Using qualitative research to create powerful campaign messages. Audience first conference, 16 July 2014


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Ali Jeremy, director of communications, NSPCC; Stephen Nutt, senior campaigns officer, NSPCC

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  • This is the biggest NSPCC campaign since the launch of the Child’s Voice Appeal in 2008 and the first behavioural change campaign since BeTheFull Stop in 2007.
  • Stat – from YouGov poll – Jan 2013
    We know sexual abuse consistently tops concerns from regular public opinion monitoring provided by NFP Syngery
  • Using qualitative research to create powerful campaign messages. Audience first conference, 16 July 2014

    1. 1. Using qualitative research to create powerful campaign messages Ali Jeremy – director of communications Stephen Nutt - senior campaigns officer 16th July 2014
    2. 2. Background to the campaign • 63% of the public said the recent media coverage had made them think more about sexual abuse • Sexual abuse consistently tops the list of public concerns relating to children • We wanted to run a campaign responding to the increased concerns of parents and carers
    3. 3. What we knew • Parents and carers can play an important role in keeping their children safe from sexual abuse by talking to them. • Parents have an important role in facilitating disclosures.
    4. 4. Selecting the target audience • Initially wanted to target parents of 3- 18 year olds – way too broad • Wanted to focus on age when having the conversations - this would be most effective, but also needed to be realistic • Target audience: parents of 5-11 year olds: – Easier to segment as a group – primary school – Less difficult to criticise – Opens the way for conversations with younger children
    5. 5. Understanding our audience We needed a better understanding of and insights into: • Parents’ understanding, knowledge and concerns regarding talking to their children about sexual abuse • The barriers to talking about it • What would motivate them to speak with their children about the topic? • What sources and what type of help and advice do they seek or would welcome And further to explore: • Parents’ reactions to the idea of receiving advice and information from the NSPCC to help them have these difficult conversations with their child/children
    6. 6. Methodology • 12 x 90 minute private individual pre- tasked in-depth interviews with parents of primary school children 5-11 • All participants unaffected by the issue • 8 mums, 4 dads • Interviews took place in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Bangor (Co. Down)
    7. 7. Family dynamics
    8. 8. Conversations about difficult topics Road safety Food allergies Death of a pet Death of a relative Bullying Friendships and relationships “The birds and the bees” Using the internet Stranger danger Unlike Sexual Abuse, all these topics: • Are in the public domain: Freely discussed amongst family, friends, fellow parents, at school Acknowledged as relevant to children/necessary for children to know • Have other ‘support materials’ readily accessible • Can be simply explained/readily tailored to age/capability to understand • Mostly enable parents to draw on personal experience
    9. 9. Stranger danger
    10. 10. Talking about keeping safe from sexual abuse with your child
    11. 11. Go on…
    12. 12. The barriers to having the conversations • Not on my radar – Not considered need – Not relevant to me/my child • Not on the public radar – The issue of talking to children is never mentioned/discussed by friends/other parents/ media – Not aware of schools covering it • I don’t want to • My child is too young • The implications – Of kids then going on to talk about it to others/misunderstanding – Of how you think about trust/others – changing my whole world view
    13. 13. Disregarding all the “justifications” I don’t know what to say • Interestingly our pre-wave quantitative research would have suggested parents have more knowledge of what to say: 19% strongly agreed and 55% agreed with the statement: “I know what to say to my child to keep them safe from sexual abuse” • Demonstrates the importance of using qualitative research to delve deeper
    14. 14. Styles of communication • We also tested a range of communication styles and formats about sexual abuse with parents • Heavy duty/serious communications reinforced the idea that “this is not something for me” • We continued to research with parents when developing our guides
    15. 15. Key lessons Lesson How we addressed this The need to deliver a wake up call to parents without using “shock tactics” The wake up call centred around the ease of having the conversations with more subtle reminders of why it’s important The need for advice and support for parents about what to say Where the Underwear Rule came in… The need to make it public so it’s no longer seen as an unusual conversation to have Ran a mass media campaign to our target audience Making the issue scary would reinforce existing barriers The tone is light-heated and empathetic throughout the campaign
    16. 16. The Underwear Rule campaign
    17. 17. Supporting parents to have conversations The Underwear Rule: Teaches children that their private parts are private, their body belongs to them, and that they should always tell an adult if they’re upset or worried.
    18. 18. Not something new…
    19. 19. Key elements of the Underwear Rule
    20. 20. Talk PANTS
    21. 21. The campaign so far • Two big media waves –summer 2013, January - March 2014 • UK wide radio, TV and digital advertising campaign • TV and online “Private Parts” ad • Radio ads: • Digital advertising • Partnership with Netmums and Bounty • Dissemination of campaign via the media, social media, staff, partners and stakeholder organisations
    22. 22. Some highlights
    23. 23. Reaction • Overwhelmingly positive reaction from parents, media, staff, professionals and key stakeholders. • Received support from external organisations including National Children’s Bureau, Sex Education Forum, the Children’s Commissioners in each nation, Parentzone, Family Lives, Young Minds, 4Children and several LSCBs, police forces and politicians. “As a mother myself, I think the Underwear Rule campaign is a brilliant initiative – I think it’s a great idea and I having already started talking to my son about some of these issues such as good and bad secrets. The materials are really visual and helpful in providing easy simple ways to discuss such important topics.” - Cheryl, a mother from Blackpool Right: Mum Gillian with son Aidan
    24. 24. Parents’ feedback
    25. 25. Recognition • 36% of all parents with children aged 5-11 recognise the campaign (rising to 45% of mums)
    26. 26. Underwear Rule advice page • Over 725,000 unique views
    27. 27. Advice for parents and carers • Over 100,000 downloads of the online guides on and Netmums • 250,000 hard copies for parents distributed via GP surgeries, schools, partner organisations etc
    28. 28. Award winning
    29. 29. Impact
    30. 30. Impact Of those parents who saw the campaign the proportion who have ever spoken to their child about keeping safe from sexual abuse rose from 46% pre-campaign to 63% post campaign (Mar ‘14). This represents around 400,000 additional parents having conversations with their children.
    31. 31. Challenges • 46% of parents overall (5-11 yr olds) have still not spoken to their children. • Significant difference between parents’ confidence and the numbers actually speaking to their children. • Top reasons for not speaking to their children: – Child is too young – Need hadn’t occurred to them. • Further scope to increase parents’ knowledge and confidence – only 21% of parents strongly agree that they know what to say to keep their children safe. 23% feel very confident about speaking to their child.
    32. 32. What next? • Ongoing campaign for the NSPCC • More work to support parents of younger children • New resources for harder to reach groups: – Parents/children with a learning disability (now available) – Parents of children with ASD – Deaf children – New languages – Russian, Polish, Latvian, Lithuanian • Resources for schools • Local campaigns
    33. 33. A reminder why this is so important • After seeing the NSPCC's Underwear Rule campaign, Rachel* spoke to her daughter Hannah* about keeping safe from abuse. • She was shocked to discover that her 3- year-old had been abused by a family friend, Ron Wood. Ron was jailed for 8 years in February 2014. "I know a lot of parents might be worried about having the conversation with their children but it's so important that you do - I don't want this to happen to anyone else. "You don't think that sexual abuse will ever affect your family but it could do so you need to talk to your children about it to protect them. "There are so many opportunities when you can bring it up, such as when you are washing them or dressing them. "You don't have to make it into a big thing; you can talk to them as though it's an everyday conversation.” Rachel*
    34. 34. Questions?
    35. 35. Discussion • What did you think about the campaign and how we used qualitative research – any observations or anything you might have done differently? • What audience insight and research methods do you use to refine your communications? • How can you make the best of evidence at your disposal when you have a small budget?
    36. 36. Thank you! @alijeremy @NuttSteve
    37. 37. Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from our past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do.