Office heroes

Photo courtesy of Abilitree

Photo courtesy of Abilitree

Who doesn’t like being the office hero? You swoop in with a game-changing idea that lands the big client, helps cut cost, or boosts morale and productivity.

Market research revealed exactly that about potential managedIP customers in Minnesota and Michigan—they love being the office hero.

That intelligence¬¬ became the catalyst for TDS’ “Office Hero” direct mail campaign in the Twin Cities and Grand Rapids, says Stephanie Senner, TDS Telecom manager of Commercial Marketing. It’s expensive to advertise using traditional media in those markets, so the Creative Services, Digital Operations, and Commercial Marketing teams created a direct mail campaign.

“These days there is so much direct mail advertising. We needed something that would stick out,” says Stephanie.

Instead of doing a regular mailer, the team decided to do something different––send out super hero masks!

Stephanie says, “A cross-functional team created a campaign tactic including a mask, an insert with information about the campaign, and a landing page on the web.”

With the creative work complete, the team was left with the very difficult task of finding a team to physically assemble all of the direct mail pieces. About 4,000 masks needed to be stuffed into plastic bags, labeled, and mailed in about 30 days. In other words the team was in need of an office hero or two.

As luck would have it, Stephanie attended a luncheon for an organization called Abilitree. The central Oregon non-profit provides employment, resource referrals, social security advocacy, and support groups to adults with disabilities. One of the services offered to the business community by Abilitree is mail fulfilment.

Stephanie says, “While I was at the luncheon, I asked if Abilitree could help us meet the deadline for our direct mail campaign. Without hesitation I was told yes. The next day we signed a contract and in early October the first round of mailers went out.”

April O’meara, who serves as Abilitree’s Director of Marketing and Development says, “Our team loved the

Photo courtesy of Abilitree

Photo courtesy of Abilitree

masks! Everyone really liked the bright colors. Maybe a few of them got tried on¬…for quality assurance of course.”

Stephanie says the partnership was a win-win. TDS got the work it needed done, in a timely fashion, and for a reasonable price. It also gave the company the chance to act on one of its core values.

She says, “It really was an opportunity to express one of TDS’ core values––champion of economic development. We found an opportunity to employ a segment of the population that really wanted the opportunity and experience. They were incredibly grateful and were happy to be able to provide them with a positive experience.”

About Barclay Pollak

Barclay Pollak is an award winning journalist and proud to be a member of the Corporate Communications team at TDS Telecommunications Corp. (TDS®) in Madison, Wis. Barclay joined the team in April of 2013. Before that Barclay worked as an Anchor/ Reporter for the NBC affiliate in Madison. While at NBC-15 Barclay was recognized by several organizations for his contributions to the television news industry. They include the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Radio Television Digital News Association (Edward R. Murrow Regional Award) and the Chicago/Midwest National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (2012 Emmy Nominee). When he’s not working Barclay enjoys cheering for all the sports teams in Wisconsin. Barclay’s a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus and a huge fan of Badger athletics. Barclay is fascinated by the ever changing world of technology and spends a fair amount of his free time reading about the latest and greatest developments online. When Barclay’s not learning about technology he’s scouring the Internet in search of freeware. Barclay has an 8-year-old daughter and lives with his girlfriend of almost five years on Madison’s southwest side. Follow on G+.

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