The brief

Motivating adults to find the training and education they need to progress

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) tasked us to develop a behaviour led marketing strategy and campaign to engage adults working in less secure, lower paid and lower skilled roles to find the training and education they need to progress into new jobs or receive more satisfying pay/conditions.


Our Approach

Using our tools

As any campaign has to reduce barriers and increase motivation, we first set about understanding both of these aspects in our audience. Having developed nine personas, we found that there were a range of reasons why people might have disengaged with learning which range from emotional  (memories of school) and practical (don’t have time). 

We also learnt that there are some groups who might be so hard to engage with on the subject of learning and training, that the campaign would not be effective for them. Likewise there are other adults in the West Midlands who are fortunate to already have the propensity and capability to find training and ways to progress for themselves. 

What all this meant was that we had to re-frame learning. We couldn’t let the first impression people have of our campaign trigger a defensive reaction, so we had to get people to see themselves in what we’re talking about, and understand learning as something broader than formal education or training. 

We also needed to give learning a more inclusive meaning, one that starts to encompass the things they already do, the ways they learn and everyone else already learns.

In other words, put this in the emotionally rewarding bracket of life learning – learning to cook, learning to drive, learning to floss, learning to walk, learning to use your first tablet.  Learning these things are informal, but they open up a world of possibilities. 

Using our Motivation Mapping tool, we identified that we had to move learners through three motivational drivers to get to the ultimate goal of connecting with a training provider. The first was to get them to identify as learners and think ‘this if for people like me’ (which is a sense of belonging), the second stage was to make sure they are in control of the process (which is the security motivation) and finally to get them to see that they can achieve something they want (fulfilment).

Creatively, this strategy is represented through the use of a question: What if…? This allows the audience to think for themselves about what their own ‘What if’ might be.  The answer is then positioned as the ‘Know How’.  This expression is the campaign’s overarching theme, and was deliberately chosen because it is simple, everyday language for what you gain by learning, and for learning itself.

To ensure the campaign created memory structures and associations with the audience, we treated Know How like a brand, and designed it with bright colours to gain attention, warm and welcoming typefaces and an approachable photography style that reflects the diverse audience of potential learners we’re talking to.

The results

The campaign activity includes highly targeted social media advertising, regional radio spots and door drops, which kicked off in July 2023.

"The Behaviours Agency’s behavioural approach to the campaign was great. We know there are loads of reasons people are reluctant to get back into learning later in life, and the TBA team quickly identified these barriers and demonstrated how their strategic approach would reduce them and increase motivation at the same time. We’re excited to see how it works"

Clare Boden-Hatton, Director of Operations – Employment and Skills

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