Working with us - a client’s perspective

Following production of film and graphic assets for West Sussex County Council Waste Management Service our Communications Manager (Anna Lodge) talked to Communications and Campaigns Manager Nicola Cosson about her experiences running online and offline campaigns with Real World Visuals materials.

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Anna Lodge (AL): What was the brief for this project?

Nicola Cosson (NC): Our local residents are doing a great job – 80% of the material that can be recycled is, but that meant that 20% wasn’t, and at a significant cost. The brief to Real World Visuals was to produce visuals and creative that would break through people’s apathy and get their attention - reengaging residents in the cost benefits of recycling.

Having comprehensive data from a waste composition analysis we had already completed, we knew what was being thrown away rather than being recycled. And whilst the data showed that our residents were having a really positive impact and were well educated about waste in the main, there were clearly areas for improvement and common mistakes being made. The overall strap line for the campaign ‘Think before you throw’ was about getting a resident to do exactly that and think ‘Wow! There is still more that I can do.’ This is where the Real World Visuals came into their own, I was looking to them to provide that visual ‘Wow!’ - no mean feat.

AL. In practice, what were you looking for to support your overall communications campaign?

NC: Within the film, I was particularly keen on quality of the graphics in the individual pile of waste as a key point to trigger engagement at an individual level. The film as a whole but that part specifically, has really resonated with people. They are then ‘wowed’ by the figure of £3million savings with increased recycling rates – it allows all inside the council and residents to see the benefit whatever their views or politics.

Real World Visuals produced a main film with voiceover and subtitles as well as the creative design for the offline materials like railway station posters and leaflets. Using the same team to produce the online and offline materials was key for me, to ensure consistency and impact of the campaign as everyone was on the same page, and understood what we were trying to achieve.

AL. How did the creative team work, from your perspective?

NC: Trust was important for me, particularly in the early scamp stages, but I trusted Adam implicitly to turn the ideas and early images into high quality rendered graphics, and was so pleased with the end results. Dave really listened and did a fantastic job translating that visual imagery into a design that could accommodate a clear messaging hierarchy, to ensure that the offline visuals that communicated to people reading billboards, adverts as well as on social media. The final creative met my brief of ensuring each resident comes away with a message wherever they see the visuals.

AL. Tell me more about the campaign assets.

NC: Railway 6 sheet advertising was new for us, we had used bus stops and buses previously but have had great anecdotal feedback from staff and residents particularly with commuters on trains seeing the key £3 million figure and those waiting at stations having time to look at the more detailed messaging and note the website. We also tried the creative out on a new channel we developed with our library service. Sleeves over the entrance security scanners in the 4 key West Sussex libraries has had a tremendous impact supporting the engagement with events we ran in launch week. Our events team were on hand to provide detailed information and practical recycling advice to help residents ‘think before you throw’.

AL. Was the social media campaign successful?

NC: We ran the film on Facebook page, Twitter and our website to minimise the number of clicks people needed to make to view. We have seen a clear spike in resident engagement with the activity on social media. At this point the main campaign film has had over 43,000 views on Facebook alone, with other posts and ads from the campaign receiving over 130,000 Facebook engagements and impressions from targeted West Sussex residents. The campaign has had 17,989 reactions on Twitter. The analysis for the website engagement is being processed and we look forward to similar hugely positive stats.

AL. Overall, was the project sucessful in meeting the brief?

NC: In terms of my original objective – to reengage with residents – looking at the analytics and comments we have had on Facebook alone I feel confident the images from Real World Visuals have absolutely achieved that objective. From the engagement we received from the original film – call to action on all materials drove people to our website to view the film or to Facebook – we were able to then drill down into more material specific messaging, to highlight exactly what that missing 20% was made up of and educate residents on recyclable materials like foil, plastic pots, aerosols etc. The campaign has generated online engagement, we have been answering questions constantly on our Facebook page and even better, we are now finding residents acting as advocates for us and advising each other, with no involvement from us at all!

From concepts to finished assets, it has been a really positive experience to work with Real World Visuals. I knew from the first face to face meeting that they ‘got it.’ Our residents, like all consumers these days, have very high expectations when it comes to being communicated with, I have always thought local government campaigns should aim to meet these expectations. The quality of the CGI visuals was essential to make convincing and engaging material that would grab residents’ attention. This campaign for me, shows that not only are  high quality creative visuals effective for resident engagement, but that is absolutely possible to produce them within a local government setting and that real value for money in terms of the production and impact can be achieved. 

Visit this project page

Visit the Think Before You Throw campaign.