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.
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.
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.
As retailers post their Christmas sales results once again, there has been a further trend towards online shopping. What seems strange about this is that some retailers were still surprised by it, and others have not fully embraced the online market.
‘John Lewis Managing Director Andy Street admitted to the BBC on Wednesday, that the retailer had been surprised at the speed of the shift from shops to online this Christmas’.
The whole online retail experience has matured and the associated delivery businesses have really got their act together. Think how quickly we’ve become used to overnight delivery and become impatient if items take 3 or 4 days to arrive. The great development is in the communication of these delivery companies. Nowadays there is very rarely the issue of having to wait in all day with no idea of a delivery time.
With more people working from home these days, sitting in front of screens all day, online shopping is the natural environment. With many high streets becoming the predictable line of anonymous, bland, big retail brands, it is no wonder that people are drawn to the often niche, quirky and unusual offers online. Location is no barrier, so international retail offers are accessible as are the major London shops such as Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.
But of course we need to be careful what we wish for, as retailers stretch their budgets to create more and more tempting online experiences, the physical store experience may suffer, and as selfish shoppers, we want the best of everything.
There is much talk about reviving high streets and this takes hard work and innovation to compete against the juggernaut that is online, but by retailers working together along side enlightened town councils, there is hope. The Scottish Borders has actually seen an increase in footfall in some of its towns which is encouraging and all down to investment and hard work.
There is no escaping it.
Without realising it, thirty or so of us gathered around Daniel Wood, the Scottish golf professional, the other night and witnessed a demonstration of not only how to hit a range of golf shots but how to line up the important components of a solid brand.
What Daniel also did inadvertently, at his inaugural golf clinic, was to demonstrate his own understanding of the importance of lining up the key factors that affect the success of a brand.
He explained to his audience what he planned to do and why. He executed a range of shots that every amateur dreams of being able to play and gave clear guidance on how the shots can be achieved. He communicated not simply what he is capable of doing personally but what he could do for us. His friendly, unassuming style, won us over and I’m sure that everyone present could see him as our coach.
We have worked with Daniel to create a new identity and a brand new website, which was launched recently. Daniel is young and progressive and we wanted the identity to project exactly that, as well as having all the usual attributes of being easy to apply etc.
His website is strong with clear navigation and the ability to quickly get to the information needed. Daniel has been great to work with and we believe that both the identity and the website, are a good reflection of his dynamic yet accessible attitude. He has a great setup and in our opinion the ability and temperament to both win professional tournaments, and to help us to get our handicaps down.
It’s refreshing to see a young golf professional with such a rounded attitude to his playing and coaching career – the Hirsel Golf Club is lucky to have him.