Charity begins at home.

 

As a result of helping to promote the successful Walking Festival held in Coldstream last year I ended up joining the board of the Coldstream Community Trust. This is a whole new area for me and a steep learning curve to be involved in a community committee. The pace that things happen is certainly different to what I am used to, however the attention to detail, committment, contribution and effort by all involved is no different.
We have many projects on the go and some lend themselves to utilising my area of expertise. I have greatly enjoying creating short term identities for events and a longer term identity for the Community Centre.  Of course, getting things approved by a committee is a challenge, even when you are doing the work for free!  However, that is what volunteering is about, and learning from others is always interesting, being exposed to different experiences and knowledge is stimulating, and ultimately rewarding.

 

Walking Festival Case Study

Background

Early in 2016 the Scottish Borders town of Coldstream announced that it would host the 22nd Scottish Borders Walking Festival during the first week of September.

The Festival was organised by a team of experienced walkers and local community members, but there was no one on board with a marketing background.

I felt that the Festival offered Coldstream a good opportunity to market itself to an audience that would appreciate what Coldstream has to offer, with the potential of return visits. I offered my services to develop a promotional plan for the event.

Actions and Results

The first step was to draw up a marketing plan outlining the importance of communicating the event both internally and externally. I felt it was key to get the local community as engaged as possible with the event, especially the retailers and hospitality venues, spelling out the advantages of a well attended and supported event.

The plan was based on what could be achieved with absolute minimum expenditure, within the resources available.

  • Local retailers were leafleted with information and requests to ‘dress their windows’ with a walking theme. They were then reminded of this nearer the event and many of the retailers responded by creating window displays.
  • A promotional flyer was created to support the main brochure, the flyer was aimed at a more local audience. As was a local advert.
  • A social media campaign was undertaken with the existing Twitter and Facebook accounts taken over and developed extensively, the followers and engagement in both cases massively increased. A small ad campaign ran on Facebook that pushed the followers to over 500.
  • For the walkers I organised a gift bag to be handed over as they registered, supplied by a local business, Bordefields Rapeseed Oil,  along with their product samples as a form of sponsorship. The gift bag also included a specially created information flyer listing the shops and local restaurants, as well as a specially designed Coldstream postcard, a festival T-shirt and key ring.
  • During the Festival I uploaded images daily to Facebook and asked for walkers to post their pictures, there was great engagement and lots of positive comments.

walking-festival-1-_web

Outcomes

The target for walk bookings was 500 and the Festival achieved over 600. The local community engaged and supported the events. The organisers were praised for running a very enjoyable event, and the visitors commented on the great atmosphere.

The money raised by hosting the event exceeded the expected amount and goes directly to benefit the Coldstream community.

 

 

Two and Two Makes Five

It never ceases to amaze me, how the human brain is capable of tricking us into thinking that we have assessed people and situations correctly and that the opinions we have formed are an accurate representation of reality.

We are also very good at coming to the conclusion that the best and most effective solutions, are to be found in another place or at a much higher price. Well, on one count I’ve been guilty of all of the above in the last couple of years.

My golf club, the Hirsel at Coldstream, appointed a young PGA professional a couple of years ago and within weeks, I had assessed him as someone who would not be remotely interested in helping an ageing, mid handicap golfer like me and in any event, what could a young ‘slip of a lad’, setting up 500 yards from my house, possibly tell me about my ‘out-to-in’ swing, that some of the best coaches in the country haven’t already told me.

How wrong could I have been? The young pro has a fantastic attitude to people of all ages and abilities and has clearly dedicated himself to the ‘art’ not ‘science’ of communicating the technical information, in a language that we can all understand.

Apart from his obvious teaching ability, he pulls out all the stops to give the best prices he possibly can for equipment, footwear and apparel, which adds to the trust and confidence he has earned at our club.

I’ve moved from driving 50 miles for a golf lesson to walking across the golf club car park. I now spend my golf equipment budget at the pro shop, rather than surfing the internet, in an attempt to save a pound or two.

In all walks of life, individuals and companies seem to form incorrect judgements on ability, competence and value, based on either the wrong criteria or what they have been indoctrinated to believe.

As with all things, shouldn’t we try to get the balance right, by seeking out the knowledge and experience we need, as close to home as possible? We could be pleasantly surprised.