News Article ————

Corporate Comms during geopolitical upheaval: a Global Agency award-nomination for Say Communications

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Published Date 05.06.2024

Say Communications is thrilled to have been recognised once again for the communications support we provide for The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) annual awareness week – OT Week. While our corporate and digital comms work for this professional membership organisation for occupational therapists (OTs) has received awards previously, for 2023’s OT Week we are delighted to have been recognised for our comms agility when responding to an unexpected issue.

About us

Say Communications is an integrated healthcare and b2b technology PR and Marketing agency that is driving positive change through award-winning programmes that make a real difference. Our approach is effective: we combine insight, deep industry knowledge and long-term connections to help our clients cut through the noise and achieve their strategic goals.

Say’s specialised healthcare PR and comms arm creates award-winning, integrated campaigns for pharma and life sciences companies, health and MedTech organisations, professional bodies, health charities, the NHS and social care services, and brands operating in the consumer health, wellness and nutrition sectors. We focus on what matters to them, their brand and their audiences.

The Say Communications team: left to right Stefi Rucci, Federico Marchisio, Lorraine Walters

Our Award-Nominated Work

OT Week, which takes place at the beginning of November, is RCOT’s biggest comms event of the year. For OT Week 2023, Say worked with RCOT to create a campaign to increase awareness and understanding of ‘occupation’ among the health and social care professionals OTs work with and the people they support.   On 6 September RCOT announced to its members that this campaign would be called Occupation Matters.  

However, on 7 October Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza and concerns were raised about whether the campaign’s title was appropriate given the meaning of ‘occupation’ in its geo-political sense. By cancelling OT Week or diluting the campaign RCOT would miss its annual opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of OT. 

We had already invested time and resources in planning and developing materials for the campaign, so we needed to decide how to quickly address RCOT members’ perceived concerns about the Occupation Matters theme.  Should we cancel, continue as planned or amend the OT Week campaign? Could we still reach the objectives we’d set? To quickly defuse a potentially risky scenario we also needed to navigate a multi-layered, inclusive and consultative member organisation in an agile way to truly understand the range of views.  

In just 3 weeks, following consultation with RCOT’s Council and members, we made strategic adjustments to the narrative and assets to neutralise and defuse the problem and ensure it was clear that the campaign was talking about occupation and occupations in the context of occupational therapy – so that OT Week campaign could go ahead but without the name ‘occupation matters’.

When you are navigating a potentially difficult situation, strong client relationships and trust are vital, and we are proud of how we worked hand-in-hand with RCOT’s comms team to ensure the campaign could still go ahead. On 7 November we were able to launch a successful campaign that reached its objectives while still being sensitive to the situation in Gaza and Israel.

OT Week 2023 asset: social media graphic

Our Team’s Reaction

On preparing our entry for the Global Agency Awards it was good to look back and reflect on how we adapted the campaign during such an intense period of adjustment. Being shortlisted for the Best Crisis Communications or Response Campaign makes us feel incredibly proud of how we pulled together and worked seamlessly with our client to ensure such an important awareness week could still go ahead on time.

We are delighted to have been recognised for delivering a successful campaign despite the need to respond quickly to a potentially difficult situation. It’s good to be known for our agility as well as our campaign creation skills!

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