Communications Lessons from a Prince

— Katie Appleby, WE 

Princes William and Harry hit the headlines in the UK last week, spearheading a charity campaign Heads Together which challenges the stigma and perceptions associated with mental health. This media frenzy has coincided with ‘Stress Awareness Month’ (April), proving just how important timing, and influencers (okay, royals) can have on a campaign.

While Prince William has been FaceTiming Lady Gaga and Prince Harry’s been doing the interview rounds, other organisations and public figures have taken the opportunity to speak about their experiences and offer advice. The BBC is running a season of films on mental health across TV, radio and online, the Virgin Money London Marathon has chosen Heads Together as their Charity of the Year for 2017 and conversations on the subject of mental health have spiked across UK social, digital and print media.

So what can communications professionals trying to create inspiring, impactful campaigns learn from this?


Campaign strategy

If your campaign is around a potentially sensitive subject, like mental health, you should probably take extra care when devising a campaign strategy and response matrix. Find a balance between provoking an emotive response (shock, disgust, amazement, whatever) and preventing a backlash and think about everything from content format to copy, from publishing platform to the people you are trying to reach. What does the consumer want to watch/read/hear/experience; what does your brand want to say; and how can your campaign find that middle ground and flourish?


Working with influencers

Royals may be out of reach, but think big if you’re using influencers to promote your product or service. Use social listening and analytics tools like Moz’s Twitter tool or Onalytica to identify suitable targets and create priority-ordered lists based on results and relevance. Do your research to determine whether an influencer’s audience matches your brand’s audience and think about the kind of content they produce (videos, social media stories, blogs) and across what platforms.


End goal

In the same way that telling the end of a story before the beginning can reel readers in, planning a campaign backwards can help to clarify the approach. Start with the end goal – what’s the best thing that could come out of this campaign? Then work backwards, what are you going to produce in order to meet this end goal and finally, how and who is going to produce this campaign content.

Whether you want to generate conversations at grass-roots level or you’ve got a world exclusive to offer the international press, if you tell an engaging story at the right time and leverage influence where possible, you can get in front of your intended audience – and stay there.