DEPARTMENT OF PREMIER & CABINET

Bringing the state together.

Background & objectives


As COVID-19 swept across the world it became clear that the only way to protect the health and wellbeing of communities was to request and then enforce restrictions on social gatherings and all public interaction.

Governments were under scrutiny, their responses to the pandemic were critical to success and measured daily by the growth or decline in new COVID-19 case numbers, deaths and recoveries.

The West Australian State Government has delivered a standout performance and Premier Mark McGowan enjoys unprecedented public support. Its response was swift and strong, reinforcing health guidelines such as hand washing and social distancing, closing state and regional borders, enforcing federal restrictions on social and public gatherings, even impacting the operation of businesses where groups of people gathered or worked in close proximity.

But perhaps its greatest strength has been its clarity, authenticity and speed of communication throughout all of its paid, owned and earned media campaigns.

The measures were hard for people and businesses alike, made all the more difficult to understand because of the incredible volume of general media information available about the crisis. From traditional news outlets, across the burgeoning social media world and more, information – much of it conflicting and at times incorrect – was a serious challenge to the Government in getting its own important advice and instructions across to the WA community. But evidence from around the world suggested that public self-isolation would work if the community were compliant and supportive.

So, the State Government needed clear messaging that would be recognised and trusted and call upon all West Australians to work in unison and fight the virus and its devastating effects through possible relapses to recovery and a return to normality.

Effectiveness

We’ll do our part and if you do your part, we can all beat this together.

The target audience was broad – the WA community across regional and metro areas. Because of the urgency of the situation building a message over time was not possible. To ensure success, we needed an instant mnemonic device that would quickly embed in the minds of the community and come to represent both ‘official information, advice and requirements’ from the Government, also be a call to action instilling ownership with the community – the premise being we’ll do our part and if you do your part, we can all beat this together.

Following strategic work and consultation with government stakeholders it was decided that the mnemonic device needed to be:

– Empathetic

– Human

– Supportive

– Community-oriented

– Dynamic

Strategically it made sense for us to look for a common expression of solidarity that had the potential to become a part of the vernacular around COVID-19.

Solidarity became our proposition – expressing as it does the community-based idea of the coming together of a group of people united in action and intention, where all understand and enact their responsibilities to, and relationships with, each other.

The solution

‘We’re all in this together’

This was then applied to all State Government communications in both paid, owned and earned media, it became a common expression and iterations have also been adopted across the world by other administrations, news outlets, personalities and more.

The platform of success was due to the speed of development by Rare and immediate adoption by the State Government who now own the position within Western Australia.

The single-minded simplicity of the message had made it easy to weave into official messaging and conversations.

The Premier, Minster for Health, Chief Medical Officer and even the Police Commissioner all feel comfortable using it in their public addresses. The media have picked up on it and extended its salience. It has truly become part of the Western Australian vernacular and come to represent a unique spirit and unity of government and community alike.

Thanks to a government-wide adoption of the strategy and creative approach this has facilitated the fast and efficient delivery of COVID-19 communications across multiple phases. Rare has carefully nurtured and managed this work, delivering a multiple phased integrated communications campaign – all at speed, scale and within set budgets to generate unprecedented public support.

The outcome

With an uncertain future and challenging months where Government must continue to guide the public to a full recovery, the importance of sustained strategic communications remains key to success. The strategic positioning of ‘We’re all in this together’ has been used across all phases of communication, across different government agencies and now even with the WA Recovery Plan. This has been designed to:

  • Ensure that the WA community is aligned to the behaviours required. (Compliance)
  • Reassure the community that the government is managing the response and recovery effectively (Positive community sentiment)
  • Give people hope and engage them in a shared vision for the future. (Increased community optimism, belief in the benefits of the ‘new normal’)

To date, this positioning has been applied across phase 1, 2, 3 and 4 (recovery) as WA has been brought back to near normality. Rare has produced all the creative material to address each and every issue. In all cases our response has been immediate, effective and efficient demonstrating our capacity to upscale and deliver outputs meeting the timeframes and approval processes of the State Government.

In July 2020, the positioning and creative campaign was used to brand and support the much-heralded State Recovery Plan released by Premier Mark McGowan. Detailing twenty-one recovery priorities with five key focus areas this strategic document was developed to lift the economy, create jobs and return Western Australia to normality. In support of this plan a multi-tiered communication campaign was released to launch the initiative and ensure that community awareness was set to enable engagement and participation via government agencies.

Rare worked tirelessly with representatives from multiple government agencies and Department of Premier & Cabinet to produce the 64-page document in days.

Rare worked in a true partnership with its client contacts providing the creative resources and capacity, working extensive hours to meet all challenges and deadlines to enable the premier to release the WA Recovery Plan on schedule. In parallel, a multi-media campaign was created, with Rare collaborating closely with Initiative, the GCU media buyer, to produce and dispatch the latest phase of this ongoing campaign under the “We’re all in it together” banner.

7/10

West Australians remembered
the campaign material

9/10

West Australians linked ‘We’re all in
this together’ with the State Government and its
communications

8/10

West Australians agreed that the
communication campaign made them
feel confident in the State Government’s response to
COVID-19

2/3

West Australians said that the
communications made them want
to play a role in the state’s recovery process

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