Two people working in construction in the UK die by suicide every day. That’s over 700 people a year.
That’s a shocking loss of life, isn’t it.
Stress, depression or anxiety accounts for 27% of all work-related illnesses in construction. The construction industry in the UK has a male majority, who are far less likely to speak up and seek support for their mental health. This culture is part of what leads to such large statistics, and it has to end.
This is what Rockthorn’s director Stuart Curtis believes. Rockthorn is an unbeatable plant supplier in the UK, with Stuart at the helm. Stuart has witnessed members of on-site and off-site teams struggling with their mental health in his years in the industry and has heard stories from his peers of their own experiences. He knows that the mental health of everyone working in the construction industry is incredibly important, and wants to end the stigma attached to talking about personal struggles.
He came to us wanting to create a campaign to raise awareness, and we were honored to help.
The plan was to create something powerful. Something with impact.
Our ultimate aim with this campaign was to open people’s eyes to the silent struggle of construction workers everywhere. We wanted to provide information to raise awareness through a social media campaign, while also offering support in the form of a physical sign for construction sites complete with the contact details of professionals.
We knew we wanted to get a charity involved with this project. We hoped to lift the issue from the page and move it into a real-world solution, for the charity to be able to offer its services to anyone seeing the graphics and signs.
Above all else, the goal was to get people thinking, talking, and, hopefully, reaching out a hand to each other. A simple ‘how are you really doing?’ to a coworker or an offer of a cup of tea and a chat can often mean more to someone than we realize.
What we did
To start, our social media executives Alex and Lewis and digital marketer Ellie got together and found materials to inspire the beginnings of the project. After a brainstorming session with the Nu Image directors, they had a solid direction they wanted to take the campaign.
The first solid shape of the campaign was the physical sign for construction sites. For the design, we used the MAYA principle – Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable. This is the concept that doing something too ‘extreme’, no matter how aesthetically pleasing, may have the reverse effects that you want due to it being too much for the intended audience. By using a construction site-style design for the symptoms sign, we were able to introduce something innovative yet familiar for those viewing it, increasing its impact.
The rest was built around the certainty of the physical sign, taking inspiration from it and resulting in the concept of interviews with real people within the industry to talk about their own experiences. We were unsure how many people would have the confidence to take part – it’s a big deal to put yourself out there, especially when the subject is so emotional and vulnerable. However, we were blown away by just how many people wanted to offer their time and stories for this important cause.
From here, the title was born. Spot the Signs. With this and the materials gathered, it was over to the design team to work their magic. Stephen quickly created a simple yet incredibly effective logo for the campaign – the classic triangular warning sign on top of a person’s profile wearing a hard hat. Using a yellow and dark blue colourway, an impactful contrast was born, drawing the eye to this illustration and its accompanying text. Born from this logo was the design theme for the rest of the campaign, reflected in every post created and in the details within the video interviews.
Next, it was time to reach out to charities. Norfolk and Waveney Mind , an incredible organization dedicated to supporting those struggling with their mental health, partnered with us and we got to work alongside the amazing Rachel. This gave us the opportunity to add their logo to our graphics and their contact details to our physical site signs, for those that needed to reach out but weren’t sure where to start.
Not everyone is comfortable talking to their peers about their problems, and finding calling professionals privately much easier. Everyone copes in their own way, so we wanted this campaign to support all possible routes of getting help.
What came next
It was time to plan the structure of the campaign. It was decided that the central point of the timeline should be October 10th 2023, World Mental Health Day. This timeline included a few posts leading up to the World Mental Health Day post which would kick off the campaign officially. Interviews and photos of real people within the construction industry would feature heavily, encouraging others to think about their mental health and the mental health of those around them. The stigma of acting tough and macho on-site needed to be broken, so featuring men in these segments was important.
A large part of social media marketing is understanding your audience. We created our content strategy for the campaign, planning the posts and organizing when and where was best to post so that the right audiences were reached. Instagram and LinkedIn were proven the best platforms for the job, so content was created to target the users of these social media spaces.
After this came the filming. We teamed up with the brilliant Meantime Media for the interviews which they directed, filmed and edited expertly. These fantastic pieces of media were the core messages of the campaign, and with them, we were able to finalize the project and line it up. September 26th saw the first post hit Instagram and LinkedIn, followed by a second before the official launch on October 10th. We posted 5 video interviews interspersed with photos and graphics linking to accompanying blog posts over the course of the next month and a half, ending on November 27th.
After an incredible amount of hard work from everyone participating in this campaign, the outcome was something to truly be proud of. Eye-catching, powerful, and styled to fit in with Rockthorn’s existing brand, this social media marketing campaign is multifaceted, delivering a strong and important message while garnering engagement.
This campaign wasn’t produced to bring Rockthorn followers and views. It was for raising awareness of a serious issue within the construction industry. However, the campaign spoke to people, resulting in over 8,000 Instagram accounts reached and making over 33,000 impressions on LinkedIn. We’re delighted that so many people resonated with the message and responded so well, and hope more than anything that it has created an opening for those working in construction to talk to each other about mental health.
The physical sign has been popular, so we’re currently in the process of getting more printed to be distributed across construction sites in Norfolk. The goal is for the campaign to spread nationwide with signs across the UK, encouraging those in construction to recognise that it’s okay to not be okay and that there is support out there for them.
We have loved working with Rockthorn on this ongoing campaign and getting to focus our energy on something powerful. Our social media digital marketers are always ready to work on your important projects with you, so get in touch today to discover how we can help bring your ideas to life.
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