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    I remembered Malcolm Smith

    November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

I remembered Malcolm Smith

“Has the Institute of Directors’ video gone out yet?”
“I am not sure Mike. There is literally so much content from supporting organisations – I’d need to check!”.

A conversation repeated so many times (with different asks) between myself and James, who was co-ordinating the Purple Tuesday communications.

We wanted Purple Tuesday to create an impact and be led by the 2,500+ participating organisations.  We got our wish on both fronts.

You – the organisations taking part – led the celebrations

You showcased changes your organisation is making. You circulated videos among thousands of staff and consumers to improve your organisation’s disability journey. You posted hundreds of Purple Tuesday photos showing how you were taking part – from Guernsey to Glasgow and Berlin to Bermuda. You lit up your organisation: shop fronts, shopping centres and iconic landmarks that turned the UK skyline purple – including Piccadilly Lights, Blackpool Tower, the Spinnaker Tower and more.

There were more than 8,000 posts last Tuesday using the #PurpleTuesday hashtag or mentioning @PurpleTuesNov. As well as trending on social media we also secured live national broadcast media on BBC News, ITV1’s national lunchtime news, STV and BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire Show.  Between the team we also undertook 15+ interviews on regional broadcast shows, both radio and TV.

Getting the message right and consistent was key. Purple Tuesday is a business opportunity for organisations; it isn’t about one day of highlighting the needs of disabled consumers. It’s about the commitments and changes that organisations can implement that will improve the customer experience for disabled people 365 days a year.

The examples of commitments made (training, mystery shopping, lanyard schemes – and so many more) highlight the long-term nature of the pledges made for Purple Tuesday. They show that small changes to the customer experience can make genuine and significant improvements for disabled people and their families.

Getting the message right was also about presentation.  A few weeks ago, my presentation style was deconstructed (torn apart!) by Malcolm Smith at a Vistage day for CEOs.  Don’t be so aggressive with your tone, please blink and where are the starting and finishing bangs?  I thought of Malcolm in that split second as the floor crew said “we are live” as the Victoria Derbyshire show started.  At that moment the muscles in my shoulders relaxed and I started to engage in a conversation rather than giving a lecture. Lesson learnt.

And so, one week on what are my other lessons?

  • Despite the Election, the dreadful flooding and the England players’ bust-up, Purple Tuesday cut through. The message was simple, the concept made common sense and the issue had resonance (I suspect the statistic that 50% of people know a disabled person is an under-representation).
  • Initiatives work best – and are most powerful – when the voices behind them are from the people taking part. The people who can make a difference
  • People increasingly access their information via social media and prefer to receive content in a variety of ways. Photos, videos, poems alongside brevity work well!
  • 365 days needs to be hammered home. Purple Tuesday cannot deliver disability one day a year. Organisations cannot tick a box one day a year.
  • Small changes make a huge difference to customers and engage staff. CareTech Foundation will never produce another (powerful) video without subtitles – their staff won’t let them. And these small changes can be made by big corporates or tiny start ups, and across all sectors.
  • If you make promises, keep them. The Purple Tuesday team promised resources, support and a platform for publicly telling the world the commitments made by participating organisations. The organisations that took part now need to make good on the 3,500+ commitments to change that were made as part of Purple Tuesday.  Even by my reckoning that is an average of 10 commitments per day for the next 365 days. If delivered, real change will follow.

Participating organisations don’t have to do it on their own. Purple can help you deliver the changes you’re planning. Purple Membership provides a range of support options and practical benefits for the next year.  As a way of saying thank you, Purple Tuesday has produced practical Customer Service advice and a new disability inclusion slide deck to support your journey and help you tell the Purple Tuesday story.

To find out how Purple can support your organisation as you deliver vital changes to the customer experience for disabled people, visit our Purple Membership page.

We’ll be checking in with organisations to see how you’re making good on your commitments – so it’s important not to stand still. Make those changes sooner rather than later to reveal the tangible impact your changes will have on your customers – and your business!

For organisations not involved in Purple Tuesday it is not too late to join. You can register here – it takes less than five minutes – and once registered, we will add your name and logo to the Purple Tuesday website.  One of your commitments should be to become a Purple Member to kick-start your disability journey.

And what happened to that IoD video? It was posted and shared widely. And was powerful.

View the Purple Tuesday photo gallery.

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