Poppyscotland strives to raise awareness of its work to a wide audience. We want to reach out to veterans and their families to let them know that they can contact Poppyscotland for help and we want to tell our supporters how they are helping us deliver our life-changing work.
In 2012/13 we found new and exciting ways to reach out to the public, supporters and the Armed Forces community.
In 2012/13 we actively promoted Poppyscotland’s welfare services and part of this activity was producing a suite of materials outlining our key services. An important aspect of this was making the services relevant, memorable and attractive to potential beneficiaries. We recognise that not every veteran will require help at the time of seeing an advert or leaflet, however we want them to be aware of the help available should they need it in the future. With this in mind we introduced the theme Don’t forget. This reinforced our message and linked in to our overarching theme of Unforgettable, which had been introduced across other areas of activity.
Scottish Poppy Appeal
The 2012 Scottish Poppy Appeal TV & radio advertising campaign told the story of a Black Watch soldier who was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) on Remembrance Day 2011. Private Stephen (Steve) Bainbridge lost both his legs and that is a day he will never forget. Luckily for him, neither will Poppyscotland. Steve enjoyed basketball before his injuries and had since taken part in the wheelchair version of the sport. In order to create a hard-hitting but positive campaign, we built the story around a tense wheelchair basketball match. Telling Steve’s story in this way enabled us to highlight the importance and relevance of our work and we were able to communicate that through the Scottish Poppy Appeal we are here to help Steve and many others in his situation.
We launched a Scottish Poppy Appeal single, Unforgettable, sung by Ayrshire-born singer Jai McDowall, winner of Britain’s Got Talent in 2011. His cover of Nat King Cole’s classic gave us an opportunity to promote the Appeal across a number of platforms, including press, social media and as part of our retail range.
Susan Boyle and members of the West of Scotland and Edinburgh Military Wives Choirs launched the 2012 Appeal in Glasgow. The event generated a high level of media coverage, which significantly raised the profile of the campaign. Other media opportunities during the Appeal were popular, including the painting of poppies on the M8 pyramids, a veteran inspecting the poppy on the Heavy Horse sculpture on the M8, serving members of the Armed Forces visiting the Field of Remembrance and our Unforgettable Stories photo exhibition in Perth.
Raising the profile of Poppyscotland outwith November is equally important and during the period of review we generated a high level of media interest in our welfare and fundraising activities, securing broadcast and press coverage, both national and regional.
The opening of Poppyscotland Inverness in 2013 was a particular highlight as we were keen to raise awareness of the new centre in the area to attract new beneficiaries and supporters. We secured a good level of local press and broadcast coverage around the opening in June and a formal launch in September with Carolyn Caddick, Highland Council’s Armed Forces & Veterans Champion, and Danny Alexander MP generated an equally high level of coverage.
Social media went from strength to strength during 2012/13 with our Facebook following increasing from 45,000 to over 90,000, making Poppyscotland the most followed Scottish charity. As well as gaining followers it was important for us to engage with our audience. We communicated with our followers on a daily basis, offering a variety of photographs, videos, blogs and news updates. As well as recruiting new supporters, we found that Facebook has become increasingly valuable in both promoting our welfare services and providing opportunities for those in need to get in touch with us.
Our other social media channels achieved great results, with our Twitter following rising to over 5,000 and 750,000 views of our YouTube videos. The impact of our social media activity has combined to present Poppyscotland, appropriately, as modern, important and relevant.
A highlight of our social media activity during the period of review was the Flash Mob video, which we created specifically for social media and it has proved to be a great success, with over one million views.
We introduced a TV & outdoor advertising campaign in summer 2013, accompanied by a regional PR campaign, to encourage people to volunteer for the Scottish Poppy Appeal. The theme was Helping the tin reach its full potential because we know that if someone is holding a poppy tin it can collect up to 50 times more in donations than if it is on a shelf or counter. We wanted to show that volunteers make a difference and even by getting involved for just a few hours, the impact is huge. The campaign, which was targeted in areas with volunteer vacancies and low numbers of volunteers, generated 486 enquiries. From this, 118 new volunteers came on board.
Poppyscotland’s merchandise range continues to grow in popularity. In 2012/13 our sales increased from £130,000 to £220,000 and we added a number of new items to the product range. The retail range offers supporters a new and modern way to support us all year round.
Most of our activity takes place around the Scottish Poppy Appeal period and in November 2012 we introduced eight ‘poppy-up’ shops across the central belt in order to make our brand and products more visible and accessible. We saw an increase both in sales and in donations as people often put money in the poppy tins at the sites as well as buying products. The poppy-up shops were very popular and we intend to roll them out across further areas in the future.