Data data everywhere, but do we want to share?

A thought from Data data everywhere, but do we want to share?

It's not often that a company is faced with a problem as huge as creating a campaign that appeals to every demographic in the UK, but that's exactly what NHS UK faced when they needed to communicate the new central data system being introduced in the spring.

How do you create a marketing campaign that appeals to everyone?

What was their solution to this problem? A leaflet. A DL tri-fold posted through the door via shared distribution - along with the local free rag and take-away menus. Did you receive yours? Did you understand the content? Did it explain effectively what was going to happen with your personal data held by your local GP surgery? The answer is likely to be “no”, and you wouldn’t be alone, so many people have missed the message that NHS UK have postponed the introduction of the programme by six months whilst they address the lack of communication issue.

This isn’t the first time that a national body has been faced with the challenge of communicating a large-scale change with an opt-out mechanism, that affects us all. In October 2012 there was a universal change to the way our pensions would work and the government set about delivering the message in a multi-channel campaign that covered broadcast, print, ambient and social media supported by a really strong PR campaign that saw the story covered in all the nationals and all on the prime-time news programmes both on TV and Radio.

What went wrong?

So why didn’t NHS UK do the same? I really don’t know the answer but it has certainly turned some heads and caused such a stir that the programme is on hold. At present, NHS UK are taking the stance that the programme will go ahead, but delayed by six months whilst they get their communication in order first. It’s got to be costly to press pause on a programme like that, so close to launch, but this woeful tale surely only pays to remind us all of the importance of multi- channel communication.

No PR is bad PR

But hold on a minute, we’re all talking about this, granted in a negative light, but we’re talking about it. I don’t remember such a discussion of the introduction of work place pensions, and for all the money thrown at the campaign, do you really understand what the changes to your pension really mean? Do both examples serve to prove that traditional print campaigns are a thing of the past? And if so, what’s the “thing” of the future? Does a multi-channel campaign, like the work place pensions one, only serve to prove that if you shout the message too loud, too often it just becomes noise? Perhaps the thing if the future is a cherry-picking of channels for a concentrated message that speaks clearly above the noise of all the other messages that we’re bombarded with every day. Or perhaps covering all bases is the safest option?

Have your say

comments powered by Disqus