To communicate to a vast audience of British businesses that the final stage of the Companies Act 2006 is coming into force after a 3 year phased introduction.
This final step in the legislative process was an opportunity to remind business owners of the benefits of the act and how it would effect them. However, the Companies Act is a rather complicated legal document which is 768 pages long.
We needed to engage the audience in a distinctive and clear way in order for this key date to be noticed and to prompt the necessary actions to be taken to change business processes from this date forwards.
Research showed us that the majority of our target audience were aware of the Companies Act but they needed more information to understand the key details and dates which were relevant to them.
We developed an integrated campaign to cut through the clutter and to prompt business owners and intermediaries to visit the Companies House web site – where the key information about the Companies Act was designed and laid out in an accessible and segmented way.
We used a recognisable and memorable metaphor to announce `The Final Act’, which added gravitas and visual interest to what could easily have been a dry and uninteresting announcement exercise.
A heavyweight campaign of 48 sheet posters targeted business commuters at all the major cities across England and Wales. At key sites such as city centre station platforms, the outdoor posters were adorned with actual velvet curtains which were mechanized to open and close, thereby guaranteeing a higher engagement rate with passing business people.
Digital display banners, MPUs and skyscrapers followed suit with flash animated red curtains opening on cue with an added spotlight to draw eyes into the simple proposition, and to prompt click-throughs to Companies House. And press ads in a host of national titles ensured a broad reach and coverage of our target audience.
As companies approached their financial year ends, we sent all registered directors a simple, benefit driven guide in the shape of a beautifully designed z-card contained in a tiny red envelope. More than 2 million direct mail packs were sent out over a 6 month period.
Despite the scale and complexity of the legislative changes, overall compliance rates rose to a record level of 97.9%, compared to less than 95% in 2009. And the communications programme helped steer even greater numbers of customers towards online filing with 73% of all documents being filed electronically in March 2010, an increase of 64% over the year.