30 days of human comms: #14 Sefton Council’s message on a national subject

Look, I know I’ve been shouting about video for some time now.

But when I see a video as quietly determined as this one from Sefton Council my heart sings.

It’s a good approach. Women are recorded saying a short message and then are edited so the argument comes from all and from one at the same time.

It is short, it is recognisably a Sefton Council communication and the mono and music make it.

What’s great about it from an organisation’s perspective is that they have the accents of Sefton. Their voice is identifiable to people. They will be recognisable to people who work in the organisation too. They’ll pass them in the corridor.

Disclaimer: I helped deliver an in-house workshop at Sefton Council on how to shoot video. But this was all their idea. They took the basic skills and have done great things with them.

30 days of human comms #14 Burger King tackles the bullies

Is bullying a brand thing? On the face of it, no. But if 30 per cent of children feel bullied that’s a fair chunk of Burger King’s audience.

Credit to them then that they made a YouTube clip that tackles bullying and asks passers-by just toย  watch out for kids who are having a difficult time.

It’s remarkably effective. There’s a twist too. You can see it here:


Large organisations can be human when they open themselves up to talk about human emotion.

6 pieces of content from #ourday I liked

A day a year local government shouts about what it does.

I raise my hat to everyone who took part in the day and created content.

Seven years ago, this was purely a Twitter thing when it started as #walsall24. Over the years the Local Government Association has got involved to support it.

But now that Twitter is the 4th most popular social platform should it just be Twitter? I’m not so sure. If it is true to its aim of reaching people to tell the story of what local government does it needs to find the best platform. Probably, this is an array of platforms.

An additional worry in a discussion on the Public Sector Facebook group is that people struggle to create the time to make #ourday really work. But anecdotally, this does work as internal comms. It also works to encourage service areas to share their stories.

Here are five pieces of content that caught my eye

Radio DJ Nick Grimshaw posting about council gritters on instagram

Nick Grimshaw has 1.3 million followers. He is from Oldham. The winner of their name-a-gritter competition was ‘Nick Grit-shaw’. So, as an Oldham boy made good he shared it with his followers attracting 30,000 likes.

Why is this good? This isn’t the council talking about what they do, it’s a Radio One DJ. That’s far cooler.ย ย 

keeping your streets ice-free…. “Nick Grit-Shaw” I’ve made it ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

A post shared by nicholasgrimshaw (@nicholasgrimshaw) on

An interactive be-a-council-officer game

There used to be a cartoon strip called You Are the Ref where you were given a scenario and had to choose the correct outcome. Doncaster Council used Twitter to create a similar scenario only being faced with the challenge a council officer would face. It gave a taste of the difficulty council staff face.

Why is this good? It’s not saying ‘here’s what we do.’ It asks: ‘what would you do?’

A poem set to video

There are 1,200 services that local government does. It’s hard to cover them all. But a video of just over a minute covers much of the ground. Well done Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Why is this good? It uses video so autoplays in your timeline. It covers a range of things in a short space of time.

Hello doggy

The most popular Facebook update wasn’t a council service as such but a lost dog. Of course it was. It was never going to be an engineer filling in a pothole, was it? You can see it here.


Hello, regular people

One of the benefits of #ourday is putting faces to names and to be able to tell people what they do, as this Derbyshire Dales Council tweet shows.

Why is this good? Because it tells you who those familiar faces are and what they do.

A Periscope broadcast to explain a guided walk

South Cambridgeshire has many attractive places and guided walks encourage older people to step out. Here the council used Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope for a council worker to talk about what the scheme is.

A clip-on mic helps to improve the sound.

Why is this good? Because it is getting out of an office and experimenting with technology.

30 days of human comms #13 Sandwell Council as Car Share for #ourday

I’ve a soft spot for #ourday the local government day of posting day-to-day tasks to show a bigger picture.

It started as #walsall24 when Kate Goodall suggested that a day of everyday tasks would be a good idea. It was shameless rip-off of #gmp24 a police 24-hour tweet of day-to-day activity. And #our day is a shameless rip-off of #walsall24. This is a good thing.

I’m a bit on the fence about just using Twitter to reach people as there are more more popular platforms available. But I did like this Sandwell Council not-in-an-office video of staff en route to carry out their job.

It’s like Car Share for the public sector. There’s even a bloke waving in the back seat.

The aim of #ourday is less call-to-action but more showing the human side of the organisation.

30 days of human comms #12 North West Ambulance Service’s response to a man abusing a paramedic

Paramedics see the best and worst that life has to offer. In an emergency they save lives.

So, when a viral video of a man swearing at a parked ambulance in Runcorn went viral the Liverpool Echo took the video and ran it as part of a news story.

They newspaper approached North Western Ambulance Service for a response.

The press office could have taken the tack that they don’t comment on individual cases. But that wouldn’t have been particularly human. Instead they offered this comment reported by the Echo here:


By being human in their media statement they were human in their response.


30 days of human comms #11: London Fire Brigade remember the Kings Cross fire

Thirty years before Grenfell Tower there was another fire in London that cast a long shadow over the capital.

More than 30 people were killed at Kings Cross after debris that had gathered under a wooden escalator caught light. Amazingly, in today’s terms, back then you could still smoke underground.

The fire changed fire safety and a long list of changes followed. It’s worth remembering that for some these changes are ‘red tape’. But red tape is often written in the blood of people whose death taught a lesson.

London Fire Brigade told the story in real-time on Twitter drawing in a range of sources.

What was also interesting was that the hashtag – #KX30 allowed for people to contribute their own memories.

Amazingly, the thread brought together people whose lives had been changed:

Statistics make sense of the big picture. Human stories bring them to life.

30 days of human comms: #10 Doncaster Council’s gritter World Cupย 

There have been fewer things greater than Doncaster Council’s World Cup competition to name its two new gritters.

Warm, funny and above all human the campaign has grown a life of its own taking in an appearance on Channel 4’s ‘The Last Leg’ย  and a tweet of support from Bob Mortimer.

The aim of the Twitter campaign was to encourage people to come up with names for the two gritters. There was no call to action beyond that and that’s fine.

What did people learn?

That there are human being s working in local government. Some even treat the roads when the weather is icy.