Employee & Family Engagement Campaign

Driving employees and families to participate in an annual engagement survey.


KinderCare Education, formerly known as Knowledge Universe (KU), is the largest for-profit provider of early childhood education in the U.S. Headquartered in Portland, OR., the company operates nearly 1,700 early childhood education community centers and employs roughly 30,000 employees in the U.S.   Every year, KU launches two important annual surveys. One survey measures overall family engagement. The other measures employee engagement, targeting education center directors and teachers. A new leadership team had recently come on board, and the CEO wanted to significantly increase participation in the surveys to get a better understanding of the issues facing parents, students, directors, and teachers. KU’s Initial attempts at boosting survey participation hadn’t delivered the numbers the leadership team aspired to achieve, so Vignette came on board to develop a solution to activate parents, center directors and teachers to participate.


Key Insights

Having worked with KU before, we had a strong foundation of knowledge to understand the company’s issues and opportunities, culture and brand. However, we dove a bit deeper to try and find some key insights to use to inspire families and employees to give KU another chance at solving these issues. Some of the key insights were:

  • Families are a difficult audience to reach, and Center Directors and teachers served as a key touchpoint in helping encourage family participation in the survey.
  • KU faced a perception among families and employees as a “corporate caregiver” rather than a family-centered caregiver-focused on positive student, family, and employee experiences.
  • Center Directors and teachers have minimal break time as they are always with their students. So how they are reached, engaged, and what they are being asked to do must be thoughtful, clear and brief.  

Theme Development, Message Points and Style Guide

While Vignette was already working with KU on other initiatives and had been exposed to the company’s employer branding, this assignment gave us an opportunity to elevate that branding. With a goal of driving survey participation, we first needed a way to connect with both families and employees. We began with initial working sessions to gain a deeper understanding of family and employee perceptions, frustrations, wants and needs. With a firm understanding of our audience, we then developed key message points, and a hierarchy to help our team and KU align on delivering messages that would drive the participation we were looking for. Additionally, we developed an employer branded style guide that aligned our team and KU on the core branded elements such as fonts, colors, guidance on the use of imagery, graphics and design explorations that would help bring our important message to life. The result of this process created the campaign theme of “Yes, we hear you” along with a stylized set of tools to guide the creation of our main campaign vehicles.

 Channels, Tactics, and Vehicles

  • Email: We crafted emails that were targeted at Center Directors, teachers and parents, communicating the purpose of the short campaign and included Calls To Action to activate them to watch the video we created, participate in social media activities and ultimately take the survey.
  • Video: The crown jewel of the campaign was a video called “Tuesday, 7:50 a.m.” The video is a highly creative execution that delivers emotional context around the moments before a parent drops their child off at one of KU’s centers. The message to families was, “We know. They mean the world to us, too. And this is why we need your input in our survey so we can continue to provide the best care possible for your family.” We developed and managed all aspects of the video, including concept development, aligning KU’s CEO to the concept and campaign plan, script development, casting, direction, shooting, editing, and distribution.
  • Posters: We developed several posters for education centers that communicate the campaign’s theme and message and attempting to activate Center Directors and teachers to participate.
  • Print Materials: A condensed printed piece was created as a coaching guide to help encourage Center Directors and teachers to both drive family and employee participation.
  • Social engagement: The video was hosted on KU’s YouTube channel, accessible via a campaign landing page, and available on KU’s social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The social campaign encouraged education center participation, which resulted in high levels of engagement. Centers received printed materials in the form of a large thought bubble where they could write a message, and post selfies of themselves or with other co-workers and children, resulting in high levels of engagement.
  • Newsletter: We created a special edition of KU’s corporate newsletter, Canvas,to provide a deeper explanation of the campaign’s purpose and drive immediate participation.

An Effective Outcome

The outcome of the short campaign delivered on our mutual KPIs. Final family and employee engagement participation rates were higher than expected, with well over 90 percent participation.  


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