The Scottish referendum was an emotional time for many passionate and political Scots, no matter which side of the debate they were on. By the time Digital Willow was called in to help, the situation had reached a crisis point for the Better Together campaigners. It was clear to us that a less political, more personalised message was needed to reflect the opinions of Scots living close to the borders and those sharing family, friends and fond memories with their peers in the UK.

Our mission:

1/Increase funding to help promote awareness

2/Influence Scottish swing voters.

Digital Willow approach

Using a patchwork of real stories from interviews Scottish Referendum, we pieced together an elaborate campaign explaining how leaving the UK would affect lives and families. The stories were real perspectives and reflections from the Scottish people. We edited and collated these for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Backed with a paid media spend, these tales, coloured with poetry, videos, images portrayed powerful realities of how people felt about the potential divorce from the UK.

Campaign management was pretty hectic, always with so much to do and little time to do it. One aspect that really drove our success was the huge amount of community engagement that occurred on social media and needed to be managed. The conversations our campaign ignited were tremendous and needed practically a full-time staff member to manage.

As an example of the rigour Scottish Referendum we put behind the community management, below we showcase some of the steps we put in place to manage vocal and emotive voters.

  1. Always respond quickly – a day later was too long and angry comments grew quickly
  2. Takedown and block anyone using poor or abusive language immediately
  3. Have dedicated staff ready at set times – particularly around posting times when volumes were high
  4. Pre-plan a Frequently Asked Questions sheet
  5. We empathised or acknowledged disgruntled comments
  6. Where possible we turned the situation into a positive and encouraged further reading links
  7. If we were at fault we tried to find a solution quickly and publicised that solution
  8. We documented & practised fire drill procedure – this involved a senior spokesperson coming onto social media when live news spiralled out of control.

Despite how tenacious we were in drafting the content for the campaign, the opinions ran hot and high. We achieved our mission of getting swing voters involved and sparking enough passion amongst the Scottish people to drive them to action. 


Results speak for themselves - Scotland remained in the UK for the time being in a very close and exciting finale. We also gained invaluable experience in delivering political messages in a personalised way. Not to mention how to handle negative comments on social media! Who knows what would have happened to the outcome of the Brexit referendum if the Digital Willow approach was used?