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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Acceleris - Independence for disabled motorists

15th August 2013

Company: Acceleris Marketing Communications Campaign: Promoting travel independence for disabled motorists Category: Integrated Communications Campaign of the Year - North - Shortlisted ObjectivesWhen you’re in a car, your disability almost doesn’t matter - you’re independent, with the same level of freedom as everyone else.” - Aaron Morgan, disabled driver For most of us, driving allows us to lead an independent life, go to work, take holidays and see loved ones. This is equally true of people with limited mobility, many of whom can drive, with the right support and adaptations. Enter Adapted Vehicle Hire (AVH), is the UK’s largest rental provider of adapted or wheelchair accessible vehicles. It aims to make the lives of disabled motorists, and their families, easier. Despite its many positive messages, AVH previously had very little media coverage. Acceleris was appointed in January 2012 to raise awareness of AVH within the disabled community. This would: - Combine media relations, partnership and event activity, with social media and content, from engaging video to tailored news - Give AVH a ‘human’ as well as commercial face, by promoting independence and sharing positive stories. Strategy & Target Audience Acceleris developed a six-month campaign to position AVH as more than just a supplier, but a valued member of the disabled community. The campaign was aimed at disabled people, carers and families, and disability charities and organisations. Activity: • Media relations - AVH highlighted disability issues in the media through press releases and features. • I-drive - Acceleris worked with AVH to develop a dedicated online resource for the disabled community, called ‘I-drive’, to attract visitors, get people talking and help AVH stand out. • Link generation - Acceleris contacted 40 of the sector’s top influencers to develop closer partnerships, including reciprocal website links for the I-drive site. • Social media - Many people in the disabled community use social media to communicate. Although AVH had a presence, Twitter and Facebook updates were sporadic, and improvements were needed to improve content. • Event support - Acceleris recommended that I-drive should launch at disability trade event, Naidex at Birmingham’s NEC. Action • I-drive The portal provided an impartial information resource for the disabled community that included advice on options for adapted vehicles, as well as information on travel, independence and mobility. AVH handled the portal’s development and Acceleris provided copywriting, design and development advice.  Acceleris researched content, created a sitemap, provided copywriting, and interviewed case studies. I-drive has received a very positive reception from the disability community and AVH now has a content-rich, SEO-friendly portal that is helping the business engage with customers and partners in a less commercial way. The site has consequently seen a steady increase in visitors, with 23% more visitors in May than March. • Naidex National This exhibition provided the perfect platform to launch I-drive to the disabled community, and trade media. Acceleris recommended using a key figure from the disability sector to launch the site at the AVH stand, creating a natural talking point, and promoting it as part of a sponsorship package, including blogs, media interviews and promotional videos. Acceleris secured a cost-effective sponsorship deal with Paralympic swimmer and bronze medalist Matt Whorwood. As a user of adapted cars, this made him an ideal and credible choice to represent AVH, and as a medal winner, Matt would create strong and positive associations between AVH and his achievements. Activity at Naidex generated significant new business leads for AVH and provided the perfect opportunity to launch I-drive to thousands of visitors and 300 exhibitors. Acceleris delivered an integrated promotional effort that involved face-to-face activity, media relations, e-shots and social media working together. • Media relations In addition to the publicity generated around Naidex and Matt, ongoing media coverage was targeted at a niche audience of influential titles. The benefits and activities of AVH and I-drive were communicated to the desired audience and, significantly, closer relationships were developed with key trade titles including Ability, Enable and Disabled Motoring. • External endorsements and link building I-drive has been supported by a number of respected figures in the disabled community, including Professor Peter Cooke, a well-known commentator on disability issues, Matt Whorwood, and Aaron Morgan, one of the UK’s youngest disabled racing drivers. Acceleris arranged a series of meetings for AVH, including with the creators of the Ldn Access app championed by 7/7 survivor Daniel Biddle, which resulted in a new commercial partnership. To support the launch of I-drive, improve SEO, and assist AVH in developing closer relationships with potential customers and partners, such as travel organisations and disability charities, Acceleris began a campaign to build reciprocal links with suitable websites. The feedback was very positive, with 60% of organisations linking or agreeing to link and Carers UK specifically thanking AVH for “recognising and supporting carers in this way”. • Social media Acceleris took over management of the AVH Twitter and Facebook accounts for Naidex and on an ongoing basis. This included sharing I-drive content and blogs, following relevant organisations and individuals, and engaging with them to develop relationships and boost awareness of I-drive. • Video Acceleris produced an informative and impactful film, which was shared at Naidex and demonstrated Matt Whorwood’s involvement with AVH and the benefits of adapted vehicles. Results This campaign demonstrated how various strands of activity can work together to deliver increased media coverage, an improved presence on social media, and new commercial partnerships. Key results included: • 33 media cuttings generated in key disability and fleet press, media meetings and significantly increased brand awareness of AVH • Acceleris has secured website links with 24 organisations (60 per cent of those approached) • Increased followers and engagement on the AVH Twitter and Facebook accounts -   +45 per cent on Twitter +10 per cent on Facebook • Endorsement by the Disabled Living Foundation, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation, Tourism for All and Disabled Motoring UK • 500 article reads in the first month of activity • 300 views of Matt Whorwood's YouTube video in first month of campaign Significant new business leads for AVH, including a partnership deal with CanDoHolidays, and 7/7 survivor Daniel Biddle. URLs The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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