COVID COMMS #8 What putting a human face on ‘Stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS’ actually looks like

I’ve been banging a couple of drums these past few weeks about the role that your frontline people play in all this.

The nurse, the care worker, the binman or the firefighter all have a massive role to play.

We’ve seen ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home, Protect the NHS’ and we’re tiring of it.

Putting a human face on it showing how frontline people are working with it renews it and helps it land.

The human face cuts through in a way a politician or senior officer cannot. I’ve blogged the data to win the argument about not turning always to politicians here. In this post I’ll show crowdsourced examples of real people’s stories.

Big thank you to Public Sector Comms Headspace members Stephen Penman, Nikki Todhunter, Emma Pettis, Jack Showell, Paul Compton, Mark Miller and Kellie Thompson for contributing ideas.

Sharon’s human appeal for PPE

Sharon the Home Care worker was the face of this North Lanarkshire Council video that appealed for protective equipment at the start of April. It’s lovely. Sharon comes over well and Stephen Penman and his team can be proud of the 20,000 items it generated and a lead to a key supplier. A side benefit was the fact that businesses felt connected because they could help even though it may only be a box of gloves.

You can see the clip here.


Hospital staff’s video message about dignity in dying

NHS Grampian’s video message from hospital staff raises the issue of dignity in dying.

It offers thanks for the 8pm round of applause every Thursday but it also changes the conversation slightly to focus on those who have lost loved ones. It talks of how nursing staff take care and pride in offering death with dignity when they can no longer save a life. That’s an awkward thing to do and the fact that the scripted message is delivered in a hospital setting by nursing staff who may have been involved makes it powerful.

You can see it here.


Hannah’s diary about being redeployed

Staff are being asked work out of their comfort zone because of the impact that COVID-19 is having on their employer.

What was once a regular job may have disappeared and new tasks are needed to be done.

So, the example of Hannah who has been asked to carry out new duties is interesting. She works for Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear NHS Trust. She talks about her anxiety and her worries. She talks about the help she got settling into the new tasks. She talks about how that felt and how she feels as though she is doing something helpful. It is not North Korean positive. She talks of her apprehension. It’s all the more powerful for that.

Also notable is that while a prime audience may be staff it’s posted onto the Trust website so the public can read too.

You can read the blog post diary here.


Andy the binman’s Facebook post about messages of support

Bin crews are still working to take away waste.

On his rounds, Andy noticed the messages of thanks he was getting from people attached to the bins they were leaving out.  So, he took them home, photographed them and posted them onto Facebook.

Horsham Council’s comms team to their credit re-posted the image onto the corporate news feed.  This is perfect. A human voice being recognised by a council.

You can see the post here.


A binman says ‘thank you’

This bin crew was videoed with a message of thanks for support by West Sussex Council.

It does what it needs to. A human voice with recognition of the support they’ve been shown and a request to clean bin handles and park safely so lorries and emergency vehicles can get past.

It has a broad Sussex voice for a Sussex audience.

You can see it here.


Jack’s human message about driving ambulances

Firefighter Jack Charles normally drives fire appliances but during COVID-19 he’s been switched to driving ambulances.

Devon and Somerset shot a video of the officer talking in the back of an ambulance about his new role. He’s already trained for driving under blue lights, he says. He’s also trained to give lifesaving first aid.

“In the meantime, stay home and stay safe,” he reminds us.

You can see the video here.


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