Tired of coronavirus? Let’s beat coronavirus together with Coronalert
How we can use an app to strengthen our resilience
And there it was, (finally) all ready, the long-awaited Coronalert contact tracing app. Our challenge was to get millions of Belgians to actually use it too.
No simple feat, as we had seen in other countries who had already tried to get their contact tracing apps accepted. But we grabbed the bull by the horns. We seized the moment when most of us were extremely fed up with the virus – and its resulting efforts and restrictions – to boost everyone's sense of civic duty.
Our approach: simple and obvious
Let's beat coronavirus together with Coronalert.
A clear slogan for a clear strategy. No technical fuss, no technology campaign, just human communication. That is how we want the app to become one of the well-known hygiene practices already in place. No more, no less. Wash your hands, wear a face mask, keep at least 1.5 metres apart and ... install and use the app.
Yes, we are ready to tackle this together. Because who isn't looking forward to supporting their favourite team again in person or sharing a smile on a bus or train?
The campaign: have you activated your ‘I’m fed up’ app already?
There have been many coronavirus public health campaigns. The core motivation was always: take care of yourself and each other. That is still the case, but this campaign strikes a new chord. First and foremost, the campaign posters and social media ads show an understanding of the frustration we are all feeling. However, the campaign uses that emotion to show that using the app is an act of resistance. Of resilience.
The different themes and situations in the creations show what we want back, what we miss and what we are in danger of losing again too. And then we immediately present how everyone can take control of the situation: by downloading and activating the Coronalert app.
From sports activities and street parties to international travel and going to the theatre: we have come up with telling examples for just about every context and every target group. The campaign is also endlessly customisable. Even if the situation changes – as it has done so many times already – the campaign can evolve with it.
The results: more than 2 million downloads in no time
• More than 2 million downloads means the app has been installed by 1 in 3 smartphone users in Belgium.
• Our materials have been used by a wide range of intermediary partners, such as the local councils in cities and towns.
• Some wonderful commercial partners such as the Belgian Pro League have also helped us to spread our campaign message.
Let’s stop the spread with Coronalert
When in the first phase the Coronalert app was downloaded by millions, some teething problems surfaced. For example, the feature to anonymously alert your contacts of infection proved rather cumbersome and was therefore often skipped.
The app quickly became a lot easier to use and therefore remained relevant, even when most of the population was vaccinated. What is more, when restrictions eased in the spring and summer of 2021, the Coronalert app played a crucial role in the overall contact tracing strategy.
The approach: the most normal thing in the world
Some criticism questioning the app’s added value has surfaced in the press. In other countries this often resulted in a defensive response, but we decided to present the use of the app as simply the obvious thing to do. No emotional discussions about useless features or wasted money, but a strategy of default: in a country like Belgium, using the app is the most normal thing in the world.
Informing people about its importance and relevance in a new social context and its correct use were essential in this process.
The campaign: content for all cultures
The common thread of this new campaign wave? Content, content and content. We addressed all the recommendations, concerns and questions about the app, taking into account all the existing cultural differences, attitudes and approaches with regard to this topic. And during that process, we invariably presented gained freedoms as the motivation for using the app.
The message was that the app helps people to keep the hospitality industry / shops / theatres /... open. To spread this message, we gave our intermediary partners a media pack of posters and social media tools to use. During the summer months, a media campaign gave the online content a boost. We also launched an influencer campaign in collaboration with Efluenz to raise awareness among young people.
In December 2021, the app had already been downloaded 3,533,000 times. That corresponds to 39% of all smartphone users in Belgium. Also, 1,448,000 test results were received on the app. Our social media campaign achieved 3,916,740 impressions in Brussels, 9,206,865 in Wallonia and 18,323,874 in Flanders.