What makes an award-winning audio?

The National Trust
What makes an award-winning audio?

Everyone knows the National Trust and their work to protect historic places and green spaces. Recently, they’ve been using the Special Places campaign to widen their appeal. To help them get the message across we created some award winning audio that customers hear when they call in. I caught up with the team responsible for commissioning the work to find out more about why they decided to make the changes. And, what customers have been saying about them.

I have to admit, I’d got the National Trust all wrong. I thought they were just about dusting off stately homes. As the nation’s well-loved conservation charity, The Trust does protect historic houses. But it also welcomes about 50 million people to gardens, ancient monuments, beaches, forests and more, making them available for everyone to enjoy.

Just recently, The Trust seems to have gone through a bit of an image change. That old buttoned-up character has retired. And the new National Trust is drawing in younger members and families. With 900,000 calls a year (from their 3.7 million members) going into their Liverpool contact centre, I wanted to find out how our work was supporting this drive.

Grace Balance, Operations Co-ordinator, explained to me why they started to look at the customer experience in the contact centre. “We’d been following the same sort of pattern for a while,” said Grace, “if our callers had to wait, the audio they heard would pump them with information, or ask them to do something. It was time to do things differently.” 

“This was the perfect opportunity for us to bring ourselves in line with marketing strategy,” added Rachelle Elliott, Operations Officer, “We wanted the contact centre to provide communications that were in line with what was happening elsewhere. With the Special Places campaign helping to grow the nation’s love of their favourite places to visit, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to continue the message.” 

The new audio features people talking about the places that they've found special and why. “The team put together a production that embodied the Special Places theme, creating just the right atmosphere to inspire others with memories and experiences,” commented Rachelle.

When I asked about the impact the new audio has had on callers, they were in little doubt. “The feedback's been great.” said Grace, “when customers are on hold, they really enjoy the new audio, which is lovely to hear. Sometimes, its just about listening – and that’s exactly what our callers are doing. And they’re engaging more about what they’ve heard.” 

Operations Manager Alan Evans explained to me how the project has helped them to achieve their objectives “People have started to think about us in a different way. Special Places illustrates that The National Trust has a lot to offer, whether it's walking your dog on the coastline, or a family day out at the beach. The new audio has contributed to changing people’s mindsets, encouraging a new generation of members.” 

When I asked about winning the Audio Marketing Association (AMA) award, Rachelle told me it’s been a source of much pride for everyone involved. “We were thrilled to hear that we'd won an AMA Audible award. The work was recognised as the best commercial production, and within our part of the Trust it was voted one of the highlights of the year. The judges were impressed by the combination of creative excellence and the way the audio supported our marketing goals.” 

With an award and a great reaction from customers, the current audio certainly seems to have gone down well. But what will happen in the future, I asked. “The team will continue to help us match our audio with the communication schemes as they change,” said Grace, “it's important to keep up with what's happening elsewhere, as our aim is to make sure that our messages are consistent, no matter where you come into contact with us."