Tone of voice: creation and implementation. Creatives Group 7 May 2014.

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Donna Tipping, integrated communications project manager, RNIB

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Tone of voice: creation and implementation. Creatives Group 7 May 2014.

  1. 1. 1 Tone of voice Donna Tipping, RNIB 7 May 2014
  2. 2. 2 1. Don't wait for it to be perfect or you'll never finish it!
  3. 3. 3 Contents • Our starting point • Our solution • Bumps along the way • A work in progress…
  4. 4. Source: Charity Brand Index survey, 2011. Base: All adults, nationally representative sample Our starting point 4 Charity Brand Index 2011: Top 20 charities 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 C ancer R esearch U K R SP C A R oyal B ritish Legion H elp for H eroes M acm illan C ancer S upport BB C C hildren in N eed British H eart Foundation N SP C C St John A m bulance R N LI O xfam C om ic R elief G reat O rm ond Street H ospital M arie C urie C ancer C are British R ed C ross G uide D ogs The Salvation A rm y Barnardo's R N IB Battersea D ogs & C ats H om e Trust Positive impression • RNIB is one of the most trusted UK charities • 19th overall in Charity Brand Index • Joint 7th for trust (77% say RNIB is 'completely' or 'very' trustworthy) • Highest score for a disability charity • 3rd in a study of charity reputations (Reputation Institute, 2011) Charity Brand Index 2011: Top 20 charities
  5. 5. Source: Brand Attributes, nfpSynergy Base: All those aware of RNIB among 2,000 adults 18+, Britain, November 2011 But people didn't really know what we do … 5
  6. 6. … because our messages didn't cut through 6 Metric Rank Brand index total 19 "This charity draws attention to its cause" = 34 "I have seen/heard adverts by this charity in the last six months" = 64 "I have seen or heard press coverage about this charity in the last six months" =79 "I see this charity in the news a lot" = 87 • Punching below our weight on media memorability • Joint (=) lowest score in the top 40 for "I see this charity in the news a lot" Source: Charity Brand Index, 2011 Base: All those aware of each charity brand among 2,000 adults 18+, Britain
  7. 7. Source: NfpSynergy, Charity Awareness Monitor, 1998 - 2011. Base: All adults, nationally representative sample Each year, fewer people knew about us … 7 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total Semi-prompted Spontaneous Linear (Semi-prompted) Linear (Spontaneous) Linear (Total) • Semi-prompted and spontaneous awareness stable at an average of 26 and 6 per cent • Decrease in total awareness from 92 per cent in 1998 to 82 per cent in 2011
  8. 8. 4.91 5.04 5.27 5.28 5.51 5.53 6.04 6.19 6.4 6.46 6.47 6.48 6.69 6.69 6.77 6.94 7.03 7.04 7.23 7.31 7.45 RNIB … and those who did know, didn't really care 8 "Please indicate how close you feel to (...) by placing where you would like them to sit in relation to you, where 1 means closest and 12 means furthest" • Flipside of trust is that we’re seen as big, formal and a bit old fashioned • Fighting disinterest in the brand Source: nfpSynergy, Brand Attributes Monitor, November 2011 Base: All those aware of each charity brand among 2,000 adults 18+, Britain
  9. 9. We were seen as lacking in warmth … 9 26% 14% 21% 21% 30% 16% 27% 34% 36% 23% 25% 26% 31%32% 36% 41% 30% 28% 38% 31% Practical Approachable Sympathetic Professional Friendly/Welcoming Helpful Honest Trustworthy Supportive Caring/Compassionate RNIB Disability and Sensory Impairment "Please choose up to ten words that you think describe your ideal charity working in Disability and Sensory Impairment" • RNIB better on practical and professional • Worst on honest, approachable and friendly/ welcoming Source: Brand Attributes, nfpSynergy Base: All those aware of RNIB (1168) among 2000 adults 18+, Britain, Nov 2011
  10. 10. … and struggled to reverse long term trends 10 - 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 O ct N ov D ec Jan-11 Feb M ar April M ay June July Aug Sept O ct N ov D ec Jan-12 Feb M ar % RNIB Prompted Awareness Total RNIB Brand Visibility RNIB 'Relevant to me' RNIB Consideration Affinity to Sight Loss • Awareness is volatile but the trend overall is for decline • Affinity is also changeable and not obviously linked to relevance or consideration • Consideration is low, reflecting relevance • Relevance is hard to shift Source: RNIB Brand Health Monitor, Jan 2012 Base: Nationally representative sample of 750 adults aged 18+ each month
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. To sum up … • We weren’t cutting through • We weren’t sticking in people’s minds (birds? Who?) • People didn’t really know what we can do for them (braille? Sticks?) • We weren’t reaching everyone who could use our help 12 2. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater
  13. 13. Our solution • New ask of SMT: from ad budget to brand strategy • Brand promise and values activity started conversations about language • Used strategy consultation to widen the audience • Brand refresh to take a strategic, holistic approach (shared target audience with fundraising, customer journeys) • Comms audit including tone of voice with our partner charity • Additional research with potential supporters 13 3. If your arguments aren’t working, change tack
  14. 14. Developing a brand promise and values 14
  15. 15. Linking brand refresh to five year strategy Pre diagnosis CopingCrisis ContactDiagnosis 4. Make your point with recognised truths
  16. 16. Communications audit findings • Too rational and not friendly and approachable enough • We recognised that losing your sight can be a time of anxiety and emotion, but often signed off with ‘matter of fact’ statements • At odds with our partner charity's very conversational tone • Achieved through question asking, empathy and framing techniques • By focussing on fact and benefit rather than emotional engagement, we risked losing or missing people • Particularly at diagnosis/ crisis stages of the sight loss journey. 16 5. Use external examples and validation to support you
  17. 17. 17
  18. 18. 18 6. Tone of voice and visual ID need to match
  19. 19. Bumps along the way • How to appeal both to new and existing audiences • 2014-19 strategy not set so difficult to future proof brand • Remit (and number of stakeholders) grew over time • Communicating jargon-heavy changes in a meaningful, memorable way • Staff changes 19
  20. 20. Delivering a new tone of voice Our ambition (our ultimate goal) - agreed January 2013 Making every day better for people affected by sight loss, by: 1. being there when people need us 2. supporting independent living 3. creating an inclusive society, and 4. preventing sight loss. 20 7. Get sign off at key milestones
  21. 21. Our values (how we behave) Led by blind and partially sighted people: blind and partially sighted people are at our heart and influence everything we do. Collaborative: we work together to make the biggest difference. Creative: we understand challenges and find ways to overcome them and move forward. Inclusive: we include and value people with diverse experience, abilities and backgrounds. Open: we are honest, candid and transparent, challenging ourselves and others 21
  22. 22. Our brand personality (how we communicate) • Human: We’re caring and supportive, recognising people as individuals with stories to tell in their own words. • Positive: Losing your sight can be frightening. So we express hope, strength and confidence, focusing on what people can do and achieve. • Can-do: We show how people change their lives with our support and we find new ways to make every day better for everyone affected by sight loss, honestly explaining both the problems and solutions. 22
  23. 23. Explaining it to staff • When we ask people to support us, we want to explain what their support helps us to achieve: • Help someone losing their sight face the future without fear / with confidence and to live independently • When we write and speak, we will use language that everyone understands • We will show the emotional impact of our work, as well as the practical outcomes 23
  24. 24. 24 8. If sacred cows are holding you back - challenge them
  25. 25. Strapline consultation - warm audiences 25
  26. 26. Strapline consultation - cold audiences 26
  27. 27. Before … and after 27
  28. 28. Before … and after 28
  29. 29. Before • No matter what stage of life you’re at or how long you’ve been experiencing problems with your sight, living with sight loss can be challenging. • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is here to provide the support, advice and products you need to remain independent. Friends, family and others around you might also benefit from our support and advice. • Our Helpline is the only number you need to access the services introduced to you in this booklet. Call us on 0303 123 9999. 29
  30. 30. After • We know adapting to sight loss isn’t easy. We know it’s different for everyone. But whatever your experience, we’re here for you. • At the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) we’re here with the support, advice and products you need to face the future with confidence. Your friends, family and others around you can also get life-changing support and advice. • Taking control of your sight loss can start with calling our Helpline on 0303 123 9999. 30
  31. 31. Enewsletter split test 31
  32. 32. Enewsletter split test results • New tone of voice generated 21 per cent of clicks from the enewsletter - four times more than the old tone of voice • Only 4 per cent of clicks on the new tone of voice enewsletter were to the unsubscribe link - one tenth of the whopping 42 per cent for the old tone of voice. 32 9. Test, test, test
  33. 33. Flexing for different audiences • Key individuals already have an established tone of voice • Work on language and train the colleagues who write on their behalf • Professional audiences - especially policy makers and education sector - expect a level of formality • Build in flexibility to the guidelines and find a level of compromise, eg shorter sentences and greater use of real stories in exchange for jargon • Important to be consistent across print and digital • Digital is a useful way of stress testing - if it doesn't work on a webpage, it could probably be better in print 33
  34. 34. Top tips • Address your reader directly, using ‘you’ and ‘we’ where possible. Explain who ‘we’ are and recognise the needs, wants and priorities of the person you’re talking to. • Use active language and paint a picture of positive outcomes. • Use real examples to explain the challenges of living with sight loss, balanced by what we do to make every day better. • Show how to get involved and change lives. Always include a call to action. 34
  35. 35. Still some sticky areas… • 'Of not for' - an organisation entirely staffed by people with sight loss or an organisation of sighted people? • How to describe charities we work closely with • Flexing across audiences - especially professionals • Expressing the problem v being part of the solution 35
  36. 36. … but others overcome • Brand refresh in line with 2014-19 strategy • One target Fundraising / Marketing and Comms audience • From 'blind and partially sighted people' to 'people with sight loss' and ditched 'RNIB Group' • Internal champions 36 10. High five!
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. Results 38 Source: RNIB Brand Health Monitor, Feb 2014 Base: Nationally representative sample of c.800 adults aged 18+ each month
  39. 39. 39
  40. 40. 40 Top tips 1. Don't wait for it to be perfect or you'll never finish it! 2. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater 3. If your arguments aren’t working, change tack 4. Make your point with recognised organisational truths 5. Use external examples and validation to support you 6. Tone of voice and visual identity need to match 7. Get sign off at key intervals 8. If holy cows are holding you back, challenge them 9. Test, test, test 10.High five! Donna Tipping donna.tipping@rnib.org.uk 020 7391 2394
  41. 41. 41 © RNIB April 2014 RNIB registered charity number 226227 (England and Wales), SC039316 (Scotland) and 5724F (Isle of Man)

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