Back in October, my colleague and I headed up to Leeds for the GCS / LGcommunications Public Service Communications Excellence Awards (try saying that when you’ve had a complimentary glass of wine or two!). We were delighted to win a Platinum Award for our RingGo cashless parking campaign – especially as we were up against some big organisations and budgets. I think our rather teeny budget actually stood us in good stead though, because we were able to show a high level of campaign impact with it.
Simply put, the campaign was designed to save and generate income for the Council at a time when our central Government funding is being removed completely. We aimed to convert motorists to using RingGo rather than cash in our car parks, primarily to reduce expensive cash handling.
Research shaped our tactics and messaging, which focused on the speed, ease and flexibility of cashless parking. Our audience was wide-ranging and we used point-of-sale activity to reach them, alongside social media, web, media activity and internal communications. We had campaign signage in all our cark parks and ran a ‘RingGo Explainer Day’ where reps spoke to nearly 200 motorists, promoting the service and answering questions.
Particularly interesting for us was an experiment with nudge technique. Trialling whether we could affect behaviour by making a simple change, we removed a number of our machines from service, wrapping them in RingGo advertising. Alternative machines were available but the idea was to make cash payments less appealing as users had to walk further.
And it worked - over six months we saw a 47% increase in parking sessions (over 33,000 more). What’s more, something happened that we didn’t expect - we found that those using RingGo pay more and park for longer- perhaps because they are not scrabbling around for cash, or because they can remotely top up their parking. Payments went up by an average of 20p a session – that little nudge for an individual translated to an extra £55,000 in income for us. In addition, the ease with which people switched over to RingGo meant we didn’t replace our covered machines, saving £64,000. Reduction in cash processing contributed another £5,700. This totalled £125,000 of savings and additional income from a £3,000 budget - an ROI of 1:46.
Presenting about the campaign at the GCS and LGcomms Awards Showcase in January was really helpful for us – it meant we re-analysed the campaign a few months on, which helped to clarify some of the insights and learnings for us, too. And it was so helpful to hear from others presenting at the Showcase. Campaign topics and budgets varied widely but it was clear that no matter the differences, the most successful campaigns use the same principles – research, audience insight, effective targeting, originality, humour, tight evaluation to name but a few.
The Awards Showcase events are a fantastic opportunity to get inspiration from some great campaigns happening across the public sector, and to share ideas with like-minded comms people – I’d highly recommend attending one.
Communications Business Partner – Campaigns