Sarah Price, General Manager Media at Alzheimer’s Australia spoke about the organisation’s awareness campaigns at a recent Criterion conference. She shared statistics including:
- Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia
- More than 25,000 Australians have Younger Onset Dementia
- 3 in 10 people over 85 and almost 1 in 10 people over 65 have dementia
However, she told the audience that statistic-based campaigns often fail to make an impact when it comes to awareness-raising. One of the greatest barriers to dementia awareness is the fear and stigma that still surrounds the disease. Alzheimer’s Australia decided to tackle this by focusing their campaigns on real people living with dementia, and their families and carers.
They began by putting together a series of simple videos interviewing some of their clients. The nature of the campaigns and subsequent media attention is naturally quite public, so their main priority was to ensure those involved were aware of that from the start.
Once the first videos launched, more and more clients began to come forward to get involved. Sarah says that it’s been a very positive experience for those who take part, as it reinforces that their voices can and should be heard.
Developing their campaigns
From small beginnings, they have now developed a small team focused on these awareness-raising campaigns. High profile influencers have come on board to keep the conversation going, and videographers have offered to help create the clips at a low cost.
Social media has played a huge role in amplifying their campaigns, but Sarah says it isn’t without its challenges. “Cutting through the noise is difficult with our limited resources.” They have also established a blog with four contributing writers, all of whom are affected by dementia in different ways. Articles are posted once a month and attract consistent traffic. “Our audience is screaming out for content like that, and we’re working on expanding it.”
A monthly e-newsletter provides another platform for their content. Articles are focused on information that will be useful to the consumer – “it’s not about the work we’re doing or an award we might have won. People want to know about the latest research or new resources.”
One new initiative is a section called ‘Close to You’ on Alzheimer’s Australia’s news and information hub. Based on your location, the website displays dynamic content of statistics and stories based in your local community.
Sarah concluded that while platforms and channels might continue to change, a good story will always have an impact – particularly when trying to reach an audience that might otherwise want to avoid hearing the messaging.
Graeme Samuel AC, National President of Alzheimer’s Australia will be speaking at the Strengthening Dementia Strategy conference, alongside Consumer Advocates & Ambassadors, Christine Bryden AM PSM and Sue Pieters-Hawke. Book soon to secure early bird rates.