In the aftermath of COVID-19, the rising cost of living in NSW affected not only people’s back pockets, but their confidence in the economy and their ability to pay their bills. People felt less optimistic and more pessimistic about economic recovery, as inflation increased to 5.1%, and annual wages grew at only 2.4%.
These sentiments were validated by the NSW Department of Customer Service (DCS) Customer Insights research which identified that 87% of NSW residents were either extremely or quite concerned about their ability to make ends meet. Grocery prices, electricity costs, fuel, healthcare and housing affordability were among the top concerns.
To support NSW residents, the NSW Government created ‘Savings Finder’ as an online tool housing over 70 savings, rebates and vouchers. This provided a single point of access for residents to easily identify and redeem the cost of living initiatives available to them.
Our goal was to position the NSW Government as the first choice for cost-of-living support that positively impacts the quality of NSW citizen's lives. To do this, we needed to create a campaign that drove awareness, education and uptake of Savings Finder amongst the broad and diverse communities across NSW.
To achieve this, we focused on the following campaign objectives:
Raise awareness of the NSW Government Savings Finder rebates and savings.
Increase website traffic to the Savings Finder landing page.
Increase usage of the Savings Finder tool.
To inform our strategy, we used quantitative research to explore seven areas, which delivered key insights:
87% of the community was concerned with the cost of living including groceries (83%), electricity (79%) and fuel prices (78%).
72% of CALD customers identified that COVID-19 had a negative impact on their financial situation, with 34% having experienced financial hardship.
66% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced financial hardship, and 82% were concerned about their cost of living.
Lower income households and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experienced emotional barriers - shame in admitting their financial struggles and a fear of rejection when seeking support.
Low awareness of available rebates - 37% General NSW Population, 33% CALD and 38% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Email, TV and Facebook were the channels most preferred to hear about NSW Government rebates and savings.
From this research, we identified and developed five priority audience personas. These were families, single parents, retirees, CALD communities, plus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While Savings Finder was available to all NSW residents 18+, these five personas provided focus for the campaign as they were identified as those most impacted by the rising costs of living and those who would benefit most from the program. This approach allowed us to positively impact those most in need through an awareness, engagement and uptake strategy.
Next, a messaging strategy was developed to communicate the 70+ Savings Finder initiatives. It was important to develop both high-level awareness of the program amongst all NSW residents 18+ and specific messages to relevant audiences through a tactical strategy.
The campaign launched with the key awareness message ‘Over 70 ways to save’ across broad-reaching channels including TV, Outdoor, Cinema, Press, Radio, Digital Display and Social. The creative represented diverse audience age groups, ethnicities, life stages and locations in real-life situations, while the media strategy focused on maximising reach and frequency. This approach allowed us to deliver a clear, strong, relatable, and consistent message. Seeing real life situations and people throughout the campaign ensured Savings Finder maintained top-of-mind, achieving 96.4% reach in metro NSW and 95.16% reach in regional NSW.
To support the awareness approach, approximately 1500 assets promoting relevant rebates and vouchers to individual audiences were implemented in highly effective conversion media channels including paid search, digital display, radio, print, television, online video, social, and email. This ensured solution-based messages were delivered in moments where the cost of living pinch was most felt, driving uptake and reducing eligibility confusion. In-language translated messaging formed a significant part of the tactical strategy to ensure all vulnerable CALD residents felt included and able to easily access savings.
To further support this community, partnerships with media channels such as the Daily Telegraph Cost of Living guide, My Kitchen Rules, SBS, as well as pop up events with local councils and shopping centers were implemented. This allowed our message to be delivered by credible community spokespeople, in language, in a highly detailed and personalised way.
The Savings Finder campaign reached multiple audiences across NSW, raising broad awareness and uptake of all the savings, rebates and vouchers available providing people with immediate financial relief making a significant difference to their lives and fostering hope that the recent years of struggle were behind them.
As of March 2023, NSW citizens saved over $8.25 billion collectively since the campaign launched; an average saving of $2,272 per household and $3,511 per family in NSW.
The campaign was evaluated on the following:
Objective 1: Raise awareness of the NSW Government Savings Finder rebates and savings.
Awareness rose from 18% in 2021 to 80% in February 2023.
Objective 60% Result 80%. Overachieved objective by +33%.
Objective 2: Increase website traffic to the ‘Savings Finder’ landing page.
Traffic increased by 261%, with over 6.5 million pageviews from December 2021 to January 2023.
Objective 3: Increase usage of the Savings Finder tool.
Usage increased by 223% - used over 2 million times throughout the campaign, up from 620k pre-campaign.
Contact centre enquiries increased by 280%, totalling 36,484 enquiries compared to 9,603 in the pre-campaign period.
Specialist appointments, helping customers find and apply for rebates, vouchers and discounts, increased by 17%, with a total of 30,863, up from 26,402 in the pre-campaign period.
The campaign achieved a total combined reach of 97.42% amongst people aged 18+ in NSW. The online media channels alone reached 90% of NSW and delivered 1.4 million clicks to the website.