Direct Selling Association

Background

Since 1965, the Direct Selling Association has been the recognised trade association for the direct selling channel of distribution. Today its member companies account for 59% of total direct sales in the £2 billion UK market. Members include Avon, Amway, Herbalife, Forever Living, Betterware, Kleeneze and The Pampered Chef. Direct selling is the UK’s largest provider of part time, independent earning opportunities, with over 400,000 people involved.

Brief to CubanEight

CubanEight was approached to help develop a PR strategy for the Association which involved member companies to combine efforts and raise the profile of the DSA and its membership at a national level. Objectives included developing the Association’s voice in the media on key issues and positioning its Director General as a thought-leader on relevant topics. The campaign was also designed to support the DSA’s lobbying objectives in both the UK and Europe.

Campaign strategy

The strategy focused on using the DSA’s unique industry position to demonstrate its expertise, insight and knowledge within the sector. By using Paul Southworth, the Association’s Director General, as the key external figurehead, we were able to show that the organisation had an insight which made it a unique commentator on a variety of topics, including areas such as lobbying and the future of the industry in the UK.

Tactics / activity

A ‘Virtual PR Group’ was established to ensure all member companies were informed about the campaign and were given the opportunity to contribute case studies and other materials for use by media. Alongside this, we arranged to introduce Paul Southworth to selected media so that he could explain the renewed focus of the Association and outline some of his observations on the industry and related topics such as youth unemployment.

Finally, industry data was analysed and issued as news to illustrate trends within the sector, reinforcing the DSA’s positioning as having an in-depth knowledge of the industry and working to secure its future success.

Campaign outcomes

The DSA’s profile has been raised significantly, with over 67 pieces of coverage generated as a result of the campaign so far. Much of this was national coverage in publications such as The Mail, The Express, The Guardian, The Times and The Mirror. In addition, broadcast coverage has also been another key success of the campaign so far, a particular highlight being Paul Southworth interviewed on the topic of ‘new breeds’ of direct sellers on BBC Radio 2’s drive time business interview.

The media coverage consistently portrays the DSA and key staff members as experts within the sector.