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Introducing Cera: The Future of Social Care

Cera – a start-up technology platform that matches those needing care with a highly experienced carer within 4 hours had been operating in beta mode for almost a year. At the time of launch, its ambition was to position itself as the answer to some of the biggest threats facing the NHS – bed-blocking and delayed discharges. However, in-depth research with stakeholders, NHS staff, Whitehall insiders, and media had shown that social care was perceived as an intractable problem, where 98% of the coverage was negative.

So, far from simply announcing the launch of the Cera service, we wanted to turn the doom-laden narrative surrounding social care coverage on its head by telling a more inspiring and engaging story using the language of technology to borrow the halo effect created by Silicon Valley-backed companies.

With social care high on the political agenda, we kicked off Cera’s launch campaign a week before the Autumn Statement focusing on traditional media coverage. It was time to challenge national newspaper writers to buck the repetitive negative coverage trend and tell a sincere, positive story that positioned Cera’s proprietary tech as a revolutionary solution to bed blocking.

Research revealed that the sister of the Sunday Telegraph’s health correspondent, Laura Donnelly, was CEO of the Health Innovation Network. This important intelligence secured her early-buy, as well as a substantial print exclusive in the paper. This early win set the tone for our national consumer coverage, where Laura Donnelly’s piece was followed The Times, Guardian, Mail, Sun, Mirror, Express and FT, which featured Cera in business, technology and health sectors.

Next, we brought Cera’s vision to life through a ground-breaking partnership with both direct consumer appeal and media value – designed to underline positive messaging about progressive social care and tech innovation. Knowing that media are drawn to Uber as both a bellwether of the tech industry and an example of revolution in service industries, and Uber is always drawn to interesting partnerships, we worked with Cera to collaborate with Uber to offer a special service to Cera customers. The service would ferry both NHS patients and carers between hospital and home to reduce time wasted waiting for hospital transit. This news positioned Cera as the enabler of this new solution that would reduce pressure on hospital wards, speed patient discharge, and save taxpayers money.

Since Cera was officially launched to the media, the company has experienced 40% month-on-month revenue growth, while website traffic has increased by 1,000%. With over 100+ articles in outlets from Wired, to the FT, to The Sun, the company has been hailed as the solution to the social care crisis, with endorsements from the Government’s Care Minister, David Mowat, and Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis. Cera also went on to win Healthcare Start-up of the year 2016 at the Healthcare Start-up Awards, as voted by figures across the healthcare industry.

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Jeffrey Ingold is an account manager at W Communications. W Communications was founded in 2009 and was PRWeek's Agency of the Year (2015).