Ukeru Systems – Marketing Case Study

Located in Winchester, Virginia, Ukeru Systems is a division of Grafton Integrated Health Network. Grafton is a behavioral health company that provides a variety of services for children, adolescents, and adults with complex behavioral health challenges. In 2004, Grafton’s leaders launched an initiative to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion, while not compromising staff or client safety. Through this initiative, Ukeru, a restraint- free crisis intervention system, was born.

Since its inception, Ukeru has successfully helped Grafton eliminate the use of seclusion for over a decade, reduced the use of restraint by 99.6% and recouped over $27 million due to reducing client-induced staff injuries, workers’ compensation premiums, lost time, and turnover.

Externally, Ukeru is now being used by over 450 schools/organizations across North America and New Zealand. They work tirelessly in every aspect of their business, from training to marketing, to wholeheartedly embrace their philosophy of Comfort Vs. Control. “We want to treat everyone with kindness and respect. From our staff to the individuals we serve,” says Mckenna Junkin, Outreach & Marketing Specialist.

Junkin has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media Arts and worked throughout college as an Autism Aide. Dori Sanders, who serves as the Marketing Ambassador, holds a Master’s in Business Administration. The two have become a dynamic marketing duo for the company. Their education and experiences have certainly qualified and shaped them in their careers and continue to influence the passion they bring to their work with Ukeru. In recent years, the company has begun to transition to focus heavily on employing the Ukeru training program outside of Grafton’s walls.

When Sanders and Junkin became more involved with expanding the program to help other organizations, the team discussed contracting out for some of their marketing needs. Junkin, who had seen Social Connection’s work on social media, recommended the company.

“I will never be able to repay Mckenna for that recommendation. It was the best thing that has happened to Ukeru. He (Moises Cardenas, Owner) has changed the game for us. From our first lunch meeting, you could just tell he’s a genuine person. From the very beginning, I knew this was ‘the’ guy. And, he has just really lived up to it,” Sanders shares.

They were planning to meet with a few other agencies, but after their meeting with Moises Cardenas, Social Connection’s owner, they immediately made their decision to trust in him and his skills.

Social Connection Marketing built Ukeru a customized marketing plan tailored to their individual needs, offering them videography, photography, animated content and editing, promotional advertisements, SEO configuration, quarterly metrics reports, case study support, website design and support, updated newsletters and print material creation/editing, and branding support.

One of Ukeru’s favorite services is the animated video option. They enjoy the innovativeness and how quickly they can engage their target audience.

“He can take a challenging topic and make it easy and exciting to learn about,” articulates Sanders.

Another exciting marketing tool that Social Connection has introduced to Ukeru is Customer Spotlights. Sanders comments,

“He’s been able to capture how our customers feel about us. And it’s been amazing.”

One of their favorite projects that Social Connection has been involved with is their Every School Campaign, an initiative that aims to bring awareness to Ukeru’s work in school settings. Social Connection worked meticulously to bring the project to life.

“We did video interviews with school staff members and administration about their experience using Ukeru. That was an amazing project,” says Sanders. 

One attribute the marketing pair appreciates is how the Social Connection team is always coming up with new ideas to help grow Ukeru and their willingness to consult on large projects. Junkin notes,

“We truly learn from him (Cardenas), he teaches us in the process.”

Since working with Social Connection Marketing, the company’s reach has increased significantly. Sanders shares,

“Our brand has grown, and our reach has expanded. It has been even more than we could have hoped for.”

Their content is consistently updated to provide maximum brand attraction.

“We appreciate Moy’s efforts to transform our materials. He elevated our materials- giving them a fresh and exciting look.” Junkin expresses.

What separates Social Connection from other firms is the people behind the brand and their willingness to help with any project, large or small. Sanders enthuses,

“Moises really cares about who he works with. And he will make it happen, whether it’s for the company or for your family. He is our partner, and it is wonderful.”

Social Connection is more than a marketing company; aiming to serve not only clients, but also local causes.

“It speaks volumes the way Moises inserts himself into the community, he does so much, and it is truly amazing to see,” observes Junkin.

Ukeru is the only restraint- free crisis intervention program on the market that teaches a physical alternative to restrictive practices. Their work helps children, families, and communities abound and Social Connection Marketing is proud to be a partner in their progress. You can view some of their customer success stories on their website here.

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