02: What we wanted to do
We envisioned that the campaign would:
Second, we wanted to engage men who are thinking about HIV testing (or beginning/returning to care) by offering a supportive relationship with a virtual VIP Guide who:
By bringing in experts who specialize in living positively with HIV at the beginning of the testing/ART initiation process, VALOR seeks to provide a supportive, one-on-one conversation that would provide encouragement and increase the likelihood of engaging in healthy testing practices.

Additionally, building a relationship with a trusted guide would allow RISE to follow-up on testing and ART linkage, as well as support clients with challenging behaviors like revealing partners for contact tracing, disclosing their status to family, etc.

The graphic below summarizes VALOR’s Theory of Change

Figure D. VALOR’s Theory of Change

VALOR: How we did it
Intervention Design
Fundamental to VALOR’s success with its Theory of Change is the application of proven approaches to program design and implementation. From the beginning, the VALOR team applied two private sector approaches:
  • Human-Centered Design
  • Marketing and branding best practices

Human-Centered Design “Lite”: How we used it in VALOR

The VALOR team decided to apply techniques from Human-Centered Design: a problem-solving process that emphasizes cultivating an empathetic understanding of men’s feelings around HIV testing concepts to uncover key insights intended to inspire creative responses.

The HCD approach uses insights to quickly establish change hypotheses. These hypotheses are then directly tested using methods such as getting men to react to mocked up communications materials. Rather than pre-testing for understanding, we tested to learn, iterate in real-time, and generate more nuanced insight.

 

Key takeaway

  • HCD techniques can be engaged ”a la carte” and add value.
  • Low-cost web-based design apps like Canva.com can help programmers quickly create rough concepts that are good enough to get reactions

Key takeaway

  • HCD techniques can be engaged ”a la carte” and add value.
  • Low-cost web-based design apps like Canva.com can help programmers quickly create rough concepts that are good enough to get reactions

Fundamentals of Branding and Marketing: How we used them in VALOR

Taking inspiration from the Brand and Marketing Best Practices Framework, we used approaches from two fundamental categories – creative strategy and operational excellence. 

Creative Strategy: This best practice category involves everything that goes into the execution elements that the audience experiences. It involves developing an in-depth understanding of the target audience and designing both a cohesive brand and a tailored campaign strategy to effectively reach this audience.  

Taking inspiration from the Brand and Marketing Best Practices Framework, we used approaches from two fundamental categories – creative strategy and operational excellence. 

Creative Strategy: This best practice category involves everything that goes into the execution elements that the audience experiences. It involves developing an in-depth understanding of the target audience and designing both a cohesive brand and a tailored campaign strategy to effectively reach this audience.  

Key takeaway

Who are you talking with more? Eachother or your audience? Find ways to get audience feedback and suggestions throughout the creative process - not just pretesting before launch.

Key takeaway

Who are you talking with more? Eachother or your audience? Find ways to get audience feedback and suggestions throughout the creative process - not just pretesting before launch.

Based on our experience, we felt strongly that the VALOR campaign should not only “work” for Nigerian men, but it needed to resonate to speak to their experiences, evoke emotional responses, and inspire action to test and treat. Through discussions of rough concepts, we discovered three overall benefits that we knew made sense to men:

  1. Claim your courage
  2. Enjoy life fully 
  3. Keep what you love

Key takeaway

Informing is fine. Inspiring is better. Seek to evoke an emotional response that rings true to the audience’s deep hope and feers.

Key takeaway

Informing is fine. Inspiring is better. Seek to evoke an emotional response that rings true to the audience’s deep hope and feers.

Operational Excellence: This best practice category involves the behind the scenes aspects that the audience will never experience directly, but that make the initiative successful, including measurement and governance. While it is often a challenge to attribute project success to marketing programs, the benefit of designing and running our campaign through Facebook is that we have access to and can gather weekly campaign data to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of specific Facebook ads run during our campaign. The second aspect of this best practice category is governance, including clear organizational structure, processes and decision making, team capabilities, and rewards and incentives. 

With a focus on continuous learning from research and measurement, along with team agility, VALOR gathered data throughout the design and implementation processes in order to rapidly respond to user feedback and iterate on the go. We used treatment cascade guidelines (95 95 95) to guide our data collection. See figure E below. 

 

Figure E. Data Collection Opportunities Throughout Design, Implementation and along the Treatment Cascade

Gender Transformation: How we applied it in VALOR

Lastly, VALOR was designed to be gender transformative. 

With any intervention targeting men, it can be tempting to exploit tropes that perpetuate the harmful gender dynamics and drive the HIV epidemic, or to unconsciously fall back on them. Thus, throughout the project cycle, from assessment and design to monitoring and rapid evaluation, we continued to reflect on the gender equality continuum framework (below) to ensure that we were not exploiting gender norms, i.e., reinforcing harmful masculinities, and integrating gender-transformative messaging.

 

Figure F. Gender Integration Continuum

Getting it together – Team and Workplan

The VALOR program was conceived under extraordinary circumstances as the global community continues to battle the Coronavirus pandemic. The entire timeline, from the initial design phase to program launch, spanned less than three months. The entire campaign ran for just over three months- from September to November.

 

Figure G. Program Implementation Schedule

Key Partnership: Local Creative Agency 

The VALOR team identified and hired a Nigerian-based creative agency, Sprout Digital, who became an extension of the implementation team. The agency’s scope of work was to develop, design, and execute the VALOR communications campaign which included: brand design, media plan, creative assets that drive men to contact VALOR VIP Guides via WhatsApp.