Jul 17, 2020

The power of a simple story, well told

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Communication is 93 percent non-verbal. Then, imagine being hard of hearing AND not being able to see the facial gestures of the person you are trying to communicate with. Welcome to the new reality for millions of people who struggle to hear, and now face the compound barriers of muffled speech and masks hiding facial expressions.

For our client Hidden Hearing, with 300 high street hearing centres and peripatetic testing units, the new mask-world sent alarm bells ringing. First, their centres had been shut for lockdown and only now cautiously reopening to serve the 11 million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing. We couldn’t see people who needed help quickly enough, there was an opportunity to do more to help. Whilst branches were off-limits and Hidden Hearing focused on providing door-to-door care for its hearing aid customers, we saw an opportunity to do more for the wider community.

ROAD’s plan? … with a 5 day turn around... enlist the help of Charlie Raine, a charming and motivated YouTuber and influencer within the hard of hearing community, to teach the world the five key phrases in accessible sign language to get by in ‘mask-world’, create a resource pack for customer-facing organisations to train their staff to use it…including a simple badge with ‘Please Speak Up’.. and, of course, create some publicity.

The communications plan was to focus on ‘local and social’…and see if we could host news interviews and bulletins from inside Hidden Hearing’s newest high street hearing centres. The result was live broadcasts on BBC TV South East (live), BBC News Website, BBC Newcastle, Liverpool Echo, and several other regional newspapers and radio stations. Our simply filmed content for social was shared around the hard of hearing community and other target networks.

The outcome - a serious uptake in demand for the ‘Please Speak Up’ badges and resource packs, an increase in hearing appointments across Hidden Hearing’s estate, and a rise in the unit value of sales.

Proof that a truly collaborative approach between agency and client, and a simple story, well told, works every time.

See the BBC News Coverage, and Charlie’s 5 simple signs here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-tyne-53430617/youtuber-helps-deaf-people-communicate-in-pandemic


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Jul 17, 2020