The Integrated agency Reingold was able to obtain a $13.8 million contract this week from the Department of Veterans Affairs in an effort to raise awareness of the benefits veterans are eligible for after their service. This is all part of a more comprehensive effort from the Department of Veterans Affairs to reach out to the veterans whom some would say they have failed to connect with.
For a very long time now, the Department of Veterans Affairs has noted that many veterans in this country do not take advantage of the different services they have access to. There is a wide variety of reasons why many former servicemen and servicewomen have been reluctant to ask for the help they deserve. For some, it is a lack of awareness, an unfamiliarity with the systems that house their benefits, the excessive and complicated paperwork involved, or doubting the quality of the care they will receive.
Kevin Miller, a partner and chief operating officer at Reingold said on August 8th,“Only a certain portion of veterans, 40% to 50%, are actually using the benefits they qualify for. This includes not only those just getting out, but those who have been out for years,”
As part of its contract with the VA, the firm is beginning to construct a web portal it hopes will be up and running by February 2014. “Talks are ongoing about whether the educational resource will have a unique web presence or be a subsite on a Veterans Affairs web property,” Miller said.
“There is also a potential social media outreach component to the contract that is being hammered out. One idea being discussed is developing content that partners would be able to disseminate through social media channels to draw attention to VA resources, said Miller. Reingold’s work also includes a strong paid-media component that will target both regional and national audiences.”
Mr Miller is in charge of the entire Reingold team. Together they plan and implement marketing and communications campaigns. His federal government campaigns include this outreach and communications contract on behalf of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’, the Homeless Veterans Outreach Initiative where he took charge of building the campaign’s massive collection of more than 2,700 national and grassroots partner organizations. He has also achieved an estimated 713 million audience impressions through earned media, and more than doubled the number of calls to the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans.
A VA spokesperson said via email that “this contract is part of a comprehensive and synchronized VA benefits outreach campaign to expand access to earned care and benefits for eligible veterans, their survivors, and family members.”
The VA is investing this money to provide veterans timely access and use of benefits and services to achieve higher rates of participation in benefits programs. They state on their website that self-service technology-enabled interactions provide access to information and the ability to execute transactions at the place and time convenient to the client. Some of the services available are obtaining official military documents, generating a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA home loan, or generating a letter verifying Veterans Preference for Federal hiring. The hope is that Reingold will be able to provide these things under the direction of Kevin Miller.
With these types of capabilities, VA will have an opportunity to grant access to VA information and services by enhancing the quality, accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness of information/data exchanges conducted over the Web.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has also posted award documents showing it intends to award Reingold a $2.8 million contract to be able to continue suicide-prevention outreach. The firm has been working with the federal agency on the issue since 2010. Mr Miller has headed up many of the other contracts with the federal government which, before this newest contract, totaled more than 9 million dollars.
The scope of work includes implementing an ongoing outreach plan and designing key metrics to ensure communications materials are achieving intended results. There is also a heavy material development comment, according to the award notice.
The contact also includes funding for regional TV, radio, and out-of-home advertising, as well as digital advertising on social media. Research, planning, and media monitoring services are also a part of the scope of work.