ThisGirlCan has been a success because it has stuck to some clear principles that are about mindset and commitment not the need for big budgets. In a recent interview with Marketing Week, Sport England’s Tanya Joseph shared some important lessons that can’t be repeated too often.
- Understand your audience
- Think outside-in
- Stick to the plan
1) Understand your audience
Every successful behaviour change programme starts by taking the time to genuinely understand the target audience. This is much more than just doing some research or analysing some data. It’s about understanding what makes people tick – how they currently behave, why they make the decisions they do and what would need to be different for them to sustain a behaviour change. The heartbeat of the ThisGirlCan campaign was discovering that 75% of women would like to exercise more but do not because of fear of judgement. Sport England then understood the who and the why, making the ‘what we need to do’ easier to work out.
2) Think outside-in
A customer-led approach to growth is about much more than insight. Once you understand your target customer, you need to look at every aspect of your delivery from the customer’s perspective. As Tanya says in the interview “We need to focus more on what the consumer wants rather than saying, ‘this is what we do’. To have a bit of courage, to work with different partners, and work differently, has been a big change and in government they have welcomed that approach.”
3) Stick to the plan
Be very clear about your target audience, and the impact you need to have and then consistently execute. Just like on the sports field, consistency and focus are what separate high performing organisations from everyone else. It’s easy to get distracted by new priorities or the needs of different stakeholders. However Sport England are very clear about sticking to the core idea that the campaign is focused on women and girls who choose not to participate because of a fear of judgement. Of course it touches and influences a wider group of people, but only because staying focused helps cut through all the other noise.