• Jayne George, Director of Marketing, RNLI Lifeboats

We are more than capable of driving forwards internally

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

“[Our team] executed the ideas flawlessly, without compromise and achieved an immediate income increase from appeals of 139% over the previous year.”

Jayne George, director of marketing, RNLI Lifeboats

Lightbulb moment: We are more than capable of driving forwards internally.

An illustration of a lifeboat at sea

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, as well as on some inland waterways.

RNLI’s team of several hundred people has a huge task — to guarantee the funding for the largest private fleet of lifeboats in the world at 238 stations around the UK and Ireland. Its crews are 95 percent volunteers, but the organization needs to fund their training and equipment and also provide lifeguards on beaches through the summer months.

According to George: “The number of people using our coast is increasing every year and so therefore is the demand for call-outs (which we provide 24/7) and income.

“When I started (for the second time) at the RNLI in January 2019, one of the first things I did was commission a series of education sessions and design sprints with Alan and his team. I had had much success with this method in my previous role at another organisation.

“My objective was for my team to be able to do everything themselves. They had been through a bit of a rough patch but are hugely talented, and I felt that they only needed some focus, energy, confidence and stimulation to launch the RNLI to new standards of financial performance.

“Wow, was I right! At our first creative sprint held at a lifeboat station, we developed our ‘Perfect Storm’ campaign. The RNLI team generated most of the simple but powerful ideas, prompted by the environment, the process and the external facilitation and creative teams. This ownership meant they executed the ideas flawlessly, without compromise and achieved an immediate income increase from appeals of 139% over the previous year — an extra seven-figure net benefit to the RNLI.

“At the second sprint, this time held at the Inch, we took on the bigger picture, long-term challenge of the permanent vision and market position of the RNLI. It could not have been simpler — we found an extremely focussed and emotional way to communicate our new vision of ‘To save every one’ and precisely defined how we differentiate ourselves in a crowded fundraising market. Again, I am so proud that our internal talent did the majority of the work themselves, feeding on the stimulus, environment and process brought in from the design thinkers.

“We have now been able to evaluate the re-launch of RNLI’s marketing. We are well positioned to gain from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for growth due to demographic changes, and confidently predict a steady rise in increased revenue over the next ten years of over £200 million per annum – to almost £400 million per year. Over that period, that will generate us more than an extra half a billion pounds to protect those who use the coast around the UK and Ireland.

“Our team won’t stop there, though. The focus, drive and spirit of excellence now shine constantly. Growth continues to grow. As of late 2020, we only touch in with the Design Thinking team occasionally online, as we are more than capable of driving forwards internally – and continuing to work in the design space when needed.

“Until the next relaunch, that is …”

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