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The brief

Our client, the charity Action on Elder Abuse wanted to reposition itself from an agitator to a collaborator. It sought to become a more evidence-led, sustainable, partnership-focused and public-facing organisation with a presence in all four nations of the UK. Building on nearly thirty years of history and relaunching under the new name of Hourglass, the organisation wanted to become the leading charity in the safer ageing sector – raising the profile of the abuse, harm and exploitation of older people. The rebrand needed careful positioning with key stakeholders to drive home the value shift messages that the new name stands for.
Our solution 
In order to showcase Hourglass’ new evidence-led, sustainable, and public-facing approach, we sought to understand public awareness and attitudes to abuse. Using WHO data and a specialist pollster from the NSPCC, we identified an evidence gap on attitudes towards the abuse of older people in the UK, as well as its prevalence.

To engage senior-level stakeholders who could take our evidence to the public, we coordinated a series of events across the UK’s four nations. The events would use headlines generated from the research to highlight the epidemic of abuse facing older people to an audience of politicians, influencers, social care practitioners, media and charity stakeholders.
As the time to relaunch drew closer, however, it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would necessitate a shift in our PR strategy in order to prevent Hourglass’ research becoming lost. We reframed the research, using the statistics we’d collected around attitudes towards domestic violence and neglect to maximise cut-through.

We quickly pivoted from the physical relaunch events to a social media led relaunch with grass roots-created videos of Hourglass’ core stakeholders saying what the name change meant to them. All of this ensured that Hourglass’ key messaging around the relaunch cut through while keeping the powder dry on the charity’s unique research for future use.

ZPB secured widespread coverage carrying Hourglass’ messaging to over two million people despite the pandemic dominating the news agenda. The focused social media campaign deployed across March and April also proved highly successful, allowing Hourglass to reach nearly 500,000 people over the course of the campaign.

The relaunch also positioned Hourglass in the Daily Express in the ongoing domestic abuse debate during COVID-19, helping the charity secure additional funding to continue its vital work during the pandemic and beyond.

Using this position, we questioned watchdogs’ efficacy in protecting vulnerable older people during the pandemic in The Guardian, which bought Care England and the Good Law Project to our door, with the latter subsequently partnering with Hourglass on a legal challenge to the government to force an inquiry into failings to provide personal protective equipment to health and social care workers during the pandemic.

News of the legal challenge has generated media coverage featuring Hourglass with a reach of over 156 million – drastically raising the charity’s profile.

Despite the pandemic, and thanks to a quick-thinking pivot, ZPB’s work on the Hourglass relaunch campaign has helped the charity achieve its objectives.

Objectives achieved:

More evidence led:

we developed a brand-new dataset that the media has advocated

More sustainable:

the successful relaunch has developed new funding streams

A collaborative partner: 

the campaign saw a collective drive to hold a public inquiry with the Good Law Project


campaigning for a public inquiry leading to sustained engagement from the public

Nearly 500,000 people reached over the course of the campaign

Richard Robinson

CEO, Hourglass


ZPB’s data-focused expertise and their unique investment in a full-time analyst has meant that they were able to turn this research around quickly and provide compelling evidence in this sector. Their innate understanding of data and how to use it to bring value to their clients is unmatched.

Additionally, ZPB’s ability to adapt in the face of an unprecedented global crisis has been vital in helping Hourglass to reposition and make an impact in perhaps the most challenging media environment we have ever seen. Being able to pivot and adapt the strategy and manoeuvre in a rapidly changing media environment under extreme time pressure is an invaluable asset in a strategic partner, and despite the upheaval, we’ve felt in safe hands every step of the way.

“We have valued ZPB’s support and guidance throughout the rebranding process and beyond.


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