Marketing Communications Lessons From The Heads Together Campaign

Marketing Communications Lessons From The Heads Together Marathon Campaign

Marketing Communications Lessons From The Heads Together Marathon Campaign

Over the past few months, I’ve been watching the Heads Together campaign with great interest as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry aim to end the stigma surrounding mental health. Partly because I used to work in the mental health field myself. And partly because there are so many marketing communications lessons to learn from the inspirational Heads Together campaign.

In this article, I explore how you can run a marketing campaign like William, Kate and Harry, by using the DRIP model.

Launched in April 2016, the Heads Together team used the platform of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year as a catalyst to change the conversation about mental health. When the Royal trio get together, they are an almighty media magnet. However there’s still a huge stigma around mental health so the Royals’ mental health message could have blown up in their faces. But it struck a chord with the British public who remember two sombre young boys walking in their mother’s funeral procession.

So when Prince Harry opened up in an interview with Bryony Gordon last week that he had sought counselling to help him deal with his feelings over the loss of his mother – and that on several occasions he’d been close to a breakdown – there was an outpouring of public positivity. By giving such a candid and moving interview, Prince Harry demonstrated the aim of the Heads Together and quite literally started a conversation about mental health, drawing on his own story.

Because we’re not used to, nor do we expect this level of honesty from the Royal Family, this took us by surprise. The media responded, as was the intention of the interview, by running the story across all its networks and across the globe. It was this strategy that helped to differentiate the Heads Together campaign from previous mental health campaigns, and kick start millions of conversations. Differentiation is the first stage of a DRIP campaign.

What's DRIP?

DRIP is an acronym for differentiate, reinforce, inform and persuade:

Differentiate – Show where a product or service sits in the market place.

Reinforce – Consolidate and strengthen your brand messages by explaining why your product or service is superior, cheaper or easier to use.

Inform – Increase people’s awareness of the brand by educating the marketing about availability, features and benefits.

Persuade – Encourage the target audience to behave in a particular way e.g. visit a website, download a lead magnet, share on social media or request a trial.

Developed by Chris Fill, the DRIP model is founded on the principle that the aim of any marketing communications campaign is to engage its target audience. Each of the four elements have a specific purpose, and follow each other in a sequence. This makes the DRIP model particularly useful when launching a new product or service, or re-positioning your brand.

How The Heads Together Campaign Used The DRIP Model

The Heads Together campaign used the DRIP model to develop a rationale and objectives for each stage. These then determined the ‘how’ this would be achieved.

1. Differentiate

The rationale of the Heads Together campaign was to shine a light on the power of conversation, and its aim was to encourage millions of conversations. The ‘how’ was to use the opportunities offered by being the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year as a rallying point.

The Royal trio mirrored the behaviour they wanted to trigger by:

  • Prince Harry sharing his story with the Telegraph journalist Bryony Gordon;

  • Prince William having a candid discussion with Lady Gaga on Facetime

  • Releasing a YouTube video where they discuss their goal of shining a light on the power of conversation;

  • An appearance by Prince William and Kate on BBC’s Radio 1.

2. Reinforce

The rationale was to explain why it’s ‘#okaytosay’ and the objective was to partner with key influencers who would share their mental health challenges. The campaign created a series of 12 YouTube videos where public figures like Stephen Fry, Rio Ferdinand, Freddie Flintoff and Ruby Wax opened up about the moment they first started to talk about their mental health challenges.

These stories were featured in newspapers, magazines, as well as on TV and radio. They were amplified by sharing across all social media platforms.

3. Inform

The rationale was to share the role that physical activity, particularly running, can play in improving mental health, and the objective was to get 1,000 people running the London marathon as part of the Heads Together Team. The BBC made a two-part documentary, Mind Over Marathon, in which the presenter Nick Knowles and a team of professionals help an unlikely group of people with mental health problems to prepare for the marathon.

The documentary was featured on primetime TV, attracting further media coverage and triggering hundreds of thousands more conversations as viewers connected with the runners’ stories.

4. Persuade

The challenge was to engage the British public in taking action so Heads Together launched its ‘#okaytosay’ campaign and got companies that own and run prominent London locations to demonstrate their support with branded displays E.g.

  • The London Eye, the South Bank Centre, Old Vic, National Theatre Battersea Power Station and the 2012 Olympic stadium put on a night time blue light display.

  • Wax figures at Madame Tussauds wore blue headbands.

  • 70 post boxes along the Marathon route wore blue headbands.

The #okaytosay campaign was reinforced by:

  • Thousands of marathon runners wearing the blue headband;

  • Encouraging Facebook users, including with paid advertising, to change their profile to include the blue headband;

  • Trying out the Heads Together headband on the Snapchat filter;

  • Encouraging Twitter and Instagram users to use the hashtags #okaytosay, #TeamHeadsTogether and #HeadsTogether on Twitter.

  • Sharing across all the social media platforms.

Marathon Day

William, Kate and Harry were active throughout Marathon Day, officially starting the London Marathon, cheering on runners at selected viewing points, giving out bottles of water on route and handing out medals, hugs and high fives to congratulate those who’d taken part. As well as of course sharing photos and videos on social media. The BBC mentioned the Heads Together throughout its coverage of the marathon, and the story was featured on all media outlets – from newspapers, TV to radio.

Using The DRIP Model Yourself

While you may not have the media power of the Royal trio, you can nevertheless apply the principles of the DRIP model to your own marketing communications. The DRIP model takes you through a simple, structured process for either launching a new product or service, or for repositioning your brand. What’s important is to think about how you can use the different marketing channels – from PR, social media, paid advertising to influencer marketing – to create and amplify a powerful message.

Join The Conversation

Question: How can you apply the DRIP model to your next marketing communications plan? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share how you’re going to use this in the comments box below.

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I’m Denyse Whillier, a Sussex and London based business coach and consultant. I work with responsible businesses to build profitable and successful brands of the future. To do so, I draw on Built To Succeed™, my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO.

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