Highly Commended award in the Marketing Initiative of the Year category for its Shocking Truth About Installer Safety campaign

At last year’s Electrical Industry awards, Super Rod won the Highly Commended award in the Marketing Initiative of the Year category for its Shocking Truth About Installer Safety campaign. The 2018/19 campaign was run in partnership with Louise Taggart, a leading health and safety campaigner who has been fighting for improvements to isolation practices since the death of her 26-year-old brother Michael Adamson, an electrician who died in an entirely preventable workplace accident in 2005.

We caught up with Louise to talk about her experience of the Electrical Industry Awards, and what’s coming up next in the fight to improve safe isolation practices within the UK electrical industry.

ET: Why do you think the safe isolation campaign has been so successful?
LT: I think there’s a couple of reasons – namely widespread industry engagement and the fact that it was a multi-channelled, multifaceted campaign which meant it had longevity.
From the moment Super Rod’s Managing Director Malcolm Duncan heard me speak at a gathering of College lecturers, he and his team saw the power of my wee brother’s story in engaging people with why safe isolation is so critically important.
The initial research carried out into current attitudes and practices was as enlightening as it was horrifying. But it was essential to be able to build a hard-hitting and enduring campaign around the subject.

The opportunities Super Rod then secured to tell my brother’s story in the trade press were incredible. An article was even requested by a trade magazine I had long sought to have copy in, but had never achieved. This widespread coverage on and offline was essential in reaching people with the safe isolation message and engaging as many electrical contractors and installers as possible.

To further the endurance of the campaign, and ensure it wasn’t just something that simply existed on paper or online, we followed it up with the “Save Our Sparks” promotion in partnership with CEF, offering essential safe isolation equipment at a discounted price. This second phase brought the campaign to life, allowing individuals to take action and put the safe isolation message into practice.

ET: Has the campaign continued since the Awards? What impact has it had?
LT: The renewed industry focus on the topic of safe isolation has generated more opportunities to tell Michael’s Story, particularly to young people.

In October I was invited to tell Michael’s Story to apprentices at the College in Edinburgh where he had trained, and Super Rod donated 40 safe isolation bundles to the young people studying there; a number chosen to mark the fact my brother should have turned 40 last year.

SECTT have started using a short video about my brother in their training of apprentices and other Colleges are running safe isolation campaigns with their learners.
I’m also seeing an increasing amount of good practice being posted on social media. A huge amount of momentum has been built up in the wake of the campaign, which will help save lives.

ET: Was 2019 your first experience of the Electrical Industry awards? If so, what were your first impressions?
LT: I hadn’t been to the Awards before and I thoroughly enjoyed it as a night for celebrating successes but also for networking with others in the industry.

ET: How has entering the awards helped you or the campaign?
LT: The Awards recognition put the spotlight firmly back on the subject of safe isolation in the electrical industry and drew people’s attention to our research and where improvements still need to be made. So I saw it as another bite at the cherry – a chance to bring the campaign to a new audience who may have missed it before.
It was also very encouraging to be recognised by our peers in the industry for our campaign, and if anything, it further strengthened my resolve to keep striving to make a positive difference in the industry.

ET: Is there anything you’d like to see in the Electrical Industry awards in the future?
LT: I’d really like to see a Health and Safety campaign or initiative category in the future. This would put the focus on safety, not just from the Electrical Industry awards, but from the industry as a whole.

ET: Do you have any advice for other organisations or individuals looking to enter the 2020 awards?
LT: It’s a relatively small investment in time and effort to complete the awards process, but it’s well worth it when you are shortlisted for an award and you have the opportunity to present your work and your message on a big stage.