EPESO: Harnessing Technology to Protect the Public from COVID
Winner: Philippine Quill Award for Communication Management (Government Communication) and 2020 Gold Stevie Award for PR Campaign of the Year – COVID-19 Related Information
In March 2020, the Government of the Philippines (GOP) imposed strict nationwide lockdowns to mitigate and ultimately prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. With limited physical access to banks, many Filipinos considered using electronic financial platforms for the first time.
However, research showed that 46% of account holders with internet access were ambivalent about e-payments due to issues such as hacking, data breaches, and unsafe access.
As the COVID-19 crisis escalated, E-PESO and Evident strategized to implement a campaign to encourage a reluctant population to adopt digital payment modalities, as these are the safest, no-contact option applicable in a pandemic scenario.
The #SafeAtHome with E-Payments campaign idea amplified the existing call of the government to stay at home to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
We infused the campaign with data and insights to ensure the desired behavior change: to increase the public’s trust and use of e-payments. The agency recommended the most effective way to reach the target audience through different PR and social media tactics—the campaign used traditional national and regional broadsheets, online news channels, TV and radio broadcast, and social media platforms for a wide reach.
Evident also initiated talking points for BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno’s pre-recorded video messages in Taglish to encourage use of e-payments. This helped encourage the campaign’s primary internal stakeholders, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) and the banking industry associations, to voluntarily carry and amplify the campaign messages.
During its run, the campaign achieved online feats that translated to onground wins too.
Five press releases garnered 100 pick-ups from print, TV, radio, and online channels, creating PhP 11.9 million in media mileage.
Explainer videos on e-payments and how to use them garnered a total of 21,100 views on the BSP page and 153,300 views on the BSP’s PisoLit Facebook page. Around ten industry associations, BSFIs, and financial inclusion groups adopted the communications campaign by cross-posting it on Facebook.
On Facebook, Pisolit page reached an average of 14.3K accounts, a 328% increase from the start of the campaign. In addition, posts on PisoLit that communicated messages on e-payments consistently posted high engagement and reach from April 21 to Aug 31, 2020.
More importantly, Instapay transactions in March and April reached PhP 96.4 billion, higher by 27.4 percent or PhP 20.8 billion versus the previous two months of this year pre-extreme community quarantine (ECQ). Meanwhile, PESONet transaction value during the same period was higher by PhP 57.4 billion or 21.5 percent compared to the combined figures from January and February.
With the help of this engagement, people were empowered to use digital payments and business transactions continued safely, sustaining the economy during a difficult time.