Knowing where you are is a good place to start. It is grounding and makes us consider the most fundamental points driving a communications project – its purpose – what you want to achieve, and why.
Having a clear understanding of the shared purpose between, a business or organisation, and their customer or user, is critical for realising how to enable that conversation. It forces us to focus our bandwidth – to make sure that we are talking about the right things, to the right people, in the best way.
To do that well means knowing your users and delivering communications through the channels that fit into their lives. This is content strategy and it makes the difference that gets you from just delivering more to starting better conversations and making real connections.
We use these content strategies to assess when content is too broad or narrow, not high enough quality or too specialised. We apply that to writing, information, imagery, any piece of content that helps us reduce friction or make a stronger connection.
A good example of this is how we helped the RSPB build a digital platform to support their Vote for Bob campaign. We can look at this project through our three main focuses; purpose, user and channel.
Purpose – what are we doing and why?
The RSPB are the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, they had recently broadened their remit from birds to all of the natural environment and wanted to find a way to engage their significant support to influence government policy. By making a ‘Vote for Bob’ (a cute squirrel) supporters could register their support of nature and, in the run up to the election, ask their local politicians to do the same.
User – get up close and personal.
We knew that RSPB has a motivated and vibrant support so we wanted to allow them to share their own content and thoughts about their natural environment and the Vote for Bob activities happening in their area.
The supporters are knowledgeable and curious about nature so we identified the main threatened indigenous species that could be used to educate and encourage discussion. We looked at the geographical spread of supporters to understand how best to map impact across the UK but also allow the regions to see a more local progress and specific needs e.g. providing everything in Welsh. We had to understand the local voting areas and postcode data to make sure we get the right people talking to the right politicians.
Channel – build it well and make sure it fits, but leave some room for fun.
We built a website platform that allows supporters to create personalised pages and a dashboard displaying key campaign stats and engaging content to consume and share the latest from Bob.
The main objective of the site, to register a Vote for Bob and ask your local politician to do the same, was our main challenge. The website was built robustly to cope with a high volume of traffic and content flowing between constituents and politicians, while securely storing user's personal data.
All this had to be a fun and shareable experience for the user. So we created stylised illustrations of the animals that are under pressure in our immediate environment. These ‘friends’ of Bob helped to show that each stage completed by the user brings another character on to the landscape, keeping the form filling process engaging and preventing drop off.
During the noisy lead-in to an election getting 121,000 nature supporters to persuade 1,098 political candidates that a ‘Vote for Bob’ (a cute squirrel) is a ‘vote for nature’ is no easy task. But with a fun UX and a clever back end that’s exactly what we managed to achieve with The RSPB.
View the Vote for Bob case study