Changing the Child Support Message – Branding Project Update

By: Nicole Darracq, CA DCSS

In May of last year, the California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) began a partnership with Ogilvy Public Relations to rejuvenate our public image to more accurately reflect the ways we work with the parents we serve (see DCSS Today, September 2017). Research focus groups were held with the public, child support professionals, stakeholders and more beginning in October 2017 and were completed by December. The results are being used to recraft the child support message. *Note: A workshop discussing these findings is scheduled for the 2018 Child Support Directors Association Conference.

Currently the team at Ogilvy Public Relations is synthesizing the research into a messaging direction that will be able to be summarized in a new tagline – and considering the pros and cons of a wide range of other steps that may help the Child Support Program better reach parents.

Currently, graphic arts students at three community colleges – two classes from Tulare County’s College of the Sequoias, one at Monterey Peninsula College, and two at Solano Community College are using the market research to develop new logo ideas for California’s Child Support Program.

The five classes involved have been using this semester to learn how to apply market research and department history to the design process. Each class has received presentations on the background of child support and the market research conducted and will receive a formal creative brief from the Ogilvy team to direct their work. In May, the students will be pitching their designs to the Executive Vice President of Ogilvy’s California Capitol Office as part of their final exams—a valuable opportunity and great experience for these talented young people.

The students are thinking about the challenges DCSS faces, they are a very diverse group that are the same age group as many of our participants, and they are free of a lot of the assumptions professional designers make when designing for government agencies.

The slate of finalists for the new logo will be presented to the local child support agencies for a vote in late May or early June. The goal is to unveil the new look and feel with the 2018 Child Support Awareness Month campaign for August. Keep reading the DCSS Today newsletter for ongoing updates.