No Mystic Meg
An ability to predict the future. I am certainly no Mystic Meg! I might as well gaze at an old football in the garden than a crystal one.
Back in May – which seems a lifetime ago – I wrote three posts (Purple Tardis, Purple Tardis – Part 2 and Make Do and Mend) which looked forward to 3 November and how Purple Tuesday might unfold. In terms of predictions, I would say it was a mixed bag.
I made the assumption Purple Tuesday would happen. There have been many days and nights this has been really tested over the past few weeks. Purple Tuesday works well as an online celebration. It was more about whether any organisation would be interested and/or have the energy given so many other distractions and restrictions.
Only one participating organisation from last year has said no. Hundreds of new organisations have registered. And from more sectors than ever. And of all sizes. Four clear reasons. Organisations see Purple Tuesday as a way of connecting or reconnecting with their disabled customers. Some relationships have got frayed as disabled customers went back to being ‘vulnerable’ customers. Purple’s recent poll with disabled people has revealed this being a major factor in switching brands. And brand is important. Demonstrating social impact is becoming a necessity for organisations and Purple Tuesday delivers.
As I rightly predicted (and you didn’t need to be Mystic Meg) the issue of mental health has become mainstream for most organisations. A huge level of Purple Tuesday commitments are focused on this issue from awareness raising to training of staff. The final issue also relates to Covid-19 insofar as the limitations of online accessibility (including online bookings) have well and truly been exposed. Purple Tuesday has been saying this for three years (since it was created). The ClickAway report has evidenced the £17.1 billion loss to the UK economy through disabled people leaving a website before making a purchase. And the added disproportionate isolation for disabled customers over the last seven months as basic online information has not been accessible. Again, many organisations are now committing to putting this right. Both commercials and public opinion are demanding it. The Purple Tuesday Piccadilly Lights showpiece will be shown from 8am on 3 November for half an hour. It has taken Covid-19 for us to realise the potential impact of live streaming the event which should boost our chances of beating #3 worldwide on Twitter this year. But I won’t be then whizzing down the road and into the television studios. That was very clearly a naïve prediction. I do think Purple Tuesday will get national broadcast coverage. I have already written the headline in my head: Purple Tuesday Trumps US Election. You now see why I am not involved in the marketing of Purple Tuesday!
And what I didn’t predict at all. The absolute buy-in of disabled people to Purple Tuesday this year. Disabled customers, and their insights, are the piece in the jigsaw that will take Purple Tuesday from being a good initiative into a truly transformational one, for both disabled people and organisations – and the positive economic and social knock-on effects.
Over 200 disabled people have shared their lived experience of being a customer which are and have informed our resources, guidance, approach and messaging. Our eight brilliant Ambassadors have enabled Purple Tuesday to engage with tens of thousands of disabled people and to reach into different sectors. And our Purple Tuesday advert, which was premiered last night on ITV3, is reaching out to the wider general public about why this issue is so important.
With five days to go I am still not entirely sure where I will be on the day. I am very much hoping to be in Piccadilly Circus for the light up, hoping to be on your TV or radio talking about the issues, and then finding a quiet oasis to read and watch the thousands of pictures, stories and videos from you as the day unfolds.
We will make it a success. You will make it a success. Roll on Purple Tuesday.
29 October 2020