
Because we determined that using an online file-sharing service was the easiest way to disseminate the materials to the Regional Coordinators, we prepared print-ready materials digitally and posted them on this file-sharing site; each Coordinator could then send the artwork to a local printer of their choosing. In addition, we created downloadable versions of many pieces which were made available via websites and shared via email.
For best results, we designed each piece to be flexible enough to meet the needs of each region, then trained the Regional Coordinators on how to use the materials.
The following are examples of the Virginia Quality marketing materials we created
As a general-purpose tool that would be needed by all Coordinators, the first item we created was a basic business suite including letterhead and envelopes.
Regional Coordinators present the QRIS message to a variety of audiences, so we developed a Virginia Quality-branded PowerPoint template to use in more formal settings.
To ensure brand consistency statewide, the template included font and color guidelines for text-based slides, and examples of different slide configurations to accommodate images, graphs, and charts. To further take the guesswork out of setting up a presentation, the template also featured a wide variety of title slide imagery so the presentations could be customized according to provider facility and child age groups.
Given the more simplified standards for Virginia’s quality rating and improvement system, we were able to create a single- page overview of the new QRIS standards. This easily digestible overview was perfect for initial meetings with providers, statewide partners, and parents—educating them on QRIS, and communicating a general understanding of Virginia’s efforts to develop a system of continuous quality improvement.
Expanding on the information in the single page standards, the multi-page standards document provides more in-depth information for those working directly with QRIS programs.
Virginia Quality’s “Certificate of Quality” recognizes the level achieved by all providers who are enrolled in the state’s QRIS. Every time a provider progresses through a level, they receive a certificate announcing their progress and outlining the milestones they’ve accomplished. Providers can proudly display this certificate in their facility—demonstrating to parents that they’re committed to quality care.
Website Landing Page
To serve as a placeholder for the brand and explain the concept of a quality rating and improvement system, we created a “Coming Soon” landing page for use while the main Virginia Quality website is developed. The primary goal for this page is to quickly clarify what a QRIS is, and what Virginia Quality means. The landing page also provides users with an easy way to contact Virginia Quality for more information.
Parent Rack Card for Participating Providers
This customizable rack card is available to participating providers as a way to promote Virginia Quality. The piece contains information for parents—explaining what Virginia Quality is, why it’s important, and how it benefits their children. As an added bonus to providers, this rack card can be customized with the provider’s information so it can serve as no- cost advertising for their program.
Information Sheet: “Value of Participation”
This two-sided information sheet gives providers an outline of the Virginia Quality framework and the benefits of participating in the system. For added value to the Regional Coordinators, this piece can be customized with the logo and contact information of the regional affiliate that is promoting Virginia Quality. (This feature is particularly useful when the Coordinators are partnering with well-known community organizations to build trust in the Virginia Quality brand.)
Postcard: “Value of Participation”
A corollary to the Information Sheet described above, this postcard delivers a snapshot overview of the Virginia Quality system as well as the benefits of participation. Like the Information Sheet, this piece also has the option of customizing with the logo and contact information for the Regional Coordinator’s office.
To develop the new communication strategy and brand identity for your quality rating and improvement system, you need the right information. And in order to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. This information will lay the groundwork to create a new communication strategy that works.
It’s only by thoroughly examining your current brand identity and communications that you can determine what changes may be needed as you move forward to engage more providers, impact more families, affect the early education workforce, and achieve the outcomes that are so vital in this work.