Alex Aiken, Executive Director of UK Government Communications, and his team kindly hosted our most recent Page UK event earlier this month. Within the stunning surrounds of Cabinet Office Briefing Room A (COBRA), we were taken through how the UK Government delivered three recent high profile communications campaigns. Without betraying confidences, below are a few key insights from the session.

Four fast takeaways

  • Fail fast. The teams were able to quickly construct campaigns to specific and targeted audiences. This meant they could test how messages landed by analysing the real time data. They then often tweaked a message within 24 - 48 hours and repurposed it to broader groups. The learning was that sometimes, when a company is in business as usual mode, there is too much time to think and plan. In other words, perfect gets in the way of excellent.
  • Bring the best people to the party. With over 200 people, across a dozen communications disciplines, it meant everybody had to trust and adapt to each other's strengths. Leadership’s messaging and commitment was seen to be exceptional, as were the heads of the various disciplines.What expedited the delivery was the commitment and passion of the teams, but maybe more pertinently now, everyone was under one roof creating a rapid decision-making cycle.
  • Data-data-data. Communicating critical messages needed to be clear and concise. This was made ‘easier’ by real time data coming back from pollsters and clicks on social media engagement. However, this created its own pressure as analysing and interpreting data from overnight campaigns created a 24/7 working culture.
  • Involve other voices. Use a wide range of credible voices and partners and work with them to enable them to deliver the message in their own way.