Campaign: Vodafone's open approach pays off - Internal Communications

Campaign: National Autistic Society/Vodafone Partnership

Client: Vodafone

PR team: The Team/Vodafone/National Autistic Society

Timescale: February-July 2004

Budget: £50,000

Vodafone wanted to help sufferers of a communications disorder and teamed up with the National Autistic Society to raise money for autism sufferers. Before launching the initiative to customers, the company felt it was important to persuade its employees to support and promote it. The Team was drafted in to create a campaign that would bring even the most cynical employees on board. Objectives

To make employees aware of the scheme, and to encourage them to donate their time and money to the National Autistic Society. To raise awareness about autism and ensure employees recognise that the partnership was mutually beneficial.

Strategy and Plan

The Team, Vodafone and the National Autistic Society worked together on the campaign. To encourage cynical employees, it was stressed that Vodafone was offering staff time off work to volunteer their services to the charity, as well as matching every donation they made. This would transform apathetic employees into donors and supporters who were actively involved.

Vodafone was also open about the benefits of the partnership for the firm, publishing research in the employees' magazine that showed similar schemes in other firms had improved morale, performance and consumer recognition. The research was also sent to senior management to ensure they understood the partnership's importance.

Teaser posters highlighting the different aspects of autism were placed in staff canteens and meeting rooms. Brochures containing case studies of Vodafone employees whose lives had been affected by autism were given to staff and published in the employees' magazine to provide readers with a personal link. Staff were also given the opportunity to speak to carers of autistic sufferers and representatives from the National Autistic Society.

The team then held an Employee Volunteering Week, manning stands at call centres and staff headquarters across the country to ensure that employees knew about the different opportunities they have to volunteer with the charity.

Case studies of Vodafone volunteers were then published in the employees' magazine to give the campaign a final extra push.

Measurement and Evaluation

Some 7,200 posters appeared on 300 bus shelters and 12 sites, and 5,000 booklets were delivered at site roadshows, retail stores and staff headquarters.

Panels appeared at 15 regional roadshows promoting the week.

Results

Post-event evaluation showed that three-quarters of Vodafone UK employees recognised the scheme as a mutually beneficial partnership, and 73 per cent said it was a partnership they could get involved in and support.

More than half of employees thought the partnership would help challenge and improve current perceptions of Vodafone's brand. Eighty-six per cent of employees were aware that autism affects people across the spectrum and that it's a lifelong condition.

Since the campaign went public three months ago, more than 100 employees from the corporate business have been involved in fundraising activities.

The retail business took just three months to meet its target donation figure of £30,000.

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