Using memory to establish a new emergency number
We’ve all been there – you’re at home and suddenly it goes dark. The power’s gone and we blindly scrabble around trying to find an electricity bill to call our supplier. This process was all about change with the introduction of a new emergency number from Energy Network Association (ENA). However, getting people to remember yet another number was going to be a challenge.
By applying the behavioural approaches of neurology and psychology and placing semantic and episodic memory at the core of our media strategy to raise awareness and drive long-term recall we were able raise awareness by 15%, putting it into the top 10% of new brand awareness campaigns.
The Energy Networks Association needed to launch and drive awareness of a brand new 3- digit number, 105, for people to contact their local electricity distribution company in case of a power cut or domestic emergency.
The campaign called for targeting all 18+ adults through a nation-wide approach, while always being sensitive to the specific regional requirements of each of the 20+ partners who form the ENA. In an already over-saturated market, the challenge lay in how we got people to actively memorise the number and associate it with a power cut.
To get people to actively memorise the number we applied the behavioural approaches of neurology and psychology. Research has shown that semantic (factual knowledge) and episodic (personal experiences) memory working together is the most effective way to migrate short term memories to long term recollections.
We used a combination of high frequency media (TV, OOH , online display and digital radio) to drive message penetration (the semantic memory), and to create the sense of experience (the episodic memory) we created engaging and interactive online ad formats, radio PR and contextual programmatic activity, including high-impact display ads in line with adverse weather forecasts.
The ads were trigged based on a number of core parameters to ensure efficiency and effectiveness: targeting areas that have windy or cloudy weather, areas affected by snow and a geo-targeted strategy targeting users in rural and coastline areas.
Net awareness rose to 15% among all UK adults from a pre-campaign base of zero (versus advertising effectiveness norms of 4% based on media spend). This result puts ENA’s launch into the top 10% of brand awareness campaigns for new product launches.
The real test for ENA’s new number came with the arrival of Storm Doris. A month later, the new number was receiving an average 4000 calls during peak periods. But with the event of Storm Doris this increased to a staggering 37,000 calls – clearly demonstrating the campaign’s effectiveness.