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St John Ambulance

Personlised & Local Communications

Returning a national treasure
to its grass roots.

We Are Acuity came up with the strategy and delivered a creative DM/eDM campaign that positioned St John Ambulance as a trusted, expert national brand that had the resources to deliver the highest quality local training. The campaign targeted competitor-heavy ‘hotspots’ in which take-up had fallen, or had not reached its potential.

"Acuity’s approach was to focus on end-to-end targeting, enquiry generation and the conversion process, while balancing national brand messages and corporate identity to create relevant local content. It was a resounding success."

Richard Evens

Commercial Marketing Director, St John Ambulance


St John Ambulance is the nation’s leading first aid charity, with a commercial arm delivering training through a network of 230 local training centres. With a recent communications shift to focus on a more coherent, nationally driven approach, local marketing had temporarily taken a back seat. This had opened the door to local competitors, who, thanks to a change in the First Aid Regulations, could now offer value-driven training and were marketing themselves aggressively at SJA’s traditional customers. We Are Acuity was challenged to win these customers back in specific, poorly performing areas known as ‘hotspots’.

St John Ambulance


We Are Acuity believed that the quality of SJA’s people and facilities was a key strength, and one that had been amplified by the brand’s move from ‘happy local amateurs’ to a confident, national brand over the last few years. We believed that there was room to connect this national backing to locally- and people-focused training. By positioning SJA as ‘Your local, national organisation’, we set about using its national strength to power local growth.

St John Ambulance 2


Our research revealed that people travel for up to 30 minutes to reach a training venue, so for each hotspot we targeted an audience within 15 miles with a DM and supporting eDM campaign which was locally themed. Our creative was engaging and impactful of course, but it was also created as a flexible template which could work within low print costs and across multiple devices.

Over 20 different versions of the mailer were created, with each tailored to reflect the opportunity of each area. As a result, each mailer was unique to its own hotspot and therefore as relevant to the local customers as possible.



Feedback from the client was extremely positive, and this was reflected in the results.

Email open rates, traditionally a challenge, peaked at 10.55% (Leicester), whilst click rates hit a high point of 1.78% in Exeter. As a whole, open to click rates varied from 6.1% (Hemel Hempstead) to 17.14%, again in Exeter.

Overall the campaigns met their reach, engagement metric targets. Contributing to a 8% YOY increase in margin and increased levels of repeat purchase within the defined geographic areas targeted.

And the best bit was feedback from St John Ambulance that "Exposure to We Are Acuity's creative approach inspired and developed the vision and capability of the in house marketing team."

Together this led to We Are Acuity being hired for subsequent campaigns in other divisions.