Woodpile Studios was contracted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide numerous outreach and communications services, including advertising, organizational branding and a full communications plan for a VA National Awareness Campaign aimed at informing Veterans that there may be VA benefits available to them and that they should check with VA to find out more about their individual eligibility. Per VA's requirements, resources provided to our firm for these collective services were used to retain several full-time Woodpile staff members on-site at VA, as well as highly-specialized teaming partners to fulfill a number of important deliverables. Tasks performed by our team included a complete visual rebrand of this Cabinet level agency, redesign of the VA.gov website user interface and page templates, re-illustration of the official full-color Seal in vector format, branding support for high-visibility programs such as MyHealtheVet, two 30sec TV commercials promoting benefits awareness in major markets, and numerous creative solutions for multiple media including print, broadcast, video, photography, exhibit, and internal/external web compiled in one comprehensive web-based graphics repository for use by all VA communications staff and contractors. All creative execution was guided by the comprehensive communications strategy Woodpile developed under direction of the Office of the Secretary, and a highly dedicated and motivated team of OPIA staff and leadership (many Veterans themselves), for this VA National Awareness Campaign. The goal of this extensive effort was to create strategies and much needed foundational elements to pave the way for a significant increase in the awareness and confidence among U.S. Veterans of the value and extent of VA services available to them.
Pete’s re-illustration of official Seal in scalable vector format format and a Veterans Day Poster design for 11-11-11.
The collaboration of our firm and our VA/OPIA leadership spearheaded a comprehensive, enterprise-wide graphic standards program for the complete visual rebrand execution by all VA communicators. Uniform standards in organizational branding and communication materials (i.e., information on benefits, procedures, etc.) are important to Veterans as they navigate the VA system in search of their benefits. The more organized the approach to critical materials development, the more quickly and easily Veterans can track down information on the wide variety of VA services for which they may be eligible, as well as other key VA information.
Problem: An inconsistent visual VA brand presence through ungoverned use of interdepartmental and program identifiers throughout internal and external visual communications was prevalent. There was growing concern that these conditions were inhibiting understanding among public, intergovernmental and Veteran constituencies.
Solution: Woodpile worked with a highly dedicated and motivated team of OPIA staff and leadership to establish VA brand dominance by bringing the VA Seal to the forefront and providing formulaic cohesion in all departmental identifiers. This was accomplished through a Secretary-approved authoritative guide both detailing core brand tenets, and poviding ample room for brand-appropriate creative with more inspiration and opportunity than limits. Final deliverables included extensive creative examples of brand-appropriate creativity in visual communications; all stored in a newly-developed VA-internal graphics repository for handy use by communicators throughout the agency.
Also spearheded by the collaboration of Woodpile and OPIA staff were general web usability studies, and sweeping new website reforms resulting in a new web design standards guide, improved information architecture, and redesign and development of overarching visual templates for the VA.gov website and its sub-sites. The templates and guidelines our firm developed were used by VA and and other contractors to rebuild the entire current VA.gov website. Although our firm was not tasked with any sort of metrics or tracking of VA.gov usage throughout our contract, it has been stated by OPIA that after the redesign of VA.gov, traffic to the site has more than doubled in 2014 year over year from 22.4 million in October 2013 to over 47 million in August of 2014.
Woodpile also helped OPIA concept, write, and produce two 30-second national TV commercials (see Portfolio/Video section) to address returning OEF/OIF/OND Veterans and to urge family members to send their Veterans to VA. Each directed viewers to a Woodpile-designed VA.gov microsite offering useful information on finding individual VA benefits. Woodpile researched, planned, managed, negotiated, and (per contract requirements) purchased a $multi-million media buy associated with this broadcast campaign. This ad campaign was viewed by millions on TV and online and created tens of thousands of unique hits to the microsite according to VA staff.
During the period Woodpile served VA under contract, our firm also casted, directed, and produced photo shoots featuring numerous US Veterans in multiple locations which produced volumes of high-quality stills and video footage for future use by VA in its communications to Veteran constituencies.
Virtual Hospital traveling exhibit (see Portfolio/Video section) and other displays were developed to provide insights into the Veteran health care program registration proces.
Extensive consultation on optimal VA brand applications for signage and environmental uses were also provided, all incorporating a newly-created streamlined and brand-cohesive “signage-friendly” design of the official VA Seal.
With two close immediate family members having served in Desert Storm, our firm's owner was deeply honored and extremely committed to maximizing the value of this tremendous opportunity to inform Veterans. Team Woodpile stands very proud of the accomplishments that arose from our service to VA and greatly appreciated the opportunity and privelege to help Veterans become aware of their benefits.