Edward-Elmhurst / The Veteran

Communicating vision and strategy to 8,500 employees

Edward-Elmhurst Health rolled out a new strategy to 8,500 employees with this video anchoring the campaign. The video helped Edward-Elmhurst gain mass adoption of the initiative among staff spread across 70+ locations.

What’s interesting about the video is it has no voiceover explaining what the strategy is. It has no animated infographics. No interviews with CEOs. The video doesn’t scold employees for their current behavior, it simply demonstrates what the vision is going forward. The video is a glimpse into the future of what things could look like when the strategy is implemented.

It has been effective. This video set the stage for our entire strategic plan. There have been so many people in the organization that have been touched by it. It helped capture their attention and understand what we were trying to do.

Sheri Scott
Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Edward-Elmhurst Health

The essence of the strategy in story form

Edward-Elmhurst Health was rolling out a patient experience initiative to its 8,500 employees. They wanted to inspire their employees to care about patients having a nice stay at the hospital. Many brands would stop here and film executives talking about how important the patient experience is, but we knew this would be ineffective because internal audiences are immune to executive talking heads. Instead, we wanted to develop a story that illustrated what caring about the patient experience looks like. We figured if we illustrated it being done right, there would be no need for lists or systems to memorize. The emotional connection would be made and then the live presentations following the video would fill employees in on the “whats” and “hows.”

Since the best ideas come from real life, we asked our client if they had any stories of employees doing the patient experience right. Turns out, they did!

A Korean War veteran was scheduled to receive a medal but got sick on the day he was going to get it. Because of his hospital stay, he missed his ceremony. But the EEH team treating him got wind of this and arranged for the medal ceremony to take place at the hospital.

Using this story for inspiration, we started writing.

“The Veteran” is a short film that tells the true story of a Korean War veteran who was scheduled to receive a medal but got sick on the day he was going to get it. Because of his subsequent hospital stay at Edward-Elmhurst, he missed his ceremony. The hospital employees treating him got wind of this and arranged for the medal ceremony to take place at the hospital.

I don’t know about you, but that’s an amazing patient experience.

Using that story as inspiration, we wrote a script, hired actors, and used some of the actual people from the event in our video. By telling this little story, we explained the bigger issue around the patient experience and why employees should buy in to the health system’s new strategy.

Production and using limitations as advantages

We usually like to rent locations and cast professional actors but our client’s budget wouldn’t allow for that. So we cast a professional lead actor (the main character) and had real hospital staff play everyone else. Looking back, our limited budget was a blessing in disguise. The hospital staff in the video were actually involved in the real-life story. This was a great way to recognize them. Side note: this is always the case with internal videos. Make your people the star and they will do more to promote your video than you could ever do!

So why didn’t we use the real veteran in the film to honor him? We chose to use a professional because real people can only do so much “acting” before it looks weird. Our script called for the veteran to cry at the ceremony so we knew that was outside the bounds of what a real person could do authentically.

Rolling out a new strategy with town halls

While we’re patting our backs for the concept, we have to acknowledge that our client took a very bold and brave creative risk with this project. So much of what makes a project successful is bravery on the client side. It’s scary to do something different or new. But for Edward-Elmhurst, the risk paid off.

Edward-Elmhurst Health put on several town halls across their system to roll out their patients experience initiative. This video served as each meeting’s showpiece. It was used to get everyone in the audience thinking about why they got into medicine in the first place. With the audience “anchored,” the executives could fill everyone in on what the initiative was all about. In a matter of two weeks, the video was viewed by all 8,500 EEH employees and the strategy is now entering its second year of success.

I can always tell when we successfully move people. Healthcare people are emotional folks. When you move them, they cry. I always love sitting at the back of the room and I get to hear people sniffling. They did that during this video.

Sheri Scott
Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Edward-Elmhurst Health

How we did it


We research your goals, your marketplace, your competition and your customers. From the insight gained here, we develop a winning strategy for your video campaign.


Your video needs to entertain and provide value for your most valuable customer. It’s here we synthesize your messaging with our strategy into an evocative video that works.


In addition to our strategic and creative chops, we bring deep production expertise to the table. This makes the work better and the process more seamless for our clients.


Get strategies for measuring and optimizing your video’s impact. We’ll give you a distribution plan, SEO-friendly text, and other tips to get in front of your target audience.

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