The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes the importance of providing military families with access to quality, affordable child care as a workforce issue that directly impacts military readiness.
Up until recently, the process for finding and requesting child care was decentralized and handled differently by each of the four services. This decentralization made it challenging for families to find the care they needed, particularly before transferring to a different military installation.
As a result, DoD developed MilitaryChildCare.com — a secure, single online gateway to military-operated and military-subsidized child care worldwide. The website began its phased rollout to military installations in January 2015, with expected completion in summer 2017.
DoD contracted Sage in 2012 to brand this important initiative, and to develop messages and visuals that resonate with military families who may be in any service branch or stationed anywhere in the world. DoD then tasked Sage to develop and implement a strategic communications plan for disseminating information to the program's installation stakeholders throughout the system development and rollout process.
Our strategic approach
We began our branding process by sending a field team to talk with military families and gain a complete understanding of each target audience. Our team spent several days at installations representing each service branch, conducting messaging workshops with families, program staff, and command representatives, and capturing on-site images.
We then developed a comprehensive brand guidelines manual for using the MilitaryChildCare.com logo and other visual identity assets. The guidelines also included audience-segmented messaging for communicating benefits of the new system to stakeholders.
Sage worked side-by-side with other contractors supporting the initiative to develop, implement and test the site's user interface design. We also created a toolkit of outreach and communications materials for installation public affairs and marketing professionals.
To support the global rollout of MilitaryChildCare.com, Sage created MCC Central — the component that brings everything together. Planned and built using Agile development, MCC Central is the hub for all marketing communications materials, training resources, and operating procedures required to support this initiative at global scale.
Since launching MCC Central, Sage has provided continuous website management and supported ongoing development of new features to accommodate the evolving needs of the program.
Sage’s communications support to the Operations Center team and its system contractors helped create broad awareness and credibility for MilitaryChildCare.com. We received positive feedback about the quality of our branding and marketing communications materials, which are still in wide use by military installations worldwide.
Based on this success, DoD rewarded Sage with a follow-on contract in 2016 to continue our marketing support activities, including preparations for promoting the site's completion.