PR > Culture & Context


FCB INFERNO, London / VIRGIN / 2022


Silver Cannes Lions
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Case Film
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Why is this work relevant for PR?

This idea was entirely dependent on the PR it received, as there was no traditional media spend involved. Instead, we relied on a groundswell of popular support from both the dyslexic and non-dyslexic community to spread the word that LinkedIn users could now add “Dyslexic Thinking” to their profiles. With the help of Sir Richard Branson’s massive public and social following, we were able to see an incredible ROI based almost entirely around word of mouth and positive news coverage.


Despite 1 in 5 people worldwide being affected by dyslexia, 97% of the population still view it negatively. This is because the current definition is outdated, classifying dyslexia as a “learning disability,” an “impairment,” or a “medical disorder.” But in fact, recent research has shown that those with dyslexia outperform other people at a wide variety of skills such as creativity, empathy, leadership, and outside the box thinking - skills that are especially valuable in the workplace. This is also proven by the number of incredibly successful businesspeople, creators, inventors, and actors who all have dyslexia – people like Sir Richard Branson, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and hundreds of others. The conversation around dyslexia needs to change, and employers need to recognize all the things people with dyslexia CAN do as opposed to focusing on what they can’t do.

Describe the creative idea

The term “Dyslexic Thinking” fundamentally changed the way the world views dyslexia. The word “dyslexia” itself has an outdated stigma and negative perception - particularly in the workplace. But many highly successful people are dyslexic, including Sir Richard Branson. So Virgin partnered with Made by Dyslexia, LinkedIn, and to shift focus to the term “Dyslexic Thinking” - a phrase that highlights all the positive skills people with dyslexia possess. To raise awareness, LinkedIn changed its platform to feature Dyslexic Thinking as an official skill available for the 810 million users to add to their profiles. then vetted it through their rigorous accreditation process and added it to their dictionary. By recognizing dyslexic thinking in such high-profile ways, we were finally able to begin shifting people’s perceptions.

Describe the PR strategy

Campaigns about dyslexia had overwhelmingly focused on encouraging the 1 in 5 people with dyslexia to change the way that they felt about themselves and to empower them to embrace their difference. Our research showed that although this had some impact, the real barriers were systemic and that we needed to push for structural and cultural change. This breakthrough allowed us to shift our focus to changing the minds of cultural institutions, the business sector and business leaders. We recognized that if they could redefine dyslexia and encourage people to accept dyslexia as a skill, this would have a domino effect of making businesses actively promote it as a benefit in the workplace, which in turn would embolden people with dyslexia to come forward.

Describe the PR execution

Sir Richard Branson launched the campaign on LinkedIn, calling for others to join him in adding the skill to their profile, creating a groundswell of support from celebrities and non-celebrities alike. followed suit, letting the world know they could now find “Dyslexic Thinking” in one of the world’s most-used dictionaries. A film was also released online that introduced the term “Dyslexic Thinking” by showing how history has been shaped by those who were/are dyslexic. Finally, we used hyper-targeted messaging on LinkedIn tailored to HR professionals encouraging them to actively seek candidates who listed “dyslexic thinking” in their profiles.

List the results

The campaign was immediately taken up by international media outlets, gaining coverage from over 250 major global publications including the BBC, the Independent, Business Insider and Bloomberg with an opportunity to see of 150 million and an earned media value of £1.5M+. Tracking public sentiment across social media, we saw positive mentions about dyslexia increase by 1562%, while negative mentions decreased by 4450% from pre-campaign levels. A clear indication that the campaign was resonating and starting to change the perception of dyslexia. Within 30 days, 13,000 HR and recruitment leaders had also viewed the film explaining how Dyslexic Thinkers could help take their company to the next level. Finally, and most importantly, over 10,000 people had added “Dyslexic Thinking” as a skill on LinkedIn, a number which continues to grow to this day, and which global companies including Facebook, EY, HSBC, and Microsoft are already seeking out in their recruitment.

Please tell us about the social behaviour that inspired the work

Research has shown that most people with dyslexia hide it in the workplace. This is due to a lack of confidence, a fear of missing out on opportunities, and the negative stigma attached to the word. But by making “dyslexic thinking” a skill on LinkedIn, we’re giving a marginalized group an easy and very public way to take pride in their neurodiversity. With over 813 million active members, LinkedIn is the largest work-related social network in the world. It’s a place where people shout about their achievements and list the attributes that make them a desirable employee. So the value of being able to publicly announce that you are a dyslexic thinker to so many people and potential employers on such a prominent platform cannot be overstated.

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