Color Bars

Unique Deliverables Help Raise Awareness of 2-1-1 San Diego

I can’t count the number of times I’ve written a press release, pitched a story to media, wrote a newsletter, or drafted tweets and Facebook posts for a client account. These are common tasks for public relations practitioners and after a few years on the job, it’s easy to lose track. But over the past month, one of NST’s newest clients, 2-1-1 San Diego, has given our team the opportunity to apply our communications skills to unique projects – a custom “Challenge Coin” and animated video.

February 11 is known as National 2-1-1 Day, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the free, 24-hour call line and searchable online database connecting people to community, health and disaster support services. 2-1-1 San Diego makes 400,000 connections each year to more than 6,000 local programs and services. NST was tasked with helping to raise local awareness through the creation of a 60-second video answering the question “what is 2-1-1?” and a one-of-a-kind token to be handed out at the annual 2-1-1 Connections Luncheon. Here are some things we learned along the way:

Brevity is Key
There’s not much space to explain an organization on a coin with a 1.75-inch diameter, so you need to think long and hard about what you want to communicate. Similarly, 60 seconds goes quickly when developing a video aimed at explaining 2-1-1 San Diego in a nutshell. For both occasions, we opted to clearly state the organization’s logo, tagline and website, and communicate its key areas of expertise: housing assistance, food assistance, military and veterans services, disaster response information, financial assistance, general information and health services.

It’s all in the Details
How thick should the lines in a stick figure’s legs be? Should the logo move a centimeter to the left? Should that blue be just a touch darker? It’s surprising how tiny details can have such an effect on the end project. These projects are going to have a long shelf life for 2-1-1 San Diego and it is important to get things right, even if it means asking yourself a million questions along the way. Be specific when outlining your vision. Ask how many rounds of revisions are allowed. Be sure to allot time and budget to ensure you get the project just right.

Share, Share, Share
The 2-1-1 Challenge Coin and animated video weren’t created to sit on an office shelf and acquire dust. They were designed to raise awareness of an essential community service and to do that, they must be shared with as many people as possible. An estimated 700 attendees walked away from the 2-1-1 Connections Luncheon with a Challenge Coin in their hands, and 2-1-1 San Diego has earmarked hundreds more to be handed out to elected officials, funders, volunteers and more. The animated video was posted to YouTube, shared on Facebook and included in Twitter outreach, and luncheon attendees were encouraged to connect with the organization online and share the video with others. Developing captivating and meaningful communication materials is the first step, sharing it with the world is what makes for a lasting connection.

It’s always good to put a fresh perspective on communications projects, and I’m happy to have worked on these unique projects and learned new ways to effectively publicize an organization. To learn more about 2-1-1 San Diego, visit

If you’re interested in exploring unique communication vehicles that may be appropriate for your company, drop us a line and we’ll get our creative juices flowing.

« | »