Article

Oliver Bailey
Oliver Bailey 2 November 2020

Is Shifting From a Content Led Strategy to a Digital Product Strategy a Good Move?

Sometimes the only way to facilitate genuine change and become a true disrupter in a sector is to overhaul your digital strategy completely – even when it appears to be working.

This was an approach that charity Electrical Safety First took when it shifted from a content-led, always-on approach, which was inciting spikes in consumer engagement, to a customer-centric digital product strategy that has not only significantly increased a consistent flow of site traffic and engagement, but attracted a substantial amount of funding for the charity from corporate partners. 

Not everyone wants to change. It means a lot of time and investment. Also does it mean what you've been doing all this time doesn't work? Not always. We're using a recent example of what charity Electrical Safety First did to illustrate how sometimes 'pivoting' is the best thing to do. 

Electrical Safety First had shifted to a content-led strategy that drove an uplift in traffic of around a third. But further research into the wants and needs of the charity’s audiences showed that rather than just promoting behaviour change through communication, a more effective strategy would be to solve genuine consumer problems and cut through the noise with tangible and engaging digital products.

And adopting this change of focus transformed the charity’s digital presence. There were three strands to the process:

Intuitive User Journey

Electrical Safety First is dedicated to reducing the number of injuries and deaths caused by electricity; it campaigns on a number of key issues including the risks of buying counterfeit electrical products, the roles and responsibilities of landlords, the importance of using a registered electrician and improving the product recall and registration process.

With so much campaign information and important consumer advice to communicate, we started by overhauling the charity’s current website, making the user journey more intuitive and maximising the wealth of information that the site hosted.

Central to the product strategy is a new Knowledge Base that invites users to ask Electrical Safety First anything – and intuitively serves relevant information from the 5000+ pages of information on the site. The Knowledge Base has also been optimised for voice allowing users to get answers to common questions easily from Electrical Safety First as a reliable, expert source.

Since its launch, searches on the site have increased by more than 75 per cent and there have been a significant number of repeat visits as consumers continue to turn to Electrical Safety First as a reliable and easy to use source. 

Delivering the Right Things in the Right Way

Continuing on our ambition to deliver the wealth of information offered by Electrical Safety First in the right and most easy to access format, our next task was to create genuine cut-through when it came to the potential life-threatening issue of electrical product recalls – ensuring that the charity was at the forefront of driving consumer awareness and action.

Research shows that electrical product recalls have a success rate of between 10-20% resulting in a quagmire of hazardous appliances still being used in UK homes. Currently the only way to contact customers about a recall is if they have registered their item when purchased – paperwork that many people ignore. We set about tackling the barriers to getting consumers to take the risk of a recall seriously, with minimal impact to their time and cutting out all unnecessary admin.

With consumers increasingly turning to virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, especially as they spend more time working and socialising at home, we identified that voice technology could make this process easily accessible and a task that they could engage with at leisure or “in the moment”.

We developed an Alexa app which simplifies the recall process. Asking Alexa makes it easy for users to make ad hoc checks on their appliances whilst carrying out household tasks without having to resort to adding serial numbers into a website. Consumers simply say the item’s brand name and model to check if it is currently on a recall list. It also incorporates other helpful electrical advice as well as a fun ‘How Can It Kill Me’ game, originally developed to target students, which highlights electrical dangers in the home.

The result? Overall searches for product recalls are now up 60 per cent year on year and continuing to rise - increasingly through voice.

Consumer-First Approach

Our user research has also helped Electrical Safety First tackle another crucial campaign area – raising consumer awareness around counterfeit electrical goods, especially when purchasing from online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay. One of the main issues that we identified is that some customers are unaware of how the marketplaces work, not understanding that they are often buying from an unregulated third party.

Again, we needed to make this education process seamless and part of the customer journey – with no additional admin that would take up precious time. The solution was a browser plugin that was launched for Chrome first (as our MVP), and then rolled out for Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Once downloaded, the Check It Out plugin displays a logo and warning when consumers are browsing or about to buy a product from a third party, warning them that they are not purchasing from the manufacturer or trusted retailer. To date, the tool has indexed well over 500,000 products. 

Commercial Partnership Funding and Increased Consumer Engagement 

The transformation of Electrical Safety First’s digital strategy has strengthened the charity’s status as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to championing consumer safety around electrical issues.

It has garnered the attention of large national retailers including the Kingfisher Group, Carphone Warehouse and Beko (as well as government bodies) as a result, and ESF has received significant campaign funding to progress this crucial work.

To cut through the noise of the endless content with which we are being bombarded, we have placed the customer at the very heart of digital innovation and the results have spoken for themselves.

  • Bounce rate has reduced as consumers find exactly what they need (with a reduced number of pages being visited as the search functionality improves the user journey)
  • Sessions have increased and direct traffic has also risen by 15%
  • Brand engagement has improved and social referrals are up 200% with consumers much more attracted to the site’s content and functionality 

So by continually looking at the wants and needs of audiences, sometimes it's time to pivot - for some fantastic results. 

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