Sport England

Personal bests... just not as you know them

We recently started working with Sport England and the South Tees local delivery pilot to create a brand and develop a campaign which would encourage people to be more active, more often. The vision for You’ve Got This is to place physical activity at the centre of whole system change, driving high level social, economic and environmental aspirations for South Tees, and addressing stubborn inequalities in the communities to improve quality of life.

The project concentrates on specific communities of interest such as those with type 2 diabetes, people accessing commercial weight loss services, and working with health professionals, to build the understanding of the benefits of “prescribing” physical activity, whilst also targeting specific focus wards such as Brambles, Grangetown and North Ormesby.

To achieve this we’ve focussed on the idea of ‘personal bests’. So we’re not talking about being the fastest, the most skilled or the strongest - we’re talking about the ‘best’ in relation to each individual’s abilities - maybe they did an extra 50 metres at swimming, maybe they went swimming for the first time ever, or maybe they’ve not been swimming just yet but have signed up to a class.

This concept is based around the idea that every little counts. All those little wins can add up to make a huge difference to your quality of life. It seems in this day and age people only share the really good stuff they get up to, but if we are advocates of the idea that even the smallest of efforts are good enough, perhaps this would encourage a shift in mindset. People will start to think more positively about small changes, little wins and bitesize progress.

This is a two year project that requires us to engage with the public and professional audience. Whilst we are very much still at the start, notable early wins include:

Creating ‘The Exchange’ where we have brought together almost 80 professional partners to engage with the programme to co-create the shared vision and mission and be able to go back to their communities to implement change. The communication tactics we have implemented for this are centered around creating ‘a movement’ that professionals can be part of to affect real change in their organisations and communities.

Working with GPs to implement ‘Active Practice’ within their surgeries to help them introduce and develop conversations with patients about how they can become more active. We’ve created activity prescription forms and brand collateral as well as a local newspaper to tell local people’s stories.

The launch of a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to communicate with the public about the benefits of being active and how they can implement activity into their daily lives.

Our collaboration with The Creative Alchemist started early in the development of our programme. You’ve Got This is a multi-million pound programme of work funded through Sport England. It’s very broad and varied, built to support residents, professionals, patients, young people and those with long-term health conditions. We wanted a strong brand that would connect with all those we needed to support. We were recommended to speak to The Creative Alchemist as they had already developed the brand for ‘The Live Well Centre’ in Middlesbrough through Public Health and their project had received national and regional recognition.

During our initial discussions with the team it became clear that we had not realised how complex our needs were in relation to a brand; but they talked us through the developed stages and how they would lead the creative process based on our input. They asked us questions about our motivations, our aspirations and why this work was important. They got to the heart of our work and provided a creative expression of our ambition. In hindsight, this process was absolutely essential to get our branding right and it felt like we had created it in partnership with The Creative Alchemist.

Once we had the early brand development, we moved into creating a marketing strategy that would frame our engagement processes with local people and professionals. We wanted a strong digital media presence and their support and creativity helped us to take the right approach to utilising our brand in the right way. All the way through this process we received the right level of support and time that we need, with regular communication and progress updates to ensure we hit our crucial deadlines.

The Creative Alchemist contributes as much to our success as our team. The attention to detail and service is superb and we benefit from having access to their multi-disciplinary team; everything from web design, copy, brand and marketing expertise – all in one place. This saved us so much time and enabled us to mobilise quickly when we needed to. Our branding and marketing has been recognised at national level by Sport England and other agencies as being exemplar; combining the right tone and accessibility for our target audiences. This was only made possible through their collaborative, supportive and creative approach. I would not hesitate to recommend The Creative Alchemist to any organisation or company wanting to elevate their brand profile.

Mal Fitzgerald, Programme Director