Stand up and be counted: Including ethnic minorities in the 2011 Census

Linstock Communications


Once every ten years, Britain’s most comprehensive socio economic survey targets every household in the country.  Its results shape public policy for national government and local councils for a generation to come.  If census returns are down in certain areas, those parts of the country lose out on critical state funding.  In 2011, cultural and language barriers were a challenge to census participation among black and minority ethnic groups.  Linstock was commissioned to design and deliver a campaign that reached out to millions of people in these hard to reach communities across England and Wales – the Government’s biggest and most prestigious campaign to engage with ethnic minorities.  


Based on focus group research and community insight, Linstock designed a strategy to communicate and engage with target audiences who hailed from South Asia, Africa, China and the Caribbean. This included the development of a campaign creative treatment that centred around the power of family values.  We used in-language ethnic media, culturally sensitive outreach programmes and a music-led new media campaign on You Tube, to reach the people least likely to fill in their census questionnaires.


•    Design, photography, drafting, translation and dissemination of 200,000 leaflets and posters in 11 languages, each culturally sensitive to its target audience
•    Sixteen in-language community panel sessions with diverse communities across England and Wales in community and religious centres
•    Conceived and contracted a partnership with Grime artist Ghetts, who recorded a track and video in support of the census and played urban music events across England
•    Engaged with Gypsy and Traveller groups across England through charities, pressure groups, outreach events and ethnic media
•    Staged outreach events to target parents at inner city schools
•    Provided in language outreach to ethnic minorities on a national promotional bus tour
•    Staged a ‘family history’ competition to generate awareness through ethnic media
•    Managed ethnic media and media relations on ethnic minority issues in mainstream press


•    Outreach at 60 schools, reaching 10,000 of the hardest to reach families
•    Ghetts’ video viewed by 83,000 people
•    Media coverage reaching 12 million people
•    The first results from Census 2011 are now emerging and they show a 95% completion rate across the country

What does it demonstrate?

•    Unrivalled insight into ethnic minority communities in Britain
•    Strategic planning to underpin a wide range of communication mechanisms
•    A combination of new media and more traditional techniques
•    Ability to work in a politically sensitive environment

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