Campaign M: Olivia Swift

"The stats are shocking, yes - but many are still ignorant: we wouldn’t need Campaign M if the general public were aware of the issues."

Meet the Business School graduate challenging the status quo on women's health in the workplace, through her guerrilla marketing strategy, Campaign M.


Business School alumna and local business owner Olivia Swift has been causing a stir on social media recently with Campaign M, a guerrilla marketing campaign designed to raise awareness about the challenges women face during pregnancy, birth, and postnatal periods, as well as when returning to work.

Olivia originally trained to be a midwife at the University of Nottingham, before starting her own postnatal services business Lotus Maternity in 2017, inspired by her experiences in the NHS. She returned to the university to complete an MSc in Marketing in 2021.

Campaign M – which took the form of a series of provocative posts shared over a number of weeks on Linkedin – was influenced by the lived experience of the women supported throughout Olivia’s career and informed by her studies at Nottingham University Business School.

“I was always really interested in guerrilla marketing during my MSc”, Olivia explained. “I found the concept exciting - the risk versus the reward, the whole notion of daring to do differently and go against the grain. I wanted to use this to highlight the physical and psychological problems that mothers face which are often stigmatised and as a result, rarely discussed - particularly in the workplace.”

Olivia (fourth from left) with clients supported by Lotus Maternity

After months of research, preparation and focus groups, Olivia launched the 12-part campaign on LinkedIn earlier this year. Pairing provocative imagery with damning statistics, the posts were designed to ‘stop the scroll’ and challenge users to engage with the issues, and reconsider their ideas around motherhood and women's careers. Through this, she hoped to raise the profile of Lotus Maternity’s values and mission of providing better postnatal care and support for people with young families.

“Ultimately everybody’s lived experience is different but what I tried to stress through the campaign is that although it’s virtually impossible for women to have suffered every issue we addressed, they would have experienced one at the very least."

The first post highlighted a statistic that only 19% of working mothers had access to workplace facilities to express milk, or to support breastfeeding; another spoke about the psychological struggles of returning to work after traumatic birth and postnatal depression. The campaign went on to shine a light on the gender pay gap in the UK (15.5%), a number that widens post-pregnancy, emphasising the obstacles faced by working mothers in career progression.

“Lotus Maternity’s work in the past year has been around getting organisations to engage more with supporting maternity returners as part of their overall wellbeing strategies - this became our call to action for employers to ‘stop saying and start doing’. Flexibility isn't enough - workplaces need to be empathetic, understanding and supportive of postnatal wellbeing.”

Olivia wanted the campaign to spark conversations between people in the workplace, which she believes the campaign has achieved – but there is still work to be done.

“The stats are shocking, yes - but many are still ignorant”, she said. “We wouldn’t need Campaign M if the general public were aware of the issues, we wouldn’t need to be using guerrilla tactics to get the message heard and visible.”

So what can businesses do to address these issues? Olivia says bosses need become more open to having conversations with those returning from parental leave about what support they require at an individual level.

"Companies must begin to see value in the ‘female employee’ in terms of her skillset, and not be seen as liability who will cause disruption if she takes a career break to have children. Instead, the outlook should focus upon what life experience motherhood enables her to bring, in addition to her skillset - because there is no harder job in my personal opinion.”

Find out more about Lotus Maternity

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