Michaela Thayer

Account Supervisor
Washington DC
Posts: 21

Michaela is a former account supervisor at Ogilvy PR.

Ogilvy Washington Welcomes OgilvyConnect 2012 Participants

Sep 11

On Thursday, September 13, Ogilvy Washington will launch its second year of OgilvyConnect, a four session communications training program for nonprofits that serve the National Capital Region.  We are delighted to announce and welcome the following organizations as participants:

ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation that seeks to raise the level and effectiveness of community engagement and giving.
AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, an organization that aspires to close the achievement gap before children enter kindergarten.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, a group that helps boys and girls build confidence, develop character, and acquire skills to become productive, civic minded, responsible adults.
Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit that works to give every child in the District of Columbia a solid foundation of family, health, and education.
Doorways for Women and Families, an organization that creates pathways out of domestic violence and homelessness, leading to safe and stable lives.
Family Matters of Greater Washington, a nonprofit devoted to improving individual, family, and community life through professional services and programs for those less fortunate.
Impact Silver Spring, a group committed to building and sustaining community-based networks that support people who are creating social, economic, and civic momentum.
Lydia’s House, an organization that offers transitional housing for abused women and their children.
Metro Teen AIDS, a community health organization dedicated to partnering with young people to end HIV/AIDS.

Through OgilvyConnect, we at Ogilvy Washington aim to help close the gap in social disparities that weigh heavily on our city by providing the participating nonprofits with the communications knowledge, tools, and resources needed to support and advance their missions.

StickK.com: Turning Desires into Actions

Sep 10

Many people desire to be on time, to lose weight, to study hard, to spend more time with family, or to read more books. Rationally, desire should lead to action. But it’s not that simple.

A group of Yale economists has addressed this seemingly simple yet immensely complex phenomenon through online “commitment contracts” on stickK.com. The commitment contract concept is based on two principles of behavioral economics: (1) people don’t always do what they claim they want to do, and (2): incentives get people to do things.

On StickK.com, individuals can register their personal goals and set up “punishments” for themselves if they don’t reach those goals.  People can contractually set aside money that they will lose if their goals are not met. Even stronger of an incentive, users can have the money set aside as punishment go to an “anti-charity,” or a cause that they despise—like a political party that they disagree with—if they don’t meet their goals. For people who would rather be punished by humiliation, they can choose to have their failures sent over email to everyone in their contact lists.

StickK.com is doing well in helping people achieve their goals. For people who use the website to set and achieve weight loss goals, for example, there is a reported 85%-90% achievement rate. SticK.com is a great example of a program where social marketing and behavioral science theory merge and are put into successful practice:

Loss Aversion. StickK.com recognizes that the threat of losing money is much more powerful in motivating people to take action than the incentive of gaining money.

Stages of Change. StickK.com takes a consumer through the first four stages of change with simple clicks of a mouse: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action. The fifth stage of change—maintenance—is up to the consumer.

Theory of Reasoned Action. StickK.com recognizes that attitudes and intentions can lead to behavior change.  Therefore, the website promotes self-efficacy, and consumers obtain a solid understanding of what will or will not happen if their goals are achieved.

Social Learning Theory. Stickk.com has a portion of their home page devoted to “Who’s StickK-ing?” People on the fence about signing up can learn from seeing others define and achieve their goals, making them more likely to engage in similar actions.

So, do we as human beings need a third party to help us define and meet our goals? I don’t think so, but I do think it can help. What are your thoughts?

Join Ogilvy and the Washington Business Journal for “Socially Responsible Behavior Change as a Business Imperative” on April 19

Apr 12

Please join us for an Ogilvy Exchange on Thursday, April 19, 8-9:30 a.m. at our Washington, D.C., office.

How do the components of our personal behavior, such as our attitudes, our motivations, or our abilities drive the purchase of Better-For-You-foods, prompt reduced use of energy, promote adherence to medication regimes and adoption of healthier lifestyles, and more?

And how can companies across a wide range of industries become agents of socially responsible behavior change, building on corporate responsibility commitments to contribute even more so to the well-being of individuals and society?

Join us for a thought-leadership presentation exploring the value and benefits in the emerging area of corporate social marketing, which harnesses proven behavioral science models and theories to advance the twin goals of business success and social good.

Panelists are:

  • Nancy Lee, Consultant, Author and Adjunct Faculty Member, the University of Washington Dan Evans School of Public Affairs, Seattle University’s Institute for Public Service and the University of South Florida’s School of Public Health
  • Michael Sachse, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel, Opower
  • Vidya Plainfield, North America, Senior Category Marketing Manager, Nutricia
  • Tom Beall, Managing Director, Global Social Marketing Practice, Ogilvy Public Relations
  • Robert Terry (Moderator), Managing Editor, Washington Business Journal

Breakfast will be served and space is limited. Confirm your attendance and RSVP to Danae Goldberg at (202) 729-4294.

Ogilvy Washington Takes on CSR Initiative Offering Training to Local Nonprofits

Jun 30

Today, Ogilvy Washington will launch OgilvyConnect, a program to provide communications training to community-based nonprofits serving the National Capital region. Led by rising leaders at Ogilvy Washington, the program’s curriculum will offer communications knowledge, tools, and resources to help these organizations better fulfill their missions.  

Inspired to give back to the DC community, Ogilvy Washington believes that the program will help unite Washington, divided by disparate proportions of wealth and resources.

La Clínica del Pueblo, which provides health services to the DC Latino population regardless of ability to pay, is one of the 21 groups selected to participate in the program. Looking for counsel on how to engage individuals and businesses who can impact their success, Viviana Knowles, Chief Development Officer for the organization, says, “We are thrilled to be part of this innovative program and look forward to implementing what we learn into our communications planning.”

Ogilvy invited select groups to apply earlier this year, and received an overwhelming response. After careful consideration, 21 nonprofit groups were been selected to attend OgilvyConnect’s 2011 inaugural program, including groups that focus on youth engagement, women’s services, hunger, environmental protection, and minority empowerment.

Based upon research conducted with membership and grantee organizations that serve these nonprofit groups as well as others—Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Venture Philanthropy Partners, and Nonprofit Roundtable—the founders of OgilvyConnect have developed a curriculum that will be delivered in four sessions annually.  It will guide groups through key steps in building successful communications programs. The program will feature presentations from experts in and outside the office and will provide an opportunity for nonprofits to learn from the day-to-day work of Ogilvy.

“Since opening our doors 30 years ago, Ogilvy Washington has done pro bono work for local nonprofits. However, we’ve never had a program that trains nonprofit leaders in communications for sustained success,” said Robert Mathias, president of Ogilvy Washington.    “OgilvyConnect allows the local community-based nonprofit groups participating to take what they learn here and apply it for years to come.”

The Donate Movement: Successful Fusing of Nonprofit, Corporate, and Consumer Interests

Jun 03

Let’s break nonprofit, corporate, and consumer interests down into simple terms.  A nonprofit wants to further its mission to help people and/or the planet. A corporation wants to do good for its shareholders, its employees, and its customers. A consumer wants to live well at a fair price and feel good about purchasing decisions.  Do these sound like conflicting interests?  The recent collaboration between Goodwill Industries® and Gap Inc. shows us that the merging of these interests is very possible indeed, and has the potential to benefit all parties involved.

In 2010, Goodwill launched the Donate Movement, a public awareness initiative that underlines the importance of donating—an act that has the power to make differences in people’s lives, strengthen communities, and create healthier environments. Over the past year, a number of brands—like Family Circle, Hanes, Levi’s, and Planet Green—have joined the movement, engaging their customers in various ways to support Goodwill and its mission. Most recently, Gap, Inc. teamed up with Goodwill, resulting in an extremely visible and influential engagement of corporate, nonprofit, and consumer sectors.

From May 19-29, 2011, all Gap stores in the United States and Canada accepted clothing donations in support of the Donate Movement. Gap customers who brought in clothes to support the Donate Movement received 30 percent off of their Gap purchases, including items from babyGap, GapKids and GapBody (Consumer Interest √ ). Loyalty to the Gap brand increased with current customers, and Gap introduced their brand to new customers in a positive light, generating sales, name recognition, and increasing customer allegiance (Corporate Interest ).  The donated clothing brought in to Goodwill through Gap’s involvement will now be sold in Goodwill’s 2,500+ stores, and 84% of revenue generated from the donated clothing will be used to fund job training programs and employment placement services for underserved populations (Nonprofit Interest ).

Simple, yet tremendously effective. Collaboration doesn’t need to be complicated to work, and increasing parties involved increases impact.  On top of this, as budgets are being cut across all sectors, it’s more cost effective to work together. Corporate social responsibility is not only vital to the communities we live in. It’s also becoming a necessary part of corporate culture, brand loyalty, and even the bottom line.

Want more?  See Sarah Temple’s recent post on corporate social responsibility value here, and be sure to follow Jennifer Wayman’s posts here on the Social Marketing exCHANGE revealing results of a recent study conducted by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in partnership with the Center for Social Impact Communication at Georgetown University: Dynamics of Cause Engagement.

Happiness, Harmony, and World Citizenship

May 19

Getting screened for cancer.

Putting on a seatbelt.

Turning off the lights.


Quitting smoking.

Wearing sunscreen.

Social marketers have increased the rates of all of the above behaviors throughout the last half century and have, in turn, affected the health and well-being of men and women all over the world. We have academic theory to back our behavior change philosophies, and we have practice that has proven our tactics. Social marketing has come a long way in the fields of health and safety, and it now appears to be broadening with more and more initiatives positively affecting the environment and fiscal responsibility. Imagine, though, a social marketing program aimed at making people happier, more harmonious, and better world citizens. Could it be possible? Sounds a little dreamy at first, but one man has devoted much of his life to helping people around the world grasp these principles.

About a month ago, I attended a press conference at Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland at which the Dalai Lama spoke about hard work, self-confidence, and inner peace. I hadn’t been invited to the press conference, but by some miracle of pure chance, I was welcomed with open arms. The Dalai Lama was in Dublin for the Possibilities Civic Summit which was organized to empower people in the face of social, environmental, and economic challenges. His words were deeply evocative, and while I can’t say for sure, I would wager that every single person in the room was sincerely affected by his profound statements on the promotion of basic human values, human happiness, and the fostering of harmony. His statements encouraged wellness and addressed attitudes to bring about peace on individual and global scales:

Happiness. “The ultimate source of happiness and successful life is within ourselves,” the Dalai Lama said. He went on to discuss how inner value brings inner strength and how happiness can only be achieved within oneself, with peace of mind, an open mind, and a holistic view of the world.

Harmony. The Dalai Lama spoke about harmony with one another as being necessary for individual and global peace.  He said, “Friendship between believer and non-believer is possible.” He noted that we must learn from each other to achieve worldwide brotherhood and sisterhood.

Mental Health. Discussing reasons for poor mental health, the Dalai Lama said, “Mental illness comes from people looking outside.” He talked about how if people focus on their inner selves, rather than on superficial matters, people can open themselves to great mental wellbeing. “Love, affection, compassion—these are the things that reduce anxiety and allow friendship. Openness, honesty, truth—elements of trust and important for mental health.”

Prosperity. “Billionaires, they are, I notice, very unhappy people. Very powerful, but deep inside, too much anxiety, too much stress,” the Dalai Lama said. He went on to discuss how the recent global recession is the result of shortsightedness and greed. He spoke passionately about how prosperity comes from hard work and determination, and how it cannot be measured in money.

Responsibility. The Dalai Lama announced his plans to step down as Tibet’s head of state and make way for his elected replacement, in order to advance democracy. He spoke about how in a democracy, individuals need to be accountable for their behaviors and actions: “Everyone has self-duty and responsibility.” He also talked about how human affection and solid values are harmonious with personal responsibility.

Ethics. One does not need to be religious to have ethics, the Dalai Lama discussed. Secular ethics are based off common sense and logic, and these ethics demand respect and compassion for other human beings.  The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of secular ethics to all in attendance, and spoke about the positive impacts of compassion for individuals and those around them.

As the Dalai Lama spoke about the ideology outlined above, he paused often to smile and laugh, both of which activities were truly infectious.  Wearing his red and saffron robes, he reached another yet another audience with his lessons—another audience to spread his teachings.  In listening to the Dalai Lama, I really appreciated hearing things that I already believed in, reaffirming the values that have been engrained in me since childhood. His words have since pushed me to take more time for myself during the day and not “sweat the small stuff.” Going back to the question posed at the beginning of this post, imagine a social marketing program aimed at making people happier, more harmonious, and better world citizens. Could it be possible? Do you think it would ever be funded? Could nonprofits team up and take this on? Or maybe a corporation as a part of their social responsibility initiatives? One man is making a big difference in the lives of people he meets. Imagine what we could do together.

Counting Down to WSMC: Eight Days!

Apr 03

Only eight more days until the World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference! Over the past few weeks, our team has posted on a variety of blogs about what to expect. Check out these posts:

Engage! Empower! Inspire! on Ogilvy’s Social Marketing ExCHANGE;

Follow the 2011 World Social Marketing Conference with Ogilvy on Ogilvy’s Fresh Influence blog; and

Women, Families, and the World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference on Ogilvy’s WomenOlogy blog.

We’ll be live-tweeting and blogging from some of the most compelling sessions at the conference.  To join the conversation on April 11 and 12 on Twitter, use the hashtag #ogilvywsm. To follow what is happening throughout the conference, stay tuned here on the Social Marketing ExCHANGE, and be sure to look out for our posts detailing insights and takeaways following the conference on Ogilvy’s Social Marketing ExCHANGE, WomenOlogy , and  Fresh Influence blogs.

To preview a bit about Ogilvy’s presentations, Meg Bartow will be posting here later this week!

Engage! Empower! Inspire!

Mar 10

The 2nd World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference is just one month from tomorrow in Dublin, Ireland. Following the hugely successful first World Conference in Brighton, UK in 2008, the 2nd World conference will bring together those interested in applying strategic communications, marketing , and behavior change methodology to solve key social challenges.

In bringing together the world’s thought leaders in social marketing, behavioral scientists, community activists, and practitioners all under one roof, the conference will allow attendees to share best practices, tested theories, and advocacy initiatives with one another.

Based on the program, which is posted on the World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference Web site, there will be a number of sessions focused on targeting hard-to-reach populations, assorted population sub-groups, and various social marketing theories. Social marketing “hot topics” will include public health messaging on cancer, heart disease, and obesity; environmental citizenship, climate change, and community engagement; safe sex, promotion of contraceptives, and prevention of STD and HIV transmittal; reducing alcohol, smoking, and gambling-related harm; and reducing stigmas for mental illness.

Ogilvy is the conference’s title sponsor, and we will be sure to fill our readers in on happenings, insights, and lessons-learned! If you are interested in attending the conference, there is still space available. Click here to register.

Resolutions and Breaking Bad Habits

Jan 05

Are you finding it difficult to keep your New Year’s resolution that you made only 5 days ago? An interesting article was published in the Washington Post yesterday discussing New Year’s resolutions and the role of the brain in “sabotaging” success.


The reason we find it hard to keep resolutions that require us to break habits is because habits literally become wired into our brains. And bad habits are the hardest to break, according to the article, because your body is required to fight an immediate reward which may feel unnatural at first. 

I love the example featured by the Washington Post : “It’s the fudge vs. broccoli choice: Chocolate’s yum factor tends to beat out the knowledge that sticking with veggies brings an eventual reward of lost pounds.”

Luckily, understanding the whys and hows of the brain’s reward system can help us as individuals keep our own resolutions, and importantly, this understanding can help us as social marketers better understand our audiences and help them with meaningful healthy decision making.

Bad habits like smoking or eating excessive amounts of sweets form because dopamine (a pleasure chemical, if you will) is immediately released in the brain upon consumption. Dopamine conditions the brain to want reward again and again – reinforcing the connection each time, and thus, forming a habit.

What we need to recognize is that there are ways to break bad habits that can also re-wire our audience’s brains. (Sounds weird, right?) If our audiences could understand these principals through social marketing programs, we would be a much healthier nation:

Exercise. Exercise raises dopamine levels, so eventually those who try it out could recognize the feel-good-ness of activity, and this could turn into a great habit.

Rewards. Rewards can be powerful.  Personal rewards should be encouraged in public health campaigns. The benefits of living healthy will come in time, but after milestones, like after the first month of exercising regularly,  people should reward themselves in some way, and they’ll be more likely to continue their healthy behavior.

No Stress. Stress can activate bad-habit activity in the brain.

Stopping Rituals. Bad habits become stronger when they’re repeated.

Happy New Year everyone!

NBC’s Green Week!

Nov 15

Did you watch NBC’s “TODAY” this morning? Like every other morning, I did! And after much anticipation, I was so pleased to see their new green-themed “The More You Know” PSAs, which encourage viewers to adopt sustainable habits.

The PSAs are ingredients of NBC Universal’s annual Green Week, November 14-21, and part of NBC’s ongoing environmental initiative, “Green is Universal.” All this week, NBC is using its numerous media and entertainment platforms to educate the public on the environment, and importantly, show Americans what they can do to make our world a better place.

NBC Nightly News’ Environmental Correspondent Anne Thompson is hosting environmental segments throughout the week, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” is showcasing a special five-day series to educate America on dependence on foreign oil and alternative sources of energy.  NBC’s “TODAY” is highlighting green cleaning products and showing consumers how to reduce home energy and water use.

I’m really looking forward to one very unique Green  Week segment on Friday, when NBC News’ Brian Williams will conduct an exclusive one-on-one interview with Prince Charles, who will be talking about his efforts to prevent global warming and why he wants to be “the defender of nature.” The interview will lead into the television premiere of “Harmony,” Prince Charles’ new environmental documentary.

To reach local audiences all over the United States, local NBC affiliates are showcasing communities that have gone green; schools that have made the extra effort to incorporate sustainability into curriculum; and exemplary individuals around local communities who are committed to protecting the environment, and who are showing others how to do the same.

Very visible and action-oriented programming.  WAY TO GO [GREEN] NBC!