Prosper for Purpose Leads Brand and Market Expansion Services for Thrive Peer Recovery Services 

New branding, along with internal and external communications strategies implemented to promote Thrive’s unique market position and elevate key employees as thought leaders within the industry.

Company Bio:

Thrive Peer Support is a leading provider of behavioral health services and substance use treatment in Ohio. Thrive connects those struggling with mental health issues and/or substance use with certified Peer Recovery Supporters, and uses evidence-based practices and individualized treatment plans to help people achieve long-term recovery and independence. 


Executive Summary

Thrive Peer Recovery Services provides peer support services for substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health diagnoses in Ohio. Due to a lack of understanding regarding the peer support industry and the type of services they provide, Thrive was looking to refine its brand identity, increase brand awareness and expand the market they serve.

To do this, Thrive chose to work with Prosper for Purpose to create a solid brand foundation (including both external and internal communications) that clearly defines the company’s unique market position, as well as sound marketing strategies for implementation.

The concept of peer support — a voluntary, community-based recovery service for individuals struggling with mental illness and/or substance use — can be traced back to the late 1970s. Today, peer support specialists are recognized as essential to long-term recovery and sobriety.

Peer support specialists extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting into the everyday environment, giving clients the individual attention that reduces the likelihood of relapse and enables successful, sustained recovery. Amongst other things, peer support services have been shown to reduce re-hospitalization rates, lower overall costs of behavioral health services and increase quality of life outcomes. 


Hiring and retaining peer support professionals proves difficult. Community-based services work has a wider scope of care than traditional therapy in a clinic, ranging from engaging people who may not want treatment, teaching daily living skills, addressing social determinants, and teaching illness self-management strategies. Peer support work is often obstructed by fragmented systems and extremely low Medicaid reimbursement making peer support work low-paid. Research shows higher rates of burnout for community-based mental health professionals compared to those who are clinic-based.

At the same time, mental health and addiction recovery services are needed now more than ever. Financial uncertainty due to layoffs and company closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plus the fear and sadness of losing loved ones, is taking a toll on Americans. According to the American Psychiatric Association, more than one-third of Americans (36%) say that COVID-19 is having a serious impact on their mental health.

Even before the coronavirus crisis, Ohioians have been struggling with drug abuse. The state is among the nation’s leaders in opioid-related overdose deaths and the state is struggling to meet treatment needs, especially in rural areas hit hardest by the drug crisis.

How We Helped

Prosper for Purpose began with a comprehensive communications audit that included reviews of the Thrive website, social media accounts, marketing collateral (welcome packet, flyers, postcards, etc.), brand assets (logos, fonts, visuals, etc.), and internal and external communications processes and samples (employee emails, press releases, and more). This helped us better understand Thrive’s position in the market and how to strengthen it.

We conducted industry research and competitor analysis. Next, we completed our discovery workshop and planning tool, the Prosper Playbook, through interactive work sessions. The Prosper Playbook is a customized plan that prescribes specific strategies and tactics to help an organization achieve measurable objectives and overarching goals.

We then performed secondary research and worked to identify and articulate the Thrive brand voice, which in turn, informed overarching key messages. After the foundational work was established, we began tactical execution, collaborating with the Thrive team to determine priorities and responsibilities. Throughout the year, we focused on numerous business needs and objectives by utilizing branded strategies and marketing best practices.

Internal and external communications tactics that were implemented include:

  • Website: We performed a comprehensive website audit and advised Thrive on important updates, including SEO keywords, functionality, and design for clarity, brand consistency and user experience. Next, we rewrote the website copy page by page for legibility and SEO. Then, we worked directly with Thrive’s website development team to implement the approved changes, determine project management responsibilities, troubleshoot problems and supply necessary assets (e.g., stock images, a horizontal logo, etc.).

  • Social Media: To help Thrive improve its social media presence, we conducted a social media audit to assess strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and inform a social media strategy that aligns with Thrive’s business objectives and goals. The audit provided general suggestions and recommendations for optimizing each account’s profile. Next, we developed a comprehensive social media strategy including best practices, content themes and effective hashtags. Finally, we created branded sample posts and custom-designed image templates for Thrive’s in-house social media manager to use as needed.

  • Media Outreach: We drafted a press release to announce the launch of a partnership with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Once the release was approved, we created multiple media lists with aligned publications to target with distribution (healthcare associations, addiction reporters, and mental health media outlets). Through our distribution platform, Cision, we sent the press release to more than 250 contacts. After initial outreach, we also conducted relationship-building efforts by following up and pitching individual journalists.

  • Speaking Engagements & Award Opportunities: We researched current and future opportunities for Thrive and CEO Brian Bailys to gain exposure through various speaking engagements. We created a shared spreadsheet from which all team members can view application deadlines, status updates, notes, etc.

  • Marketing Collateral: As needed and when necessary, we gave feedback on existing collateral, wrote and designed requested pieces, and identified new opportunities for marketing materials.

  • Branded Content: We brainstormed various blog topics related to mental health and substance use disorders, researched approved content, wrote long-form blog posts and created custom-made images for Thrive to publish on its website.

  • Process Development: As part of our internal communications work, we created new systems and processes to help elevate employee engagement and streamline employee efforts. Additionally, we introduced new processes for marketing efforts, including the creation of editorial calendars for the blog and a social media schedule to ensure the successful implementation of branded strategies.

Results and Future Plans

Clear, compelling and consistent brand messaging allowed Thrive’s prospects, leads, potential employees and the press to more easily understand the peer support industry and what services and benefits Thrive provides. This is important given the lack of understanding of peer counseling.

Improving owned media assets gave Thrive the ability to utilize its revised brand messages and share meaningful stories that help build a positive reputation. Leveraging owned media also helped Thrive build organic connections with stakeholders, engage customers and deliver a greater ROI on marketing investments. These efforts combined with increased earned media provided Thrive with a larger share of voice.

Finally, improving processes, like internal communications and employee onboarding, helped Thrive streamline tasks which eliminated errors, and improved employee efficiency and satisfaction.

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