From May 9-11, One Small Step (OSS) team members visited Wichita, Kansas where — among other activities — they met with partners and local community advisors, hosted a focus group of OSS participants, and gave key local supporters a sneak preview of the new OSS advertising campaign that launched in all three Anchor Communities this week, including Wichita.

Research conducted on behalf of StoryCorps indicates that Wichitans who are aware of OSS — those who have seen our campaigns and messages or who have participated — report being more confident that civil cross-partisan conversation is possible and they are more hopeful about the future than those who are not aware. Additional research shows that after listening to a One Small Step conversation, people are 50% more likely to engage with someone from the “other side.” The advertising campaign will feature video spots that will run on connected TV and YouTube, as well as digital, social media, and print ads that will run in the major local daily newspapers.

The campaign features real OSS participants talking about why they took “one small step” and what participating in the program has meant for them. Leigh Okies with I/D.W, a creative agency whose studio designed the campaign, shared more about the strategy and philosophy behind it.

“We set out to feature real people, not actors, in each of the Anchor Communities, and asked one question, ‘What did you take One Small Step for?’ It’s a simple framework that helps elicit an authentic answer,” Leigh said. “While we want people to apply to be matched for a conversation, we also know from the research and principles of contact theory that simply seeing others taking part in conversations can shift our perceptions of what’s possible.” The campaign also features snippets of real OSS conversations and video testimonials. “All the participants we reached out to were so passionate about One Small Step and eager to be a part of the campaign,” she said. “Sharing their experiences helps others see that they can have these kinds of conversations too and it doesn’t need to be too hard or scary.”

“Anchor Communities have developed a lot of local pride in their OSS program,” she continued. “To see leaders in these cities — and the communities overall — actively participate in OSS is a great way to see how this effort can be scaled more broadly.”