Awards case study: How Powwownow secured 120 business sign-ups from one event

Find out how Powwownow changed the perception of flexible working with a PR campaign that facilitated 120 business sign-ups at a single event

About

Powwownow’s goal is to increase awareness of the major benefits of smarter working. Powwownow wants to empower office workers by helping them become more productive and efficient  – ultimately championing flexibility as the best approach to modern-day work.

Strategy

Within business, there was a widespread misunderstanding of what smarter working actually meant for organisations and employees. Many decision-makers confused flexible working with remote working and the negative assumptions associated, whereby if employees aren’t in the office, they’ll have too many distractions and won’t be as productive. The campaign needed to address these misconceptions and educate both sides on the benefits of smarter working.

So Powwownow created the 'smarter working initiative (SWI), a PR campaign culminating in an awareness day to encourage business leaders to offer their employees the opportunity to work flexibly on 25 July 2016, and inspire them to implement this policy going forward. It aimed to change attitudes across a demographic who’ve been notoriously reluctant to adopt new working practices.

Campaign objectives

In order to achieve the main objective of the PR campaign (to raise awareness of the benefits of flexible working), Powwownow agreed on an ambitious target of signing up 50 companies. The company, therefore, needed to secure significant press coverage before, during and after the campaign to achieve maximum reach and encourage others to consider the benefits of flexible working and ultimately sign up.

The target audience  

Powwownow targeted business leaders and decision-makers across UK companies of all sizes, as well as their employees.

The company wanted to directly address the misconceptions and change attitudes by helping them experience the positive benefits first-hand.

Media, channels or techniques used

Powwownow’s PR strategy combined thought leadership, data, interviews and social media.

The thought leadership content targeted employees, employers and business leaders; with the company producing pieces that explored the benefits of flexible working for B2B press and top tips for staying productive in The Sun for the B2C press. Many pieces of commentary were reactive to the news agenda, across online, print and broadcast media, such as a ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the Evening Standard, offering remote working advice on the eve of a tube strike.

To support the campaign with informed and reliable data, Powwownow also commissioned European market research to reveal the working habits of employers and employees across the continent, which the company took to the business press as news stories.

Powwownow also secured a number of broadcast interviews for the company’s key directors on the benefits of flexible working, during which they were able to mention the SWI campaign.

The campaign’s reach was increased with a targeted social strategy, asking influential bloggers, journalists and members of the public to tweet images of themselves working smarter with the hashtag #Flexie to show that working flexibly really does work in practice. Running a social media competition incentivised engagement that led to coverage in The Sun and B2B Marketing, as well as increasing traffic to the SWI website.

To celebrate the day itself, Powwownow organised a yoga session on Richmond Green, run by its team to encourage passers-by to get involved and learn more about flexible working practices. The company also designed giant Instagram frames, circulated around Richmond to create photo opportunities for local employees and shared on social media for additional reach. The day was underpinned by a brand-to-hand exercise which saw local workers receive free branded items intended to help them work more productively.

Awards case study: How Powwownow secured 120 business sign-ups from one event image

Timescales of the campaign

Powwownow commissioned European research in April 2016 to ensure it had sufficient time to collate and analyse the data to support thought-leadership and reactive media opportunities.

Monday 25 July 2016 was chosen as the official day for the SWI, as the first working day of the school summer holidays. The marketing team began generating high-quality content to raise awareness two months prior, in May 2016.

Budgets

PHA Media Technology & Innovation’s fees for the campaign were £3500 and the European data cost £2500.

Results

In total for PR, the SWI gained over 30 pieces of coverage across national, consumer, regional and trade media, reaching a total of 17,522,700 people around the UK and Europe.

Powwownow more than doubled their initial target of business sign-ups by securing over 120 businesses, including leading UK employers such as Purplebricks.com, RED Driving School and Orlebar Brown. Over 100,000 UK employees worked flexibly on the day thanks to the initiative.

In the months leading up to the SWI, MD Jason Downes and FD Andrew Johnson appeared on BBC ‘Business Live’, Sky News, LondonLive, talkRadio and Share Radio discussing topics including business efficiency and the rise of technology to facilitate flexible working.

The initiative also received coverage across online and traditional media. Business leaders were reached online through thought-leadership pieces for MDs, CTOs and FDs across publications such as Virgin.com and Real Business. To target employees, Powwownow also secured press on consumer-led websites such as metro.co.uk and Marie Claire through data from the European research and thought leadership. The initiative was also covered nationally in The Telegraph and The Sun – the latter was a prominent photo story in the ‘Sunemployment’ section.

The SWI campaign generated a total social media reach of 4,042,922.

Not only did the campaign reach a far wider audience than originally anticipated, it established positive brand awareness and positively shifted assumptions about flexible working. After the initiative, 78% of business owners who did not previously offer flexible working to their employees said they’d do so in 2017 and beyond – a tangible change in attitudes towards smarter working.

Client testimonial

“The Smarter Working Initiative has been our most successful PR campaign to date. By leveraging smarter ways of working, we were able to grow our brand and shift attitudes towards more forward ways of thinking. With the great reception we received last year after running it for the first time, we will undoubtedly be putting in even more time and resource into the campaign to run it again this year on July 24 2017.” Jason Downes, MD, Powwownow

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners

This submission won the award for 'Best public relations campaign' at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: 'The smarter working initiative' by Powwownow.

See the full list of winners

Awards case study: How Powwownow secured 120 business sign-ups from one event