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International association for the measurement and evaluation of communication
Campaign title: New Year Campaign
Client/Entering Company: Cision
Company Name: Slimming World
Slimming World adopted the Integrated Evaluation Framework to support their flagship New Year campaign in 2017. For their latest campaign in January 2018, they developed the Framework further, building on the benchmarks and learnings from the previous year. Slimming World used integrated measurement across mainstream and social media analysis, consumer surveys and website analytics to track the quantity and quality of media outputs, and measure how these have changed target audience perceptions and driven membership.
Slimming World’s objective is to inspire and support people who want to lose weight to achieve their goals, with an emphasis on improving self-esteem and confidence as well as shedding the physical burden of excess weight. The most important time of the year for the company is January, when people make resolutions to become healthier and lose weight. For many years Slimming World’s external communications team has run an annual New Year campaign to raise awareness of the organisation and drive new membership.
In December 2016, the team worked with Cision to adopt the Integrated Evaluation Framework – identifying communications objectives, developing a strategic plan to achieve these goals, and building a measurement programme to gauge success and guide activity. For December 2017, the team evolved the Framework to support the latest campaign, taking learnings from the previous year and establishing benchmarks to measure performance against (see Appendix 1).
The objectives were:
To increase the quantity and quality of media exposure and ensure consistency across multiple channels:
To improve consumer perceptions of Slimming World:
To drive engagement and membership:
Analysis from the 2016-2017 campaign, together with broader analysis of the weight-loss sector, had highlighted opportunities for the 2017-2018 campaign. The 2016-2017 campaign had generated strong exposure, but detailed analysis showed that coverage was more successful at reaching the target male audiences than target female audiences.
To redress the balance, Slimming World used Cision’s UKPulse data to identify target media lists aimed at each audience. This resulted in an extended media strategy, moving beyond an emphasis on national online and print media to increase coverage in priority consumer and regional media.
Slimming World had also identified the opportunity to adopt a more co-ordinated approach across social and mainstream channels. The sector-based media analysis together with focus group research among Slimming World members had highlighted a growing concern around negative body image and its link to a lack of physical and emotional well-being. Slimming World used this to build the 2017-2018 campaign around the concept of ‘being the best version of yourself’. This involved having a more holistic approach to well-being, highlighting the links between sustained weight-loss and improved health and self-esteem.
The company supported this with multiple levels of activity involving several different specific campaigns:
Mainstream and social media analysis was used to measure the resulting media coverage and engagement as the campaign developed. Consumer surveys were used to measure the change in audience awareness, knowledge and consideration over the course of the campaign and to show these changes in comparison with the previous year.
Finally, website analytics were used to measure the number of people going to the Slimming World website because of the campaign, and to track how people were using the website to find their nearest Slimming World group and to sign up as members.
Slimming World worked with Cision to develop an Integrated Evaluation Framework for the 2016-2017 New Year campaign. This identified objectives, helped the communications team build a strategy and activity plan to support these goals and to build an integrated measurement programme to evaluate the results.
The measurement involved human-coded media analysis to measure the quantity and quality of coverage in mainstream media. Metrics included sentiment, message delivery, tracking of specific campaigns, the presence of spokespeople and calls-to-action, such as the use of the Slimming World website URL. Cision used UKPulse, a survey based on a representative sample of 10,000 people, produced in partnership with market research company Opinion Matters, to segment target audiences for the campaign.
The data was used to identify a key target media list for these audiences and to gauge the resulting reach to each audience.
To understand the audience response, Cision ran audience surveys with market research company USurv. These asked specific questions relating to awareness of Slimming World, its reputation, the association with “achieving your target weight”, and likelihood of using the organisation. The survey was run before and after the campaign to track changes in response, each time based on a sample size of 1,000 people.
Finally, Slimming World used website analytics and data tools to measure how the campaign and media engagement activities resulted in an increase in website visits and sign-ups and retained members.
The integrated evaluation framework was updated for 2017-2018 to reflect new objectives and strategy based on learnings from the previous year’s campaign. The measurement results from 2016-2017 were used to set benchmarks against which the latest campaign could be compared (see Objectives).
Analysis included a broader sector-wide analysis, including the analysis of coverage from five other weight-loss organisations: Weight Watchers, Rosemary Conley, Cambridge Diet, LighterLife and Jenny Craig. This was used to identify important themes that could be used for the 2017-2018 campaign.
The data was additionally used to establish a benchmark for share-of-voice that could be tracked for both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. Social media analytics were introduced to reflect the focus on integrated activity across mainstream and social channels. This tracked posts, impressions, hashtag usage and engagement metrics across social channels including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Website analytics for the Slimming World site continued to be measured with the addition of tracking referrals to the site from social media and online news sites. This was used to track specific user journeys as people read online content, visited the website and then searched for their nearest Slimming World group before signing up as a member.
The Usurv surveys were deployed at regular intervals over the course of 2017. Six iterations have run since the original benchmark in December 2016: January 2017, April 2017, July 2017, October 2017,
December 2017 and January 2018. This has run alongside quarterly media analysis to gauge the evolving relationship between media outputs and audience outcomes.
Driving media exposure:
The 2017-2018 campaign generated a total of 664 articles over the 2017-2018 campaign, a 30 percent increase on 2016-2017. The broader range of media activity resulted in a 50 percent increase in proactively-generated coverage from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018. The phasing of different activity meant that coverage was sustained over a longer time – the last three weeks of January yielded 70 percent more coverage than the previous year (see Appendix 2).
The strategy to drive more regional and consumer media resulted in a 77 percent increase in coverage in regional media and a 41 percent increase in consumer media. This included the appearances in titles that had previously not carried coverage, such as Now magazine. The result was improved targeting to Slimming World’s key audiences. Reach to women aged 16-29 increased from 47 percent to 50 percent, while reach to women aged 30-44 increased from 46 percent to 49 percent.
The quality of coverage also improved – in 2017-2018, 90 percent of articles were favourable, against 81 percent in 2016-2017, while the proportion of articles delivering messages increased significantly from 60 percent to 79 percent.
Slimming World achieved a 68 percent share-of-voice against five other weight-loss organisations, a 9 percentage-point increase from 2016-2017.
Changing audience perception:
The Usurv consumer survey showed that 78 percent of people had claimed that they read coverage about Slimming World. More than three-quarters of these (77 percent) said that they had read mostly positive coverage (see Appendix 3). As a result, the proportion of people who felt that Slimming World enjoyed a positive reputation increased from 74 percent to 79 percent over the course of the 2017-2018 campaign.
Before the 2016-2017 campaign this figure was 61 percent, so there has been an 18 percentage-point increase in positive reputation over the last two years. Before the 2016-2017 campaign, 56 percent of people associated Slimming World with “achieving their ideal weight” which increased to 68 percent at the end of the campaign. After the 2017-2018 campaign this increased to 73 percent, which means that, over the last two years, this association has gone from just over a half of consumers to almost three-quarters.
The proportion of people that say they are likely to use Slimming World increased from 35 percent to 45 percent during the 2016-2017 campaign and from 45 percent to 51 percent in the 2017-2018 campaign (see Appendix 4), meaning that over the last two years the percentage of people considering using Slimming World has increased from about a third to over a half.
Driving engagement and membership:
Jenny Caven, Head of External Affairs for Slimming World, commented:
“Implementing the Integrated Evaluation Framework was a watershed moment for us. It has enabled us to focus on what really matters: understanding how our media relations strategy is maximising the quality of media exposure across multiple channels and how our earned media activity is best integrated with our shared and owned channels. Understanding how this is changing audience perceptions and building membership helps us to shape our external communications programme. For the 2017-2018 campaign we were able to build on the benchmarks and learnings established the previous year and to demonstrably improve our performance. By applying the principles of the Framework, we have built a success story that can be shared not only with important internal stakeholders, but also with the broader communications industry. It has been empowering to become part of the community of communications practitioners developing and sharing best practice, for the benefit of us all.”
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