The Weaver Vale Housing Trust (WVHT) owns and maintains over 6,000 properties in West Cheshire, with an admirable 92% customer satisfaction rate, a rare achievement within the sector. Following recent changes to the welfare system, the Trust wanted to make a positive change in tenant behaviour and incentivise people to pay their rent on time, every time. They were keen to introduce new ways of rewarding their tenants for doing so, preferably through direct debit, and sticking to pre-arranged appointments. Ultimate were tasked with communicating that message in a compelling way.
At the heart of the Weaver Vale Housing Trust’s campaign was the idea that tenants who met a set of five criteria would be rewarded by being entered into a monthly prize draw for £1000.
The initial rollout of the campaign proved to be a resounding success, WVHT asked us to take it one step further by targeting specific audiences. One of these was young families. This is a largely female led audience with which WVHT have a good record of effective communications. As a result, WVHT felt that they could be more easily influenced and encouraged to make a change in behaviour.
Our starting point with this creative campaign was giving it a name. With ‘Just Rewards’ we were able to achieve two key messages. Firstly, that this campaign could only result in good things for both the tenant and WVHT, with rewards all round. Secondly, there is a clever play on words, taking a possibly negative phrase and using it positively. This entire campaign revolves around the idea that tenants should get the reward they deserve for being excellent tenants.
Throughout the campaign, we chose to focus on the benefits of being part of this scheme. This meant emphasising what tenants could do with their prize money e.g. ‘I’ll get my Just Rewards and I’ve got my eye on a new sofa!’ Other suggestions included family holidays and season tickets. In addition, we used a tone of voice that encouraged people to take action without it seeming like the Weaver Vale Housing Trust was telling anyone off or laying down the law.
When it came to the imagery of the campaign, we encouraged the Weaver Vale Housing Trust to use photos of real life winners. We wanted to ensure that real people were right at the heart of the campaign. A lot of their properties are located close together so there was the perfect opportunity to show tenants that people in the exact same situation as them have won in the past. There was no reason why it couldn’t be them. Grabbing tenant’s attention was also vital to ensure that any direct mail wouldn’t be instantly discarded as junk mail or something financial.
For this campaign we produced a range of assets to ensure that we hit every target audience. Audience research has demonstrated that post tends to be opened by an older audience, so direct mail was a must. Everytime a copy of the WVHT magazine is posted out they see a spike in phone calls to the Money Matters advice office, demonstrating that the message is getting through. To ensure that the ‘Just Rewards’ message reached younger tenants, we produced a series of social media banners.
Since the ‘Just Rewards’ campaign was rolled out across the Weaver Vale Housing Trust’s properties, the number of tenants choosing to pay via direct debit has increased and fewer people are falling to arrears. What an incredible result!