Best CX Companies List profile: RSPCA makes people, not animals, the centre of attention

Executive marketing manager Paige Gibbs is changing the communications strategy to make animal welfare about the supporters, not just the animals

From left: Fifth Quadrant's Kristi Mansfield, RSPCA's Paige Gibbs, and Flamingo's Julie Trajkowski
From left: Fifth Quadrant's Kristi Mansfield, RSPCA's Paige Gibbs, and Flamingo's Julie Trajkowski

For not-for-profit organisation, RSPCA, supporters are crucial to ensuring more animals stay out of harm’s way and are healthy. However, for a long time animals were mostly centre of attention, until executive marketing manager of fundraising and communications, Paige Gibbs, challenged this.

RSPCA won the People’s Choice award in the ‘human and animal health’ industry category as part of the Best Customer Experience Companies List. The award was based on the votes of by more than 2500 consumers.

Gibbs told CMO the organisation has going through significant change in the last decade around how its perceives and interacts with its supporters.

“We’ve realised if we don’t support our supporters as we call them, we won’t exist,” she said. “Our catch cry is now ‘helping people help animals’, because that is what we should be about. People are the reason we are here. Looking after animals is what we believe in, but if we don’t get people responding to us and feeling some empathy, then we wouldn’t be here.”

To do this, Gibbs looked at how RSPCA could change its communications strategy with its supporters.

“In the past, when we talked to them, it was really about, ‘We’ve got another cruelty case and we need your help’. But now it is much more about ‘Because of you, all of these transformational things have been able to happen and continue to happen’,” she explained.

Keeping in regular contact with supporters and offering them services, such as dog treat recipes and educational videos through digital campaigns, is also part of improving ‘customer’ experience and achieving ongoing support. This “365 communications” process, as Gibbs calls it, is about developing relationships with customers who make monthly donations over time so they feel they are involved in a more personal way.

Social media has also been a success for RSPCA in raising brand awareness and reaching potential donors, Gibbs said. Its Twitter account has 17,500 followers, and it has garnered 207,356 likes on its Facebook pages. She added the advantage of being an animal welfare organisation is that it can really tap into cat-themed Internet memes to firstly attract widespread interest, while at the same time using cats to send an important message out or educating the broader public on animal welfare.

“We were early adopters of social media. It’s a big platform for us, because we know ‘slacktivism' – a simple, quick action for supporters to sign a campaign or donate through a social media prompt – is pretty high for animal welfare supporters,” Gibbs said.

Storytelling and knowing how to shape a story is also key in RSPCA’s communication strategy. Instead of focusing on the “doom and gloom” of animal cruelty, it is more about making people feel good for making a difference, Gibbs said.

“It’s being able to tell compelling stories that lead people to act. The posts [on social media] that we get the biggest responses on show them something that is unjust,” she said. “But the stories also have to have some kind of happy ending. The thing that is going to be transformational for us is sending our supporters those stories so they feel like what they are doing is making a difference.”

Since RSPCA turned its focus from animals to people, it has seen an increase in donations of about 20 per cent, Gibbs said. Its big goal for next few years is to grow regular giving, mostly monthly donors.

“Those people are so important to us because they stick through thick and thin with us,” she said. “We need to find ways to keep encouraging them to believe in animals, and part of that is just making sure we keep communicating back to them and giving them rewards they previously didn’t get from us.”

In future, Gibbs plans to work with corporates in getting them involved in supporting animal welfare. “We don’t know how to communicate that to corporates. So that’s the next part of our journey – figuring out how to do that.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Signup to CMO’s email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Algorithms that can make sense of unstructured data is the future. It's great to see experts in the field getting together to discuss AI.

Sumit Takim

In pictures: Harnessing AI for customer engagement - CMO roundtable Melbourne

Read more

Real digital transformation requires reshaping the way the business create value for customers. Achieving this requires that organization...

ravi H

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

thanks

Lillian Juliet

How Winedirect has lifted customer recency, frequency and value with a digital overhaul

Read more

Having an effective Point of Sale system implemented in your retail store can streamline the transactions and data management activities....

Sheetal Kamble

​Jurlique’s move to mobile POS set to enhance customer experience

Read more

I too am regularly surprised at how little care a large swathe of consumers take over the sharing and use of their personal data. As a m...

Catherine Stenson

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Blog Posts

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Why does brand execution often kill creativity?

The launch of a new brand, or indeed a rebrand, is a transformation to be greeted with fanfare. So why is it that once the brand has launched, the brand execution phase can also be the moment at which you kill its creativity?

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in