How to create a successful marketing campaign: Toilet Twinning and World Toilet Day
The latest in our irregular series looking at successful marketing campaigns and how you can create your own winning promotion.
The charity Toilet Twinning was established in 2010 as a joint venture of NGOs Tearfund and Cord. Since then 175,337 Toilet Twins have been created and 1,052,022 lives have been transformed through safe sanitation. It raises money for sanitation projects through ‘toilet twinning’. For £60 you can twin your loo with a family’s household latrine in a vulnerable community in a country of your choosing. You then get a certificate to hang in ‘smallest room’, along with with a photo and GPS coordinates so you can look up your twin’s location on Google Maps. Lovely! You can imagine, it’s a quirky gift idea for that hard to but for uncle at Christmas but probably quite a hard sell to get people interested the rest of the year. This is why we love Toilet Twinning’s World Toilet Day campaign. Yes, World Toilet Day is a thing! So, what’s so good about this campaign and how can you recreate its success?
1. Great hook
Making use of an awareness day, anniversary or other time of public interest can save you a lot of hard work. There will already be other people, brands, organisations who will be sharing content on this topic and using the hashtag so you can piggy back on that too. The most important thing is that the hook you choose is really relevant to your organisation. World Toilet Day and Toilet Twinning were made for each other. Find your perfect fit and then run with it.
2. Make it Pun-ny
Talking of runs with it (see what we did there?!), Toilet Twinning is not afraid of a good pun. And we are here for it! We love a pun at We Are Comma. Toilet Twining use puns to great effect for topics which can be quite taboo still. They use the #bigpush to encourage their fundraisers to get those donations. And their headline fundraising initiative for World Toilet Day this year is the Big Squat – encouraging people “Squat 60 times a day from 1st of November to World Toilet Day on 19th of November and raise money for life-changing toilets!”. If that sounds to active for you, how about a piece of cake with their ‘soggy bottom bake sale’?
3. A clear target
This campaign is very clear in what your fundraising target should be. £60 – the cost of twinning a toilet. 60 squats for £60. It all adds up nicely. And it’s achievable. Getting friends and family to club together and help you raise £60 seems do-able. And the more people who think they can achieve it, the more people who will join in.
So how can you apply these lessons to your organisation, ahead of your next campaign to make it more successful?
Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition: Preparing for the unexpected.
Crisis Communications for small organisations
I’ll admit it: I’m a bit weird. In a number of ways but particularly in that crisis communications is one of my favourite areas of PR. I mean, obviously, it’s horrible when something awful happens and I’ve hated to see any organisations I’ve worked for or with going through difficult times but what I do love is preparing for a crisis. It seems I’m in a minority though and many people don’t enjoy this?! The hard fact is that every organisation needs to do it. Because you do not want to be facing a crisis unprepared. Figuring out who you need to contact, who will be affected, what you should be telling customers and the wider world, and how to keep parts of the organisation that absolutely cannot shut down going is not what you want to be figuring out while dealing with emergency services. But fear not, bury your head in the sand no longer because here is your guide to preparing for the unexpected. We’ve even put together a free resource you can use to get planning.
It is more than understandable if you do dread thinking about a crisis and how your organisation would cope. But let’s start by getting the hardest part out of the way first. What is the worst thing that could happen? Yes, we need to go to that dark place and think about all the truly awful things that could happen. I mean death, destruction, dismembering the whole shebang. Don’t hold back. Remember if you don’t plan for it you can’t protect against it. But also, don’t forget the small things like lost keys, laptops and phones, sickness, and even road work. Anything that could cause your organisation to have to stop normal activities for any extended period of time or could give your customers or stakeholders a reason to take to social media to complain.
Once you have your list, try to group some of the scenarios. For example, your organisation may have these groups: premises issues (no electricity, water leak, lost keys, etc), staff issues (sickness, lateness, legal issues, complaints against them, etc), customer issues (contagious sickness outbreak, injury, death, complaints, etc).
Now going through your list and rate what would be awful and what would be inconvenient. For the majority of the inconvenience, you will be able to deal with these on a day to day basis. But it’s still worth having a plan for these. This crisis comms plan will help with that but make sure you have a business continuity plan in place. If you want help or advice in creating this please contact us, we can help or put you in touch with organisations who can help you devise and test your plan.
Preparing for the unexpected
The next thing to do is think about what you would do in these scenarios. Who will be affected? Who would you need to contact? Do you have their contact details? How will you keep everyone affected safe and what provisions for their welfare do you have? How will you contact those who are affected? Remember at this point you may not have all your usual equipment and colleagues etc. What are the critical parts of your organisation that must keep going and how do you prepare for that? What members of staff from non-critical areas of the organisation can be redeployed or drafted elsewhere to help? Or if you are a very small organisation, who could you ask to support you?
What will you say?
Now you know whom you need to contact you need to know what to say to them. We Are Comma can help with drafting some basic messages which can be tailored to the situation when a crisis occurs. At this point, though you need to bring your AA game – acknowledge the disruption or issue, apologise for any inconvenience, reassure that you’re working to fix things, and will give updates as soon as you can. Do not give too much detail. Do not speculate. Be sensitive and take control. As with all messaging think about things from the audience’s point of view. Yes, something may be an absolute disaster for you but it may not have a huge impact on your customers. Don’t downplay anything either. I admit it’s difficult to get the right balance and it does take years of experience to get messages out sensitively in a way that creates the impact you want and doesn’t have unintended consequences. My advice is to have a comms person on your emergency contact list. Even if they don’t work directly for you, just having someone you trust who can sense check what you intend to send out is very worthwhile.
Springing into action
Then have a plan for getting the message out. Make sure you can access your social media channels, that you can update your website, and be able to get to your email marketing systems. Think about images and not just words at this point. For example, a company that has to make redundancies and lets the world know about it with a photo of the chief executive smiling is asking for negative media coverage. Likewise, when organisations have to announce sad or difficult news, they may choose to change their logo to a black and white version and tone down their cheery brand. Remember not all crises will need these things but they are things to think about and have in place, just in case.
Getting the message out well can be a great thing for a brand, even if the news they are getting out is awful. If you can show you are taking control and learning from mistakes and moving on. You can even grow trust in your organisation, so don’t only view situations like this as a negative but potentially an opportunity to show the very best side of your people and who you are.
Preparing for the worst
Now think about all the negative things people – particularly journalists – could say about your organisation and operations as a result of the situations you brainstormed. Safeguarding, checks, security, planning, and every area of your organisation could be under the spotlight. It goes without saying your organisation needs to have all these contingencies in place and up to date etc. But you need to spend time thinking about what negative or difficult to answer questions you might face. Questions like “Why did this happen?” “Aren’t you supposed to be making sure X is safe?” “How can people ever trust your organisation again?”. These are not easy to face but are an important part of planning. Again, having a trusted, yet critical friend can be really helpful.
Review and revise
At this point, you should be starting to feel empowered and able to take on any issue life throws at your organisation. But that’s not the end. Make sure you have all of this safely stored but accessible by the relevant people in your organisation. But don’t let it gather dust. Regularly (once a year or when you change operations, areas of work, etc) get the plan out and go through it again. What’s changed? What needs to be updated? Depending on the size of your organisation, it may even be worth testing the plan. We Are Comma can help you with that.
Keep calm and carry on
If you do experience a crisis then you will be glad you put so much time into planning while you are dealing with trying to keep your organisation going. At that point, you’ll also have to look at other ‘moving parts’ for example how something relatively minor can become a national news story because it fits in with other topical issues of the day. And don’t forget once the crisis has passed and you’re in the recovery stage to debrief, review and evaluate.
See, that wasn’t so painful, was it? In fact, it may even have taken a load off your shoulders that you didn’t know was there.
So tell us, how many crisis scenarios have you come up with?
You’re busy. We get it. Even when clicking on this blog you were thinking “do I have time for this?”. We know that social media can seem like just another thing on your never-ending admin list. And that pressure can take away your creativity. So here is some inspiration to get your juices flowing again. Here we share four types of content that all organisations benefit from.
This is the stuff that you create and can use again and again. It’s particularly good for when you have no time – when that unexpected ‘thing’ happens and social media really falls to the bottom of the to do list. Spend an afternoon creating posts which you can share, adapt and recycle. Your future self will thank you.
Your clients, donors, supporters, and anyone else who follows you want to hear about your latest news. It doesn’t have to be anything big but they want to know what you’re working on. What services, products and events might be of interest to them. Share it all. People often like a tease too so if you are working on something but can’t quite share the full details then just share what you can and let them know you will spill the beans as soon as you can.
These can also be useful too for when you are feeling uninspired. Introduction posts, opening times, what you do and offer posts are great to pepper your content with from time to time. Just try to give them a fresh twist when you can. These are great to use when you notice you have had an influx of new followers.
Reflect what’s happening in the world but linked to your organisation. For example, you might like to share a photo of the office dog for bring your dog to work day. Just remember to make sure you are staying authentic and not just shoehorning in an awareness day, event or holiday for the sake of it. For example, if you run a cats rehoming centre then bring your dog to work day probably isn’t one to take part in.
Remember social media is all about creating community. It’s a place where your fans, clients, supporters etc can come together to get the latest news, events from you as well as keep in touch with your organisation but it should be just as much about them as you. Ask lots of questions and get discussions going.
Remember, if social media gets too much and you can’t keep up, you don’t enjoy it and it isn’t giving you the rewards you want you can contact We Are Comma for a free audit. We can suggest ways to improve. We can create content for you, give you a schedule or we can run your social media accounts. Drop us a line and see how we can help you:
So, to practise what we preach, tell us: what types of social media posts do you find most engaging? Drop us a line or comment on this post. You can also find out more about the services we offer by visiting the What We Offer page on the website.
You probably already know the value of an online review. Satisfied customers sharing what they love about your organisation, services, and products helps attract new customers and gives them the confidence to buy or try. It’s a great way to grow your organisation. And it also helps with search engine optimisation (SEO) as Google and its ilk love to see real people taking the time to share their experiences. So the more reviews your organisation has the higher up the Google rankings you will go – without spending more on marketing. It’s a win, win. But what do you do if you get a bad review?
The first thing to say is if your organisation is doing well and you have happy customers, you’re meeting the targets you set yourself then you probably won’t get many or any bad reviews. But you may get a rogue one. And how you respond to that is going to make all the difference to your reputation – not the review itself.
Let’s imagine you run a social enterprise café. You employ young people, who have no qualifications and perhaps have struggled so far in life, to give them skills and experience in the hospitality industry while they also complete training courses at college. Your café is at the heart of your community and on the whole, your customers are happy. But one day you get a review that says:
“Rude customer service, long wait, and inedible food. I would never go here again and certainly would not recommend it. I understand that they are trying to do good things but I think the staff are not ready to be in the real world serving and making food. Great idea but don’t go there if you actually want an enjoyable lunch”.
Your heart sinks. Your mind races. Who was it? Have there been any complaints? What happened? Have the staff seen this? Are they upset? Then your fight or flight kicks in. At this point, you need to stop and take a deep breath. Don’t do anything at all yet. Responding to a bad review quickly and while you are in this mindset will not help. Instead, make yourself a drink or do a small task to distract yourself.
Then come back to the review. But start inside the café. Ask staff if they are aware of any recent complaints? At the same time, reassure staff – let them know you are happy and this is just one person who was probably having a bad day. Remind them of good reviews. Set the tone for the response – try not to take it personally; although it feels like an attack on you, your people, and your business. Reassure them that you will deal with this complaint, they don’t need to do anything.
Nobody knows of any unhappy customers so you set to work on a response. You could respond to each point, explaining why you think they are wrong and that if they had a problem they should have spoken up at the time. But you’ll probably come across as defensive and perhaps aggressive. And who would want to eat in a café with that kind of atmosphere?
Instead, here are three key things to include in your response:
Apology Even if you don’t feel like it or don’t feel it is needed, this is not about you it’s about how the complainant feels so apologise. You don’t have to admit fault. You can say something like “I am sorry that your experience fell short of your expectations.”
Email As quickly as you can, take this complaint out of view of everyone else. It might be a good idea to have an email address that you use just for these sorts of occasions. You can say something along the lines of: “I would value hearing more about your experience so I can investigate. Feedback always helps us improve. Perhaps you could email me at .”
Reassurance This is your chance to defend, humble brag, and big up your team. Use this as an opportunity to talk about why many of your customers return and the good experiences they have. You might like to show your team you are proud of them, perhaps try: “I am really proud of the team we have here at Our Café. They have all overcome adversity to be here and are working hard to build better futures for themselves. Like many of us, they are still learning but I know each of them would be upset to know they had missed the mark. Each week we serve more than 200 customers who receive yummy drinks, snacks and meals, within the time frame performance mark which we set ourselves, served with great customer service. Many of our customers who return on a weekly basis tell us they do because they love the atmosphere we provide too.”
This kind of response shows other readers that reviews are listened to and acted on. That customer service matters to you. That customers matter to you.
Turning a negative into a positive
And if the complainant does take the time to email you, make sure you respond and continue in a timely, courteous manner. Try to get to the bottom of their complaint. If you need to take action, take it and let them know. Thank them for their feedback. And if you get to a good footing, you could even invite them back to try and change their mind. It is possible to turn a negative review into a positive for your organisation.
How often do you check your online reviews? Has this article helped you feel prepared for dealing with reviews in the future?
If you want help with setting up your online reviews, any aspect of your organisation’s online presence or reputation, We Are Comma can help. Email . You can also find out more about the services we offer by visiting the What We Offer page on the website.
There are five key reasons Christmas jumper day is so popular.
First, it’s simple. It’s an easy-to-understand concept. Wear a Christmas jumper then donate some money for doing so. Great! Finding a similarly simple concept to promote your charity or organisation might not be so easy but it is possible. There are a few options – either you can choose a time of year that you want to focus your efforts on and pick something familiar as a ‘hook’ to hang your campaign on; Easter bonnet day for example. Or you pick something that it iconic to your brand and focus on that.
Secondly, use an item they have or are familiar with. Everyone knows what a Christmas jumper is. Many people own them. Picking a day when everyone should wear them makes it powerful. This leads into point three.
Three, make your campaign accessible. Everyone can wear a Christmas Jumper. This is one of the reasons it is so popular in schools, places of work – everywhere. Anyone and everyone can join in – if they’re willing to wear a questionable jumper. And in fact, since Christmas jumper day launched the options for more tasteful Christmas jumpers have increased. Incidentally this has been reflected in the marketing. It started as a very tongue in cheek, dodgy jumper day. But its simplicity and popularity mean it has grown to be more middle-of-the-road. Asking people to wear ballgowns, for example, will never become so popular because they are not so easy to get hold off, a good percentage of the population would rather not wear them and many people couldn’t do their job in them.
Four, make it regular. This is the 10th annual Christmas jumper day. Schools, PTAs, hospitals, community groups, local authorities – everyone knows to expect it in early December. This means they can make it part of their plan for the year.
Five, make people feel good. This is the most important part to any successful campaign. People have to feel good for taking part. Save the Children’s Christmas jumper day makes people feel good for donating to a worthy cause. And they can build excitement about the coming celebrations for Christmas. It’s a win-win. How can your organisation leverage this feel good factor? Are you a charity that people can feel good raising money for? Are you an organisation which people can volunteer for and feel good doing so? Are you a small business that can make people feel good for supporting? Find your feel good factor and use it.
What lesson from Christmas jumper day will you be taking into your campaigns in 2022?
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