It’s no secret that people are for the most part, motivated by self-interest. One look at the latest social media statistics will tell you this. The number one motivator for liking a Facebook page is ‘to get freebies and giveaways’… with information about products and services coming in a close second. It’s an issue facing community engagement co-ordinators everywhere. How do you educate people about an issue that doesn’t directly affect them? How do you motivate them to invest time in understanding the information on offer?

We recently took on the task of hosting a community engagement event for Suncorp Insurance to spread their Must-Have-Safer Queensland Roads message. The safer roads message is a hard sell, one that gets a lot of air time which can prompt ambivalence from a tired public. How did we get around this? Through interactivity.

Our approach was to generate a concept that looked interesting, gave a call to action, generated interactivity and engaged people through their empathy for others.

In true Red PR style, we caused a scene and caught people’s attention by transforming the George St end of Queen Street Mall into a giant road.

We engaged the Must-Have Safer Qld Roads Ambassador Craig Lowndes to recruit a team of safer Qld drivers. Passers-by could jump in a photo with Craig and sign the safer roads wall. The queues went for miles.

Suncorp partners Youngcare, Fatality Free Friday and RYDA offered interactive and educational challenges hosted by our MC’s Jessinta Campbell and Kip from Nova, with prizes on offer for anyone who took part. But what was really effective, what had the power to break through any ambivalence people may have held for the message was hearing from another person who was directly affected by the issue. Craig interviewed Tegan Crick, a beautiful young girl who is bound to a wheel chair after a four-wheel driving crash left a quadriplegic. As Tegan told her story everything stopped. There was true empathy in people’s eyes – engagement occurred.

It was a sobering and yet warming realisation, that despite the saturation of messaging, seeing the impact a road crash had on another human seemed to motivate people to engage with the issue. And perhaps this engagement stimulated real change.

The road toll as it currently stands is at least 300 percent better than it was five years ago, but we still have a long way to go. The safer roads message has been repeated tens of thousands of times. Perhaps the answer is to find new and different ways of communicating it, so that our community takes notice. We hope we did just that.

Facebook for Suncorp’s Must-Have Safer Roads Qld.

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