Breast Cancer Awareness month, Anti-Bullying Week, Philly Cheesesteak Day, Grandparents Day, etc.—whether for a significant health condition or something lighthearted, awareness days/weeks/months unite us in celebrating a topic spreading awareness, and showing support around an issue or cause.
Awareness celebrations have been around for decades and the largest ones are celebrated worldwide.
Did you know that it’s easy to establish an awareness day and pretty much anyone can do it? However, to maximize the power of it, it’s best to get official designation from an organization like Awareness Days (add link), National Day Calendar (add link) or submit a request for a proclamation from your local government.
Primary benefits of awareness days
- Awareness – Since they’re called awareness days, this is somewhat obvious, but it’s important to state it as well. Never under-estimate the power of awareness – especially on things that we take for granted. Awareness days when promoted and supported do elevate the organization, topic, or cause.
- Unity – Awareness celebrations allow many stakeholder groups to rally together around a cause and shared common and united messaging.
- Exposure – Media latch on to awareness celebrations, people/industry rally together, and messaging is amplified. We at ITC established National Coconut Day in 2019 on behalf of the Coconut Coalition of the Americas and in year 1, received nearly 200 million impressions that we were able to track as well as thousands of social media posts.
- Engagement – On the note of social media posts, engagement tends to be high for these awareness days and carefully created messages and infographics can quickly go viral. The public shares them regularly and creates their own content. It’s a great mechanism for connecting.
If you’re considering creating or supporting an awareness day, here are a few questions to answer before getting started:
Who is your audience?
Keep in mind who you’re trying to reach or talk to and develop your approach surrounding that. If you’re a B2B organization, it’s in your best interest to focus on your B2B community and giving them tools and resources they can use. In some cases, the ultimate objective is consumer awareness, but if that’s not an audience you can reach directly or is even a stretch, think about the B2B tools and levers you can reach that can then themselves impact consumers.
What is your goal for creating/supporting an awareness day/month/week?
From the outset, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re simply supporting an existing day, it can be as simple as filling holes on your content calendar. But if you are establishing a NEW day, make sure you know the reason. For example, in 2019 we established National Coconut Day to be celebrated annually on June 26th. While there were some established days related to coconut, there was no national one (anywhere in North America) and we knew that this was one exciting way to create a positive narrative surrounding coconut. In fact, in year one, traditional and social media exposure was off the charts and both industry and consumers rallied behind it. In fact, one of our greatest supporters was a Consulate Embassy combination with a huge stake in the sector, which brings up another point. Think creatively about potential partners in spreading the message and participating. Our CCA 2020 plans got derailed a bit because of COVID, but we were still able to drive significant media/social media exposure and excitement towards future celebrations.
What are your resources (financial and human)?
If you plan to hold your own awareness celebration, make sure your team can focus on developing and executing a plan designed to achieve the goals and objectives. Many initiatives can be effective at a low cost, but you’ll want to budget funds for a couple of key activities like press release distribution, and for additional promotion on top of what the platform will offer like boosted social posts.
At ITC are now in the process of introducing our second awareness celebration—We’re heading into Global Prebiotics Week starting Nov. 1st and running through Nov. 7th. As part of that celebration, we have education-based themes each day to help raise the profile of prebiotics. Learn more and celebrate with us by visiting the Global Prebiotics Week page and/or connecting and following with us on LinkedIn.
What are the issues you want to prioritize? Are there celebrations you think need to be part of your team’s or industry’s calendar?
Traci Kantowski is ITC’s Communications Director