A New Civic Hero – The Role and Branding of the State Chief Information Officer

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Emily Lane

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The Challenge
Information technology in state government is far more than boxes and wires; it is the fabric of government and very often the face of government. The work that supports, connects, secures and engages is led by state chief information officers (CIO), yet this role is often misconceived as solely a technologist rather than policy leader and strategist.

Promoting, advancing and reinforcing the state CIO as a key state leader is a primary goal for the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).  NASCIO also seeks to share stories of IT innovations that support, enable and transform the business of state government.

The Action
#StateCIOsRock; the NASCIO campaign State CIOs Make a Difference spreads that message to key stakeholders. Framed with a cheeky hashtag, the campaign tells the stories of CIOs and their states – how they are protecting and engaging citizens, how they are supporting processes to increase efficiencies, how they are the conduit that allows state agencies to work together and solve critical problems – how they are making a difference through information technology.  

Participating states (six each year) produce brief videos to tell their unique story of CIO leadership and impactful information technology initiatives. The video and accompanying written narrative are housed on a micro-site; facts and stats from the stories are shared via social media and drive traffic back to the site. The campaign kicks off with a teaser week and each participating state is featured for two weeks. The campaign was launched in 2015, continued in 2016, and will conclude in 2017. 

NASCIO’s strong twitter following helps spread the message virally among members, influencers and traditional media outlets.

The Result
Over the duration of the 2016 campaign, 275 thousand individuals were reached and 938 thousand social impressions made.

The campaign made the leap from social media to mainstream media; an industry publication reached out to NASCIO and participating states for an article on the campaign and a private sector partner asked NASCIO to contribute to their government blog.

The associated hashtag is now used in conjunction with CIO success stories outside of the campaign, showing the message has been heard and will invested stakeholders will continue to carry the torch.

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