Best Use of Media Relations
The judges were really impressed with how Anchor Trust and Stand Agency identified an issue that’s so important in society but which nobody had spotted. From that issue, they created a campaign that resonated not just across the media, but also with retailers, politicians and society at large. They galvanised a coalition of those willing to support their campaign which has laid the foundation for real change. They used insight from Anchor residents, economic data and smart media targeting to tell a compelling and emotive story that helped them not just meet their campaign goals, but create a legacy on which they and others can build.
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Brief and objectives:
The care home and retirement housing market is highly competitive and faces extensive negative media coverage. Stand Agency was briefed to develop a campaign that helped Anchor differentiate from competitors. To do this we needed to show Anchor champions the things that matter to older people – positioning it as provider of choice.
- Create awareness of a little-understood issue facing older people in the UK and demonstrate the value of older people by highlighting the economic opportunity for the high street (target: reach of 20,000,000; and social reach of 500,000)
- Encourage politicians and retailers to take notice and action (target: support from 5 MPs, 10 partners and 1 national retailer)
- Build awareness of Anchor as a provider of care and housing to older people (target: increase brand awareness by 1%; double no. enquiries received during campaign period).
Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:
Anchor’s customer engagement identified lack of seating as a key factor deterring older people from getting out, increasing loneliness and isolation – and that it was getting worse. A literature review found a lack of research in this area, particularly on the opportunity lost to retailers.
Insight gleaned from this phase helped shape SU4SD, with the focus on the provision of free seating. Whilst other factors inhibit access to high streets, we knew from experience that giving media one key issue to focus on would grab attention and provide a platform to talk about wider issues.
The following target audiences were identified:
- UK older people and their relatives (45+)
- MPs and other potentially-supportive organisations.
Strategy and tactics, including the types and variety of media utilised, creativity and innovation:
Based on our insight we set out a three-stage strategy:
- Awareness – most people didn’t understand how important seating is for older people. Our first step was to highlight the problem
- Understanding – so retailers and politicians know why it matters and what needs to be done
- Action – from decision-makers and influencers (including the public) to achieve change.
Our campaign ask was to maintain or increase available seating.
Linking back to campaign objectives, targets and target audience we focussed on traditional, online and social media (Facebook and Twitter) for this campaign, amplified through Anchor’s own channels as well as those of partners and MPs.
The creative inspiration for the campaign came from older people themselves, and Anchor’s positioning as champions of them. Hence the name ‘Standing Up 4 Sitting Down’.
Collateral helped convey the issue faced by older people in a moving way, incentivising decision-makers to act, and providing angles we knew would appeal to different media:
- Independent survey of 1,007 older people (aged 70+) found more than two-thirds (69%) of older people think seating in shopping areas is declining over time, 78% thought their town was not suited to their needs and one in five go out to shop less due to the lack of seating
- Our panel of experts made recommendations for change, including Living Streets; RTPI; WHO; United For All Ages; and older people themselves
- International Longevity Centre investigated the impact on the economy of inaccessible retail and leisure space. They found it costs shops and businesses up to £3.8bn each year
- Compelling case study – 93-year-old Nona became the ‘face’ of the campaign and brought the issue to life with a video
- Like-minded partners backed our call for change.
With a solid media package, we defined two strong angles; the importance of the Grey Pound and the knock-on effect on loneliness amongst older people.
Implementation of tactics:
Campaign preparation took two months in total. Implementation of the campaign was in four key stages over one month:
- Pre-briefings – teed up key media contacts and shaped the story through feedback. Briefed MPs to create social media activity which built momentum with traditional media too
- Warm up – to targeted contacts in the fortnight before the launch
- Launch – went live with a carefully planned sell-in, further supported with targeted social activity
- Fulfilling opps – over the next 48 hours, we ensured every opportunity was fulfilled, whether national or local.
We carefully timed the story to land a week and a half after the US elections had taken place.
Measurement and evaluation:
Launch exceeded expectations with scope for future activity.
Create awareness of a little-understood issue facing older people in the UK and demonstrate the value of older people (target of OTS/H of 20,000,000; and social reach of 500,000):
- BBC Breakfast and BBC News launched the story with live interviews and pre-recorded packages with Anchor’s Chief Executive shown 18 times in one day
- Follow up in print and online with the Sunday Telegraph
- 15 other national news outlets covered the story over two days, including Times, Mail, Mail Online and Express
- A BBC Facebook package watched more than 44k times, receiving 200 interactions
- 206 hits with regional outlets (163 broadcast, 31 online, 12 print). Many local BBC stations held phone-ins
- Social engagement on Facebook and Twitter increased 25x on previous month
- Almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults 45+ had heard of the campaign (Censuswide: 1,007 respondents 45+). A third (32%) said they knew its name
- A total of 249 pieces of coverage secured, with reach of 209,149,320
- Social reach of 2 million.
Encourage politicians and retailers to take notice and action (target of support from 5 MPs, 10 partner organisations and 1 national retailer):
- 16 cross-party politicians showed support with photo calls and social media; including George Osborne, David Mowatt and Angela Eagle
- 20 organisations supported, including Royal Air Forces Association, Grandparents Plus, Living Streets and Care England
- Morrisons and other retailers have committed to maintaining 2,500 chairs across the country. This number continues to rise
- Further support given from Debenhams, branches of Tesco, Post Office and independent retailers. With positive conversations held with others including Virgin Money and IKEA.
Build awareness of Anchor as a provider of care and housing to older people (target of increase in brand awareness of 1%; double the number of enquiries received during campaign period):
- All coverage identified Anchor as the campaign instigator and described its role
- A 20% increase in Google searches for ‘anchor care’ during launch week, compared with the previous week
- Registrations to Anchor’s newsletter increased 350%, compared with the same period the previous year
- Prompted brand awareness was 17% when we surveyed our target audience of those aged 45+ in August 2016. After the campaign (Censuswide, as above), it had risen by 2%
- New enquiries to Anchor’s customer line increased 550%, compared with the same period the previous year.
Budget and cost effectiveness:
The cost of coverage generated per opportunity to see / hear is £0.0002.
Anchor’s CEO cited SU4SD as the organisation’s ‘highest quality and best value for money communications campaign’.