How often do we save the best bit until last? We’re talking here about evaluation of course. Great communications and marketing campaigns are often dreamt up and implemented – yet evaluation might sometimes be an after-thought or bolt-on. This is a shame as it is the evaluation of impact which ultimately determines our worth. As creatives, measurement can sometimes be difficult or obscure. It can be hard sometimes to prove the correlation between campaign and impact. But sourcing the evidence of this relationship is critical to our raison d’etre. Creativity is great, but creativity with purpose and power is greater.

In a recent campaign with Health Education England we proved beyond all reasonable doubt that design, branding, social media and marketing have a valuable role to play. The campaign built on our work with Health Education colleagues in the East Midlands and took the learning gained from this pilot onto the national stage. Our task was to cost effectively encourage NHS staff who had left their health careers to return to the workplace -  #iamreadytoreturn. The focus of the campaign was on allied health professionals and healthcare scientists. 

Following our multi-media campaign staged over a three-month period some 421 people made initial approaches for further information, with 233 of those taking steps to return to the NHS workplace. To date, 60 healthcare professionals have re-registered to resume their careers. We believe the equivalent cost of training 60 allied health professionals and healthcare scientists would have been far greater than the cost of the campaign. In this way we can say that this campaign and programme represented good value for money and delivered experienced professionals back into practice.

It’s not just about the impact on money, although saving funds to be used elsewhere in our NHS is a laudable and rewarding goal. It’s about people. Our creative campaign has helped change people’s lives. It has helped transform the lives of employees, and ultimately, patients.

Simone: “Five months ago I was a stay-at-home mum lacking confidence, wondering if I would ever be back in my profession and now I am starting a new chapter in my life, applying for jobs! Good luck to all of you going through your journeys, it feels amazing after it is completed!”

Isla: “Today was my first day as a band five physio. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It's worth all the hard work! Thanks so much to everyone.”

How did we do it? Through a tailored, targeted, and evaluated campaign that put over compelling messages to the people we needed to speak to. We used a variety of means – videos, emails footers and downloadable resources to name just a few – but we found most success through social media, boosting posts on key apps that we knew our audience used. Inspired by online conversations, these professionals are now back again in workplace conversations.

The campaign won hearts and minds and crucially won NHS professionals back to the workplace. It’s still online now so we can expect even more people to respond, further lowering the cost of the campaign and programme per successful returning employee. We knew we had a great campaign but there’s a big difference between believing in your creative work and being able to demonstrate its impact. We know its effectiveness both in terms of outputs and outcomes. Big ideas matter in design and marketing. But big ideas, backed up by big numbers, are even better.


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