The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England.

Teaching as a profession is vital in shaping the lives of the next generation, and is dependent on the successful attraction of new teachers to the profession.

As a result of Populus insight, DfE was able to:

Using Populus’s innovative Clockface Model, named so due to its split of the UK public’s attitudinal beliefs into quadrants, Populus provided analysis of socio-demographic traits to reveal and explain attitudes and behaviours.

We then combined this with polling data, to provides focus and definition to audience segmentation, building a high definition profile of target groups.

Plotting personalities

Knowing the location of potential teachers by post-code alone wasn’t enough.

The Clockface Model showed DfE that likely teacher registrants tended to be younger, and without a secure career. Equipped with insight into the lives of their target audience, DfE could construct improved messaging.

The five-factor model of personality (FFM) is a widely recognised set of five trait dimensions, better known as the ‘Big Five’ types. These types were recently assessed by the University of Oxford for their incidence across the 380 Local Authority Districts in the United Kingdom using a 400,000 sample.

Populus placed these traits on the Clockface, pinpointing the personality types most likely to be associated with teachers.

Armed with this insight, DfE had the elements needed to devise an approach into how best to target teacher registrants, tailoring messaging to appeal to their specific personality type. The end result was truly integrated messaging that merged psychological, geo-political and attitudinal factors.

As a result of Populus research DfE refined the messaging for each of the 20 areas they most wanted to target.

Nuanced messaging ranged from talking about ‘rewarding interactions’, the ‘positive impact on students’ lives’, ‘achievement of being a teacher’ and ‘making a difference in the community’.

This was adapted depending on where the region sits on the Clockface.

Looking ahead

The world has evolved exponentially as a result of the digital revolution. The impact is felt keenly within the public sector. A vast amount of data is generated every day, and targeting that reduces people to ‘users’ is rapidly falling out of favour, and becoming less effective.

The Clockface is just one of many new tools that inject the human element back into targeting, ensuring that messages are relevant and useful.