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Our Work

Cross-sector influence, cross-sector change


We help businesses communicate who they are and the change they want to make – so they can tackle the issues that affect them, their stakeholders and wider society.

We work with charities and other not for profits to strengthen their voice, reach and impact, and help them move people to take positive action.

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Tesco National Charity Partnership

Forster developed the Let’s Do This campaign for the National Charity Partnership, formed between Tesco, Diabetes UK and British Heart Foundation.

The campaign aimed to help women and their families become healthier by trying new and simple ways to get their bodies moving and eat more healthily. 

Since Let’s Do This launched in January 2016, it has reached over 20 million people and helped around one million people become more active. In the last 12 months, 27,000 women have logged and reported on their success on over 80,000 activity and nutrition goals on the Let’s Do This website.

Between January and August 2016 the campaign also raised over £12.5m for the charities.

TUC

The TUC commissioned Forster to develop a compelling public-facing campaign in response to the Government’s trade union bill, which threatened the basic right to strike.

Our award winning campaign centred on the individuals affected by workplace rights and who had taken strike action as a last resort. It aimed to both engage the public and talk directly to ministers who would be attending the third reading of the bill. 

We held a photography shoot with real-life case studies and developed a simple style that ensured the message could be clearly understood. The campaign was placed in key public locations, including major rail stations and outdoor sites around central London and via social media channels. 

The campaign successfully added pressure to the debate around the bill, which is still ongoing. It also won PR Week’s 2016 Public Affair award.

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Forster began working with Anna Freud Centre in 2015, at the time of exciting change and evolution for the charity. As a charity that has delivered pioneering mental health care for children and families for over 60 years, they were embarking on an exciting new project to develop a new Centre of Excellence in King’s Cross, London. The Centre of Excellence will, for the first time, bring under one roof the very best science, education and mental health support for children and families. Forster’s role was to develop and deliver communications to support a capital appeal to help fund the new Centre of Excellence, and concurrently, to review and refine the charity’s brand, to ensure that it was fit for purpose and accurately reflected their pioneering, dynamic ethos.

In 2016, the charity unveiled their new brand under the name the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – reflecting their unique focus on making the whole family part of a child’s mental health journey and treatment. Forster have worked closely with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families leadership to put out a call for a step change in the way we conceive of and treat children’s mental health. The expert voice of the Centre has been clearly heard during a time of a national sea-change in attitudes towards mental health in all people, and particularly in children.

Policy makers and influencers have been stirred to action on children’s mental health, as public demands for action to support vulnerable children grow, and mental health services have been earmarked to receive more funding. We have been working with clinicians and professors within the Centre to bring the latest in scientific research and understanding of mental health in children to the public with great success, notably in our partnership with the Huffington Post and the Duchess of Cambridge’s ‘Young Minds Matter’ series.

DP World

DP World is a global port logistics business working in over 50 countries. The business has long had a commitment to responsible behaviour, but its CR programme focused predominantly on voluntary and community activities, with efforts around environment, safety and employees all being dealt with separately at a strategic level. 

DP World recognised the importance of having an integrated global programme that addressed sustainable behaviour across the business. 

Forster worked with DP World to establish a communications platform and strategy for its sustainability programme, develop clear commitments across the business and co-ordinate an action plan for delivery. The new programme ‘Our World, Our Future’ launched in February 2016 and we continue to work with DP World to roll-out delivery globally.

Centre for Ageing Better

We are working with Centre for Ageing Better to help ensure more people can enjoy a good later life. The organisation was set up with an endowment from the Big Lottery Fund of £50m and is working to bring fresh thinking to society’s challenges and opportunities as more people live longer.

We created a new brand for the charitable foundation, developed its website and produced its initial communications strategy.

We are strengthening its voice through a reactive press office, and a rolling feature / thought leadership programme that puts the organisation at the heart of the debate.

Alzheimer’s Society

We worked with Alzheimer’s Society to develop a campaign for Dementia Awareness Week 2016. 

Our campaign encouraged people to face up to dementia and share their worries by addressing it directly.  

Audiences were encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings and fears through social media posts and letters.

More than 1,880 people took part via an online template on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

The campaign generated 2,220 pieces of national and regional media coverage and more than 22,777 people became Dementia Friends. Awareness was also measured by running a YouGov poll before and after the week. Overall awareness of Dementia Awareness Week increased from 29% in the pre wave to 37% in the post wave.

Relate

Relate is a household name, but it must still remind the public why it needs their funding and support.

Our challenge was to develop a strong case for support and to develop a vibrant and memorable new campaign which would be returned to year-on-year.

We created a compelling core narrative for Relate which explained how relationships are the beating heart of our lives. We subsequently developed the Breaking Point campaign, with an emphasis on how families at breaking point need Relate’s expert support.

The campaign was linked to a report that revealed that one in five families were at breaking point. Launched in May 2016, it achieved more than 100 media pieces with a total circulation of 100 million. Relate will return to the campaign in 2017 with a strong emphasis on fundraising.

SRUK

In 2015, Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK) was at a pivotal point in its development as a new organisation formed following the merger of two existing charities: the Scleroderma Society and the Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association. SRUK wanted to increase its profile and impact, and needed a strong brand to support this.

We undertook comprehensive research with a variety of stakeholders, including staff and supporters from the two merging charities and health professionals, to understand the aspirations for the merged charity.

We developed a new brand model and positioning which reflects SRUK’s results-focused ambitions. We designed a strong and confident visual identity which highlights the brand’s new values of being collaborative, driven, trusted and compassionate.

We are now working with SRUK to develop a three-year strategic communications plan that reflects these new values. 

Age UK

Forster was approached by Age UK to create an engaging campaign that would raise their profile following their merger and unite all winter activity undertaken by the UK’s leading charity for older people.

We created Spread the Warmth, Age UK’s first integrated campaign platform which raised over £800,000 in the first year and was instrumental in securing an additional £20 million of government investment in keeping older people warm.

It won the PR Week Best Integrated Campaign Award. Spread the Warmth is now used by Age UK as a model for all their campaigns.

Astellas

Since 2010, we have planned, developed and built Astellas Pharma EMEA’s employee volunteering programme Changing Tomorrow Day. More than 16,000 hours of time have been donated so far across 21 European affiliates, and 88% of participating employees said Astellas was a better place to work as a result of volunteering. In 2014, the programme won a Corporate Engagement Award for Best Community Involvement.

We researched, developed and launched Astellas’ first major charity partnership – Action on Fistula. Over three years, Action on Fistula is directly helping more than 1,200 women aged from 8 to 88, suffering from obstetric fistula. We’ve supported Astellas towards a target of doubling surgical capacity in Kenya through a structured training programme.

We deliver internal communications support to Astellas, building employee understanding of and involvement in the organisation’s corporate responsibility programme. Initiatives include producing employee CSR reviews and creating Bring a Better Christmas, where staff provide Christmas presents to local young people in care.

BAPRAS

Over the last ten years, we have helped turn a little known medical association into the leading authority on Plastic Surgery in the UK.

We created a voice for the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) with a new visual identity, website and communications programme that engaged members, the public and key stakeholders. We have consistently led on the issues that matter to drive the debate and improve patient safety.

Our work in response to the PIP breast implant crisis helped ensure accurate information reached the women in need and won Best Crisis Management at the Corp Comms Awards. Our campaign to help the public make safer choices on cosmetic surgery – Think Over Before You Makeover – has reached millions of people and is now being replicated by other Associations across the world.

Business in the Community

In four years we’ve helped to transform business attitudes towards mental health in the workplace through our work on Business in the Community’s Wellbeing at Work campaign. Collaborating with Mind, the Work Foundation, CIPD and a range of major businesses – including Mars, Bupa, GSK and Santander, we’ve opened discussion about the need to build better organisational wellbeing approaches and have given business leaders confidence and opportunity to speak out about mental health. Collectively, approaches developed by the Wellbeing at Work leadership team businesses have positively affected more than half a million employees.

We launched Business in the Community’s first benchmark of FTSE 100 businesses reporting around employee engagement and wellbeing. By pinpointing the business case for progressive approaches to employee relations through 50 targeted media articles, we drove increased participation in the benchmark and secured high profile business leaders as campaign ambassadors.

We have worked with a number of campaigns run by Business in the Community – its “Race at the Top – Five Years On” report highlighted the increasing disparity between the number of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority people in general employment compared to those specifically in management and boardroom level positions across the UK. We generated widespread national media attention, which led to pledges of further reviews into ethnic diversity in the boardroom.

Crohn’s & Colitis UK

Crohn’s & Colitis UK is the leading national charity working to raise awareness and improve healthcare support for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The charity has been supporting patients, working with healthcare professionals and campaigning for improved care for 35 years, and needed a strong new brand and position to reflect its leading stance which is where Forster stepped up in late 2014.

We undertook extensive research with patients, supporters, healthcare professionals and staff to identify the charity’s organisational strengths to maximise and brand weaknesses to overcome.

Based on what we discovered we developed language which positioned Crohn’s & Colitis UK as the UK leaders in the fight against Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and designed an organisational brand personality and creative articulation which highlighted all of the charity’s strengths: personal, active, inspiring, brave and knowledgeable. The new brand launched in June 2015.

Derbyshire County Council

Derbyshire County Council had a core challenge – to improve the health of people in Derbyshire (where obesity levels of 66.9% of adults were higher than the national average) by educating about the importance of sensible portion sizes. Our response was to develop the Portion Size Wise campaign – an approach which uses clear visual indicators including photography and graphics to make it easy to understand appropriate portion sizes.

We worked with local focus groups to refine the campaign’s style and messaging and to ensure that we were hitting the right note. We had to make sure our messages were both simple to understand without being patronising or judgemental.

The campaign launched in June and has been following a media plan with spikes of activity. By using a blended digital approach we have been reaching target audiences in Derbyshire through frequent, targeted social advertising which has resulted in nearly 700 people signing up to complete a two week portion challenge. More recently we’ve been working with some of our original focus group members to run a blog which lets them tell their success stories of following the Portion Size Wise approach to eating.

Electrical Safety First

Since 2009, our award-winning work for Electrical Safety First has helped the charity become a powerful public voice on electrical safety and home safety more generally.

Last year, we generated 825 pieces of coverage, with circulation of over three billion – the most successful in the organisation’s history in terms of both communications reach and consumer action.

We created a multi award-winning campaign to raise awareness of the dangers to children of burns from hot hair straighteners. We created a powerful film that hit home to such an extent with parents and consumers that it led to one manufacturer increasing the safety of their products.

Marine Stewardship Council

We have worked with the Marine Stewardship Council since 2010, supporting the corporate communications team with branding, messaging, and creative design.

In the last year we have worked with the MSC to re-articulate their visual brand, focusing on clear and direct content and maximising the beauty inherent in the output of their work to protect the life in our world’s oceans.

October 2015 saw the launch of the MSC’s latest Annual Report which acts as a flagship publication for this new brand visualisation. We worked with the MSC team to identify an entirely new approach for this year’s report, putting real stories at its heart, before applying the new style to a beautifully-designed, visually impactful publication.

National Children’s Bureau

The National Children’s Bureau and the Council for Disabled Children came to Forster with an exciting challenge – how to make the NHS constitution, which explains everyone’s rights when dealing with the NHS, accessible to young people through a new visual style and digital solution.

Every possible solution was on the table, which we relished. As a result we could use a truly human-centred-design approach using immersion sessions and workshops with teens and young people with physical and learning disabilities and other life-limiting conditions. We worked with our target audience at every stage of the project to design and develop content, structure and style which resonated with them and their peers. The results challenged some of our preconceptions – it turned out that young people don’t necessarily want an advanced fancy app, but they do get impatient with unnecessary show-off website movement and information which you have to search for to find.

We ended up with a clean, stripped-back responsive website which provides clear and direct information via digestible text, films featuring young people and engaging illustration. The site is designed to be as accessible as possible, using sign-language, text options, accessible fonts and a simple site structure. The NCB and CDC subsequently commissioned Forster to generate a second site using the same style, to support young people wishing to access IASS support services across the UK.

National Citizen Service

Planning a campaign without having met an organisation is no mean feat. That’s how the idea for ‘Evolution of the Teenager’ was born, from a new business proposal.

We identified an issue area for NCS to own following research which showed perceptions of young people are persistently negative amongst the public and media. We focused on the most influential media for parents, traditional print and broadcast, and recommended launching ahead of the WWI centenary, to provide a news hook, and post-GCSE, when parents were focused on their child’s future and more receptive to NCS messaging.

Two key insights drove the campaign’s creative development;
• Parents don’t understand teenagers,
• We consider every generation more selfish and privileged than the previous.

This formed our core engagement tactics;
• Challenge stereotypes of the current generation as ‘selfish and feckless’,
• Use centenary of WWI to tap into parents’ nostalgia for youth.

The result was ‘Evolution of the Teenager’, a campaign charting teenage experience from WWI to the present day. Using academically supported research to add validity, this offered an engaging media platform positioning NCS as an expert on youth development.

Carole Breen, PR Manager, NCS Trust, said: “We loved the concept of Evolution of the Teenager from the beginning, for its inherent human interest and the fact that its launch was rooted in a moment of reflection for the whole country. Forster delivered above and beyond expectations with many unexpected outcomes; the report will even be featured in GCSE curriculum materials reaching thousands of teens.”