Page Up member Jon Schwartz, Senior Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs at the NFL shares his experiences about creating notable and important campaigns, giving insights about what it took to create a positive impact.
In my current role at the NFL, I developed some bold, inspiring campaigns for Black History, Women’s History and Hispanic Heritage. Last fall, I championed League’s first-ever LGBTQ+ campaign that eradicated stigmas about coming out in the NFL and generated national media attention.
- The centerpiece of the effort was an Op-Ed from NFL’s EVP of Football Operations, Troy Vincent, which helped set the tone for the effort, which launched on National Coming Out Day.
- We created a powerful PSA with NFL players such as Rob Gronkowski that reinforced the NFL’s alliance with the Trevor Project and strengthened long-term partnership discussions with GLAAD.
- We also launched NFL.com/Pride, and there was a host of content/coverage on owned and operated channels and in earned media.
- The campaign spurred a colleague to come out publicly on NFL.com at a time, and in an environment, that was safe and welcoming.
- I brought together multiple disciplines for the project such as Marketing, IT, Digital, Social, NFL Network, DE&I/HR, CSR, Communications, and the NFL Pride Employee Resource Group.
- A host of C-Suite execs embraced the effort.
- It was an enterprise-wide, people-first campaign aligned with the NFL’s core values of respect, integrity, responsibility to team and resiliency.
- It helped fill a gap in engagement and communication with a diverse group of stakeholders by delivering a compelling message backed up by tangible activity as well as the support and power of the NFL, its clubs, and the player community.
Communications can and should play a role in “doing the right thing,” which has a positive impact on a business and its community of stakeholders.