How a segmented and social marketing approach helped this not-for-profit find supporters

The team and agency behind mental health charity, LIVIN, shares its digital and social media marketing evolution


It was the death of close friend, Dwayne Lally, by suicide in 2013 that led Casey Lyons and Sam Webb to come together in business. Neither had been aware of the extent of Rally’s battle with depression and bipolar disorder.

“Like many others, the stigma kept him quiet and stopped him for asking for help and reaching out to the service providers that are out there,” Lyons says. “And after his passing, we were shocked by the statistics that surround mental illness and suicide in this country and we knew that we had to do something.”

‘Something’ became LIVIN, a charitable organisation that raises awareness and provides education regarding mental health, to shine a light on a health problem that is the leading cause of death of people aged between 15 and 44.

“So there are plenty of people living with mental illness, and there are also plenty of greater service providers, but there is a missing link, and the stigma is keeping people quiet,” Casey tells CMO. “So we wanted to turn that negative into a positive.”

LIVIN hosts community events and sends ambassadors into schools, sporting clubs, and businesses to run education programs, and raises money to support its activities through the sale of merchandise.

But with Lyons having a background in carpentry and Webb in finance, Lyons concedes neither co-founder had much experience in building a solid marketing campaign to support their activities. It was lucky for him then that he lived in the same neighbourhood as managing director at communication and marketing strategy firm Flagship, Fady Hanna.

“As a not-for-profit, we had things done ad hoc and free-of-charge along the way,” Lyons says. “Those things served their purpose, but were quite outdated. And when I had the initial conversation of updating our website with Fady, it led us down a path we would have never imagined.”

Hanna says working with LIVIN presented some unusual challenges.

“We specialise in understanding what somebody is buying as opposed to what an organisation is selling,” Hanna says. “The toughest thing with this was understanding how to better reach people that suffer from suicidal tendencies and depression when the stigma is such that those people don’t necessarily talk.”

A further challenge came about through the broad spread of society that mental health can impact, meaning LIVIN did not want to address just one audience segment.

“Instead of trying to create that one brand that spoke to everybody, we very much segmented different ways of communication to different sub cultures,” Hanna says.

Flagship identified four different market segments, ranging from those who knew about LIVIN’s mission or knew it to be a brand that supported a cause, through to those how knew it only through the association of celebrities wearing its merchandise or as a logo on a bumper sticker.

“By segmenting these groups we were able to create isolated communication strategies to better reach and equip each group in an effort to create the greatest resonance for the brand,” says Hanna. “This exercise also allowed us to better target ads, merch designs, campaigns and celebrity endorsements. This lead to a complete creative audit and a new visual identity to reflect our findings.

“Instead of putting a bunch of rules around how we communicate, we removed those rules and empowered a bunch of different people.”

Since revamping LIVIN’s website and social media activity in mid-2017, LIVIN has noted increases in its social media following of 22 per cent and 25.4 per cent in its engagement, with a 36.7 per cent increase in website traffic. Most importantly, this has translated into a 48.3 per cent increase in sales.

“There was a specific upturn in engagement, in revenue, in every positive aspect of the charity after the project was delivered,” Lyons says. “It has been continual week-on-week growth and year-on-year growth.”

Today, Flagship operates a de facto marketing function for LIVIN. “We are very much a part of their organisation,” Hanna says. “We are basically on the payroll and that is the partnership we like to have.”

LIVIN is now launching an active wear collection, with aligns with its core message of healthy living equals a healthy mind. The next phase will see LIVIN reach out to influencers across the various communities where it wants to raise its profile.

“It’s an ever-changing world and an ever-changing landscape in terms of mental health and suicide,” Lyons says. “And we take pride in being the bearers of that change. We want to stay ahead of the game, so we will always be evolving and adapting to make sure we are in front.”


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