Personality tests have been around for a while. Some of them show you if you are a cat or dog person, which of the Marvel characters you should be, and some are more serious, like the ones used in job interviews.

It’s a well-known and popular tool, and therefore perhaps not seen as the most creative solution – so when we pitched a personality test as the core idea to get the entire population of Norway to learn more about the sustainable development goals, we did not expect it to end up as an award-winning idea.

The challenge

In 2020 H+K Norway was challenged by Norad, the Norwegian Agency of Development Cooperation, to increase the knowledge about the sustainable development goals (SDG) in Norway.

The Norwegian development aid policy is governed by these goals and it is Norad’s job to ensure that the Norwegian aid funds are spent in the best possible way, and to communicate the results to the public.

Low knowledge of the goals has a big impact on the credibility of Norwegian development aid and Norad’s work, and it decreases our chance of reaching the goals.

At the start of 2020 as many as 65% of the Norwegian population was aware that the SDGs exist, but many lacked any knowledge of specific goals or how the goals may be relevant to them. Only half of all Norwegians could name any of the SDGs.

Norad needed a digital campaign that would increase not only the awareness but primarily build knowledge about the goals.

Making the global goals personal

The SDGs are global goals. That’s great when it comes to the purpose of the Goals but when it comes to communication, global isn’t always an advantage. Especially if you’re aiming to increase knowledge on every single one of the 17 goals to the entire population of a country.

To be motivated for learning, a topic needs to be personally relevant. We realized we had to make the Global Goals a bit less global and a lot more personal, because whether we know it or not most of us believe in fighting for at least one of the Goals.

The solution became a digital personality test. A test that challenged people’s attitudes towards sustainability so they could learn that there is a Global goal working for the things that matters to them.

Getting people to take the test

Ok. We have the tool, the personality test, but how could we make Norwegians spend time on it? Learning about the SDGs is not mandatory, and it doesn’t necessarily give you any instant gratification.

This is where data comes in. Norwegians love to compete and compare themselves, with other Norwegians and especially their neighbors, so we designed our test so we could use all the data to feed this motivation through marketing that used social proofing and demographic comparisons.

We knew we needed a few thousand participants to have enough data to convert our broad target audience effectively. That’s when it hit us. Many companies have already embraced and chosen some of the SDGs in their core business strategy – and they are keen to tell people about it.

So, when we provided them with the opportunity to showcase their SDG effort through a national SDG campaign – we successfully activated Norway’s largest collaborative SDG communication effort between NGOs, private and public sector. More than 50 partners such as WWF, The Salvation Army, DNV-GL, and Telenor shared the campaign. They used the test to educate their employees and stakeholders as part of their sustainability initiatives.

Ten days after the campaign launched, 11.000 had taken the test, providing data on age, gender, location, and attitude on 60 different sustainability issues.

Using data to trigger relevance
With the fresh data from participants the real creative work started – making use of the data to drive traffic to the test. All data was fed into Google Data Studio so we could search for trends, insights, and marketing tactics daily. We learned what women in the age of 20-24, living in Oslo thought about recycling, or which Global Goal was most popular among teenagers in Bergen.

Demographic data from our test was fuelled into various ad platforms and during our two-month campaign period we created 933 tailored ads across several digital ad platforms. By utilizing new banner ad technology, it was possible to update live banners, targeted to 130 different audience segments, with new visuals and messaging in an instant. 

Our marketing use of social proofing and demographic comparison to specific audiences made the test feel personally relevant even before they took it.

A campaign for everyone
Our digital platform engaged people from big cities to small communities, from 13-year-olds to those over 60 (with 15.3-18.6% participation from all age groups), and with a male/female participation ratio of 40:60.

When our campaign ended, over 110.000 Norwegians had completed the test and over 2% of the entire Norwegian population had spent more than 11 minutes learning about the SDGs.

Teachers across the country are now using the test to educate future generations, and with the extensive data collected, Norad can use the insights for even more compelling educational campaigns.

So sometimes – a basic idea such as a personality test can become the most effective solution to a creative challenge.