Refuge at the Sole Communicators Group
A bit of background
Refuge is a national domestic violence charity which supports 3,000 women and children on any given day. It provides a network of services, from refuges and advocacy to community outreach. Helen provided some truly shocking statistics:
- 25% of women will be abused in their life-times
- 30 women attempt suicide every day in the UK to try to escape from an abusive relationship
- 750,000 children witness domestic abuse every year
- Domestic violence is the biggest issue affecting all women
How the campaign came about
The charity was approached by BBH, an agency it had worked with in the past, who wanted to offer pro bono support. They pitched an idea to reach a notoriously difficult audience: teenage girls. Over half of teenage girls have witnessed domestic violence and 48% think it is acceptable for a boyfriend to get aggressive. The most disturbing fact was that 1 in 5 of 16-18 year old girls do not recognise hitting, slapping or being pressurised into sex as domestic violence. Clearly this had to change.
Enter the Trojan horse
Teenage girls are the biggest users of social networks and create their own social space where they don’t have to listen to anything they don’t want to hear. For them, social media is very personal and they connect with people they will never meet face to face but who they feel a bond with.
Lauren Luke is a YouTube make-up vlogger who has over 400,000 subscribers, most of which are teenage girls who see Lauren as an older sister. Lauren agreed to use her reach to get out a message that this audience would never seek out themselves.
Apart from the huge amount of press coverage the campaign received, the biggest measure of success can be seen in the 5,558 (and counting) YouTube comments, like these:
- Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and to step out of your comfort zone.
- The digital environment offers a wealth of opportunities to achieve media exposure at little cost but only if you truly know your audience and where to find them.
- A small team, working with external supporters like BBH, can achieve a lot.
This month the Sole Communicators special interest group celebrated their first birthday. The group started with around eight people and has grown to thirty plus. If you are a sole communicator for your charity or a freelancer, you can come and hear about campaigns like Don’t Cover it Up. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.