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Comic Relief: The ultimate campaign strategy

March 2017

Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day returns tomorrow after its standard two-year break. In its 30-year history the campaign has raised over £1bn; a feat achieved, in part, through a unique and powerful marketing model that every brand can learn from.

For starters, biennial scheduling takes the concept of ‘campaigns’ to a whole new level. The bottling of their efforts – ready for a concentrated explosion every two years – is no doubt in part a result of the logistics involved in bringing so many high-profile celebrities and brands together, but is equally an acknowledgement that there is nothing like a big, bold and focused communication strategy to drive engagement. An all singing, all dancing, ‘everywhere’ display that is too short-lived to get annoying and too meaningful to be ignored.

On a smaller scale, brands can learn from this approach and use it as the basis for executing any campaign well. At the crux of their success lies:

A single-minded purpose and brand

If you’re going to truly harness an ‘all guns’ approach you need a simple core message that permeates every touch point. Based on the notion that simple ideas enter the brain quicker and stay there longer, a single-minded sentiment repeated throughout a campaign will provide the ultimate reinforcement and something easy to rally behind. An emblem, such as the iconic red nose, provides instant recognition for their mission.

Content that entertains and engages

Engaging people in serious topics is always hard. People often say that they are ‘time-poor’, but will spend hours engaging with content if it is meaningful or entertaining to them. Investing in content that appeals on this level provides an opening, allowing brands to indirectly demonstrate personality and values – core factors that influence the decision to support a brand.

Audience segmentation and tailoring        

People consume media differently. They’re interested in diverse content and different ways of interacting with it (or not!) Understanding your audience and where and how they prefer to be communicated with will ensure the right content is delivered at opportune moments. For example, Comic Relief has a dedicated campaign stream focused solely on engaging school children by harnessing Wattpad and Snapchat.

Multi-channel exposure and direct CTA     

Where brand strategy looks to achieve salience and ongoing awareness, campaign strategy should look to disrupt and make your message impossible to ignore. Looking at the entire consumer journey will help you plan something at every touchpoint, linking offline and online channels with a consistent, repeated message. A clear and easy call to action in every instance means people can respond instantly.

As you tune in to tomorrow’s televised event, have a think about your brand and how it could benefit from such a platform. With careful planning and some brave creative, every brand should have a red nose (or two) up their sleeve. Get in touch if you want to discuss how we could help.