We wanted to work with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust after noticing that there were opportunities to improve on the media and public interest in National Stalking Awareness Week. Charlotte had worked with them previously, when she was working on Anadin, and both of us have had some personal experiences to draw on.
When we got in touch to offer our help, Suzy Lamplugh Trust had already identified a significant newshook for the 2017 campaign, with the publication of a report into stalking behaviours by Dr Jane Monckton Smith, a criminologist from the University of Gloucestershire, and we undertook to publicise this through media relations and social channels.
With only 4 months to go before the Awareness Week, there were a number of hurdles to overcome – no confirmation of the contents of the intended report, no communications officer at the Trust and no strategic plan in place. Whilst having media coverage peaks when the Trust had a big campaign, it had previously been reactive to requests from the media – causing difficulties with availability of case studies and speakers – but had not been in a position to be overly proactive. There were no pre-existing relationships with media to draw upon.
Working with the Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, we created a communications plan which was manageable given the staffing levels, budget and timeframe. Central to this was working with the researchers to uncover the newshooks and creating press materials that would grab attention. Pre-sells were made under embargo to planning desks at the BBC, ITV and other news outlets including the Press Association. A campaign logo was also created and used in a series of posters for educating police officers.
Following the sell-in, the Press Association picked up the story editorially, a fantastic boost which really helped to drive the ongoing media interest. Coverage appeared in almost every national newspaper – including The Times, The Sun, The Guardian – as well as key online outlets such as The Huffington Post. Broadcast coverage was achieved through BBC, Sky, Channel 5 and ITV, including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.
Victoria Charleston, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at Suzy Lamplugh Trust, commented, “This has been our most successful awareness week campaign to date. We are delighted that the widespread coverage achieved prompted so many people to get in touch, including those from other associated organisations such as Women’s Aid. Calls to the National Stalking Helpline have increased, as more people take the first step in seeking help to address the stalking they are experiencing. We are looking forward to working with Morton Waters who will be providing ongoing strategic support for our communications activities including National Stalking Awareness Week 2018.”