Background

Approximately one person dies by suicide every fortnight in Dudley, with 75% of those who die by suicide being unknown to specialist services.

Concerned about these figures, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) partnered with us to promote suicide awareness and reduce the suicide rate throughout the Borough.

A Reach Out advert on a bus shelter
The Reach Out website being viewed on a mobile phone

Target audience research

Our first step was to gather information about the subject matter and target audience. We invited influential members of the suicide prevention community such as the fire service, police and local charities to a workshop, extracting their expertise and gaining crucial knowledge about the target audience.

We also workshopped with the Council to identify their goals, target audience, content ideas and metrics, enabling our team to deliver objective-driven work with a commitment to demonstrate marketing ROI.

Following our initial workshop with the Council, we created three personas that helped us to visualise our target audience. We then used these personas to develop in-depth user journey maps and conversion funnels. These documents helped us to better understand the target audience and develop compassionate and user-centric content.

Trigger points of three user profiles
Sketches of the Reach Out Sitemap on graph paper

This approach helped us to better understand the target audience and develop compassionate, user-centric content.

Copywriting

With a better understanding of the target audience, we turned our focus to content production. By analysing the user journey flow for each persona, we identified ‘Content Solutions’ (the types of content each persona would be looking for) and used them to plot out a sitemap.

With working titles and pages agreed, the next task was to develop engaging content. To help us get it right first time, we generated a Content Plan for each page. This documented page objectives, target audience, keywords and desired user outcomes.

Brand Identity

This campaign was all about being human, instilling support and improving awareness, so it was important that the brand identity echoed this. We created a handful of identities, but after user-testing, the ‘Reach Out’ identity was selected. The phrase Reach Out is compassionate advice that instils trust and support, with an urgency that matches the severity of suicide.

The logo combined bold and regular font weights to create legibility and emphasise the cause. Suicide is a serious topic, so we opted for simple, sans serif fonts. We used bold colours with high contrast to increase legibility, as well as contrasting uppercase and lowercase characters in the identity to emphasise the importance of the topic.

The Reach Out style tile e.g. typography, colours and vertical rhythm, being viewed on a tablet.
An image of the Reach Out logo

Website

The target audience for Reach Out may navigate to the site in a hurry if they feel unsafe or concerned, so one of the critical success factors for the website was accessibility. We built a website that was as fast and lightweight as it could be, so that users could access advice and support as fast as possible.

The user journey maps helped us to identify what types of content each persona wanted, and the potential drop-off points in their journey. We made sure that the page structure corresponded with this insight, separating content into three key segments and placing striking yellow blocks at the top of the homepage that clearly signposted users to each segment.

A collage of the Reach Out website being viewed on a laptop, tablet and mobile phone

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council launched the Reach Out campaign in December 2018, sharing an encouraging message to people across the borough – it’s ok to talk about suicide.

What's next?

In its first month, the site had 100% positive response from users who were asked to rate ‘How useful did you find the site?’ from 1 to 5.

In an effort to keep this momentum going, we’ve connected Reach Out to a local time-critical delivery service who have agreed to have the Reach Out identity decaled onto their delivery vans. As they deliver to their clients all over the UK, they’ll be sharing the Reach Out campaign with the entire nation.