Tag Archives: donation

#StayAlive: life-saving technology

24 Jun

When it comes to PR, charities are pushing themselves harder than ever to get noticed – and it’s paying off.

From WaterAid’s social media waterfall to Macmillan’s tube strike tweet, charities aren’t just sticking to their marketing strategy, they’re also going after ‘quick wins’, which is putting pressure on press teams to generate more column inches.

Having said this, I was surprised to see that Grassroots, a Brighton-based suicide prevention charity, is launching a new app next month called #StayAlive.

The app, not to be confused with the British Heart Foundation’s Bee Gees‘ inspired Staying Alive campaign, will offer support to people who feel suicidal.

Up to 4,400 people in England end their own lives each year, and 10 times this number attempt suicide, so why am I so shocked?

It’s one thing for a charity to empower you to save a life – whether that’s through a quick dose of CPR, donation or volunteering opportunity – but it’s another story to encourage people to keep living. It’s brave and the reality is that it’s a partial solution to a growing problem.

How will the app provide support?
1) Using location data to identify local services
2) Encouraging users to upload positive images to remind them of happier times
3) Advising on what those thoughts might mean and how to overcome them

My issue is that the apps on my very old iPhone are split into various categories: social, news, entertainment, lifestyle, shopping and utilities. So, I’m not entirely sure where #StayAlive would sit on my desktop. And, if I did need to refer to it, how often I’d revisit. And, if I was experiencing mental health issues, would I seek comfort in an app?

But, for a digital generation that’s logged on 24/7, there is some logic in the fact that our phones – a simple photo or a quick call – could mean the difference between life and death.

But, the one thing Grassroots lacks is maximising its social media presence. It took me a while to find the charity on Twitter – not ideal when the app name is actually a hashtag!

However, the charity’s already got the backing from regional newspaper The Argus and works closely with key stakeholders. But, I predict that it’ll get a lot of questions from the media on launch day about its innovation. So, it’s a prime opportunity to boost followers and starting conversations by setting the agenda.

After all, how often does a regional charity get to do that? This is definitely a campaign to keep an eye on.
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Remember, remember the success of Movember

27 Oct

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In just a few days time, men (and some brave women) will spend the month growing and grooming their moustaches for Movember, a fundraising campaign to support Prostate Cancer UK.

Launching 10 years ago in Australia, the rise and rise of the Movember movement has taken the world by storm. In 2012, 21 countries took part raising more than £92m.

Here’s a look at how some of Movember’s partners are making the most of their involvement. Please note, I’m bypassing Gillette because a PR match made in heaven like this doesn’t need an extra plug.

HP Sauce
HP Sauce is continuing its sponsorship of Movember by giving its bottles a tache makeover, but going one step further to create a Mo Bros roadshow. Packed with competitions and games for university students across the country, this PR and marketing stunt is supported by Facebook.

Byron
Byron is giving away a free burger to every Mo Bro that raises more than £25 for charity. With hundreds of thousands of participants in the UK alone last year, this is a very brave gesture for the restaurant chain. But it’s also hoping to attract customers with a new limited edition Mo’shroom burger. Fifty pence will be donated to Movember for every one sold next month.

Mr Men
The creators of Mr Men have launched a new character – Mr Mo – to star in a new book. As the first new character in four years, it’s sure to be a collectors’ item and is a great PR story to continue raising Movember’s profile. But Hargreaves should be careful not to over expose his collection, following Mr Funny (Red Nose Day) and Mr Cheeky (Children With Leukaemia). If every charity has one it will lose credibility.

The Movember autumn collection
TOMS, Eleven Paris and Links of London have created a bespoke collection of t-shirts, shoes and accessories for Mo Bros. A proportion of the profits will be donated to charity to make a difference. So if you can’t grow a tache, you can wear one.

My only issue is that moustaches have been marketed by lots of retailers earlier this year, encouraging people to cheat the system. In any other situation you could argue that imitation is the best form of flattery, but not when charity’s involved.

But, the reason Movember’s been so successful is a) it has its own identity that doesn’t shout about ‘cancer’ and b) it focuses on the positive, adopting the ‘here’s what you can do for us’ approach, making Movember interesting, intriguing and fun. So many others have a ‘here’s what will happen if you don’t help us’ attitude.

It’s also refreshing that its partners put the initiative first. No piggybacking or promoting, these brands have come up with genuine ways of raising extra cash. Maybe that’s why journalists don’t mind writing about it. The likes of MSN, Daily Express, Daily Star and the Metro have already picked it up and will undoubtedly do so again during the month.

Are you prepared for Movember? Watch this space to see how much is raised.

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How to get people engaged online

24 Sep

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If ‘co-production’ – consumers publishing material on social media that directly engages with an organisation – is the highest form of creative engagement, then I’ve still got a long way to go to master this social art form.

According to Naoimh Looney, as read on The Wall blog, co-production provokes attention-grabbing material and helps businesses to form strong social links.

It might be easy to encourage the average consumer to do something on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. But, when targeting chefs like I do day-to-day, it’s sometimes like getting blood from a stone.

Earlier this year, I helped run a photo campaign called ‘Concentrated Places‘ to celebrate the launch of Knorr’s Create More Concentrated Sauces. With the idea of getting chefs, caterers and anybody we could find to squeeze themselves into a tight spot in the kitchen, we gave ourselves two months to get as many pictures as we could uploaded onto leading chef community site Caterer & Hotelkeeper’s Table Talk.

We found it easy to secure the coverage, but securing entries was difficult. Not even the incentive of a donation per photo to the hospitality industry’s benevolent association, Hospitality Action, could convert interest into images.

We wanted to get inspirational chefs on board to encourage the wider industry to get involved. I even had the balls to ask Marco Pierre White at a master class, but he gave me a look to say ‘don’t you know who I am?’ before (not so) kindly telling me ‘no’.

We also tried Twitter which gave us some fantastic, and almost instant, responses from well-known chefs. But, again after sending them the details there was nothing to upload.

With weeks to go, we turned to the person we should have started with. The founder of chef forum Staff Canteen, Mark Morris, spread the word throughout his network which led to tens of photos pouring in each day.

We ended our campaign on 70 photos, raising more than £1,000 for charity. This experience hasn’t put us off doing something similar in the future, we’ve just learnt that a social media-led campaign is only as strong as your target audience. If they’re not willing or too busy to complete the call to action, it’s going nowhere.

NEW
Kellogg’s has brought the issue of co-production full circle by bringing social media to the streets. To generate a buzz around its new snack Special K Crackers, Kellogg’s has opened a Tweet Shop which encourages users to pay for their goods by tweeting about the low-calorie snack.

The Tweet Shop is open in London until the end of Friday.

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