Tech for Good

In the world of PR, we often need to dig deep to find a story that resonates with the audience and yet has relevance to the product and services that the client sells. So, when our process simulation software client, Simul8, told us about all the work, often pro-bono, it had done to help healthcare and other organisations handle the global pandemic, we didn’t have to ‘create’ a story. This was ready made and just needed our communications skills to get the message out.

As a result, Simul8 has raised its media profile, won national and international awards and is now seen as a ‘tech for good’ leader in its market.

A digital helping hand in a crisis

The Simul8 team started by thinking, what’s the best way we can use our specialist skills and intellectual property to help organisations to cope during the COVID pandemic? Remember: there were no vaccines at the start and no obvious way out of a global crisis, both for healthcare and the economy.

Specific questions were asked, like:

  • How can simulation software make a meaningful contribution in helping hospitals make the most of critical care resources?
  • How could we help support the vaccine manufacturing and distribution supply chain?
  • How can our software help in the setting up of overflow hospitals?
  • And how can we help speed up vaccination programmes around the world?

At the start of the pandemic, a critical care simulation was built and offered free of charge to healthcare providers while, later on, the Simul8 team also used their skills to manage the cold chain in the supply of vaccines. Other simulations were used to optimise the vaccine roll-out both in the UK and US.

Doing what comes naturally

We had only been working for Simul8 for a short while and quickly realised that a tech for good approach had been part of the company’s DNA long before they decided to raise their profile and talk about it.

So how could we tap into this to promote the brand globally and give them the recognition they deserved? We obeyed our first instincts and started to write and place case studies in the media such as one in Journal of mHealth around Simul8’s work in Scotland in collaboration with a leading university and health board to improve decision making in critical care departments, and another in Future Scot about how Simul8 helped a Chicago hospital expand its vaccination efforts to provide greater access for ethnic minority groups in high-risk areas of the city.

“I have learned an incredible amount from working with Context. They have challenged us to see what we do differently, and think of new ways to tell the story of what we do and the impact we have. They have helped us hone and shape a voice unique to us. What we do is technical and fairly niche, and they have really understood what we do. I’ve worked with many agencies in the past none of which ever achieved that. Its their drive and success in understanding us that has meant their support of us has been so successful. They are also a pleasure to work with and feel like an extension of our team.”

Frances Sneddon, Chief Technology Officer

Reluctant heroes

We also encouraged the client to submit entries to a number of global and national awards. With their culture of ‘getting on with the job’ rather than shouting about it, we needed to coax them a little to convince them of the value. Once agreed, we cracked on with writing the submissions and getting all the third-party approvals. We were not surprised but nonetheless delighted with the success that followed. Simul8’s ‘people over profit’ approach saw the team win numerous awards including the Better Society Awards, Best in Biz Awards and Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Simulation education

In tandem with case studies and awards, we conducted a thought leadership campaign of blogging and by-line articles in the media while also promoting these through an accelerated social media campaign, which Context also managed. Throughout the thought leadership campaign, we were always conscious of the need to promote both the client and indeed the technology of digital process simulation, which is widely misunderstood and yet has huge relevance in a world of change where poor decision making can cost lives as well as lost productivity. Although our focus is on tech, this was an entirely new area and the Context team had to invest time in researching the subject and interviewing the key experts and stakeholders within Simul8 and its end users.

We were pleased to achieve a cover story with Impact Magazine, a key industry title for Simul8, as well as receive support from local media such as Scottish Business News and ScotlandIS. Our content also helped support Simul8’s own channels.