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The Varkey Foundation – An Inspiring Content-led Social Campaign

Using the powerful hashtag #TeachersMatter and the engaging “If you can..” creative strategy (across international markets and major digital channels) we are now, thanks to Hunterlodge, well on our way to a social movement – a movement which, we hope, inspires children to grow up wanting to be superstar teachers.

Claire Chappell

Group Director of Marketing

The Start

Our brief was to raise awareness of the Global Teacher Prize, a US$1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

We were required to create an inspiring, content-led social campaign anchored around the hashtag #TeachersMatter. In doing so our campaign objective was to increase impressions and engagement across all channels by 15% year-on-year.

But we had a very limited timescale in which to achieve this – just 8 weeks, from the announcement of the final Top 10 teachers to the announcement of the winner at the prestigious Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

The Middle

Our targeting requirements were complex: primarily we were required to engage teaching professionals worldwide and, secondarily, anyone from the Public, Private and Social sectors that had an interest in “seeking solutions to achieving education, equity and employment for all”.

However, building awareness and inspiring advocacy among such a broad group in a short space of time demanded a prolific content strategy, pushing out content at an hourly rate across all markets. And for that weight of content to hang together as a cohesive campaign, we needed a bold emotive ‘golden thread’ from which each piece of content could hang.

In order to get the global community to truly believe that #TeachersMatter we needed to make the message personal, reminding them that many of the skills they possess are a result of the patience, tenacity, generosity of a teacher. To this end, central to our ‘golden thread’ was the assertion:

“If you can [insert remarkable skill], it’s because #TeachersMatter.”

The End

To launch the concept, we created an animation that linked back to the Top 10 Finalists. The animation showcased great inventions from each of the finalists’ home nations, reminding of the role teachers played in their development, and encouraging viewers to send in their own videos and photos, showing the world what they can do because of teachers and why #TeachersMatter. We had a huge response, with hundreds of people sending in videos from all four corners of the planet, driven by the emotive nature of the content.

We also recognised that the content most shared in social networks is that relating to very current events so, to amplify our #TeachersMatter message further, we adopted a newsroom approach to developing newsfeed and tweeted content. On a daily basis, the Hunterlodge team reviewed the day’s news to identify any stories upon which we could apply the ‘If you can/TeachersMatter’ spin.

The Hunterlodge team also provided invaluable support at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. Over the two days our team of four social media specialists gathered candid behind-the-scenes photographs, video vox pops and reportage. A live blog was kept updated and all social channels received live posts, providing a consistent narrative from the event. The announcement of the winner itself was broadcast live by our team on Twitter and Facebook. Our coverage featured appearances by Hollywood A-listers Matthew McConaughey and Salma Hayek, as well as video messages from Prince William, Bill Clinton and, making the winner’s announcement, Pope Francis.

The Results

Post campaign analysis showed that all the hard work paid off. Our campaign achieved:

110.3 million global impressions in just 8 weeks

32.6k new likes of Facebook over the same short period

7.3k followers on Twitter

Year-on-year results well over the +15% objective, with Twitter showing a 30% increase in followers, Facebook over 32% more page likes and Linkedin driving a 75% increase in website traffic.

A clear indication that our creative ‘golden thread’ resonated with the global community and that our agility in applying that thread to global events in real-time served to drive wholesale engagement in a very short space of time.

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