Showcasing your talents


Case study 1: launching a new company and managing a corporate identity change

The challenge
Promote YT wanted to reflect the growth in scale of Scotland’s youth theatre sector, to better represent their membership and  communicate more clearly what they do. I managed the implementation of their company name and identity change from Promote YT to Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, the development organisation for youth theatre arts in Scotland.

The work
I created copy to communicate the change to specific segments using email, Facebook and Twitter. I also managed the production of new online collateral: a website re-skin and content update, social media profile photo and wallpaper, and email templates. I wrote email newsletter articles for the CEO and commissioned additional articles for the emails. To raise the profile of the name change, I drafted and distributed a press release and handled media and other enquiries.

The strategy was achieved by:

  • Planning the communications of the name change to specific segments
  • Informing key stakeholder groups of the change in advance, addressing concerns and building comments into future plans
  • Finalising brand guidelines
  • Communicating the name change to membership (email newsletters, Facebook and Twitter campaigns)
  • Ghost writing email newsletter articles for the CEO and commissioning ‘Conceiving the name’ articles
  • Producing new online collateral: website re-skin, content update, social media profile , photo,  wallpaper and content update, and an email newsletter template
  • Printed collateral production
  • Managing social media URL and naming changes
  • Managing website and email address changeovers and redirects with IT companies
  • Writing a press release about the change and the appointment of a new patron, Outlander star Sam Heughan, and managing distribution and press liaison
  • Addressing search engine optimisation of the new website: page titles, meta headings, keywords, XML sitemap generation and submission
  • Writing and scheduling tweets and website pop-ups for three months post-launch.

The results
Since the Youth Theatre Arts Scotland launch, email newsletter clicks are up from 15% to 21% and unique website visits are up by 57%. Press coverage was received in the Edinburgh Reporter, the email open rate went up from 31% to 42% and a survey of members revealed that 74% had seen the new logo. More than 60% agreed that the new name and identity gave a ‘professional’ and ‘dynamic’ impression: key elements of the new brand personality.

 

Case study 2: launching a new event brand

The challenge
I brought a series of new events to market during my time at National Museums Scotland. ‘RBS Museum Lates’ were billed as an ‘alternative Friday night’ featuring live music for young professionals. The challenge was to sell tickets, increase takings at a restaurant and bar and establish Lates as a hot ticket.

The work
I commissioned market research to gain insight to the interests, activities and media use of young people aged 18 to 30. These findings were then used to devise a sub-brand for the event and to plan how it would be promoted.

RBS Museum Lates were marketed using a combination of low-cost digital (email and social media competitions) and working partnerships. This included a negotiated magazine partnership that provided the Museum with access to leading Scottish groups and reduced advertising costs for the events, and reciprocal competitions (mainly on Facebook) with Festival peers.

The results
The first five RBS Museum Lates events sold out: a total of 10,000 tickets. This generated £130,000 in revenue from a £7,000 marketing budget. The Institute of Internal Communication awarded Lates ‘Best Use of Social Media’.

 

Case Study 3: A Little [More] Conversation

The Challenge Facing Us
Bassoon players dressing up as Elvis is not something you see every day. Hebrides Ensemble toured ‘Dead Elvis’ (1993) by American composer Michael Daugherty, which draws inspiration from the King’s cultural legacy. A rare chance to see the work in the UK, the concerts visited one of Edinburgh’s largest venues – the Assembly Rooms, as well as Perth Concert Hall, Dundee Gardyne Theatre and Sage Gateshead. The thing that we really needed to do here was to attract audiences to two venues new to the Hebrides’ fanbase. We were also careful to make sure that the marketing campaign represented an American/jazz classical concert: not a tribute act.

What We Did
We developed and implemented a multifaceted marketing strategy for the tour. An unusual element was sourcing photography for the campaign from a photographer based in America. Acting as a social media producer, we created a raft of creative online content so there was enough material on hand to sustain a conversation about the tour. And, of course, we also:

  • Commissioned and managed suppliers: designers, a film-maker, media buyer,
    printer and distribution agencies.
  • Venue liaison to maximise promotional opportunities
  • Online advertising management (Twitter/Facebook Ads)
  • Email newsletter management
  • Social media management
  • Photocall/photocall notice
  • Press release
  • Direct mail campaign
  • Concert video trailer
  • Interest group outreach (music groups/departments)
  • Flyer
  • Posters
  • Press adverts: The Journal and The Courier
  • Concert programme.

What We Achieved
Results included a record peak of website unique visits (885 in November). The campaign delivered 1,375 new Twitter followers in 90 days, thanks to a Twitter Ads campaign. There were 430 plays of the video trailer (which was also embedded on stv.tv). Michael Daugherty himself was encouraged to take part in audio interviews and we wrote features that were repurposed into blogs, email newsletters, video trailers, press releases and social posts. We collaborated with the artistic team to produce music and book lists influenced by the concert theme. These were then turned into Spotify playlists and Amazon book lists and shared on a website, social media and in email newsletters. A photocall featuring a student of the bassoonist generated a picture insert in the news section of The Herald, and other press coverage included eight preview items and five reviews.

The audience was quite literally ‘All Shook Up’: “Never been to a Hebrides concert before – did not know what to expect, but it was fantastic.”

Case Study 4: Attracting digital natives to youth theatre

The Challenge Facing Us
Four plays about fame, sex, Govanhill and the gritty lives of Liverpool’s young people. Launching the first Chrysalis festival, featuring performances by young theatre-makers at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, was not for the faint of heart. We needed to attract an audience and to start to challenge the existing perceptions of youth theatre.

What We Did
There was a lot of brain power used in this campaign. We commissioned audience research agency Culture Republic to analyse youth theatre attenders in Scotland and the existing Traverse audience. The findings were used to select audience target groups and to build the communications strategy.

A key group we wanted to engage with were young people in their 20s and 30s. Heavy users of digital devices and the internet, we had to be careful to avoid falling into the trap that social media was the only way to reach this group. The research told us that email marketing, our website and traditional print media (brochures, flyers, popular press and TV coverage) all needed to be part of the mix as well.

The brand identity for the festival was carefully nurtured. A fine line was tread so we did not look like we were promoting a club or trying too hard to be ‘cool’. We worked with a French abstract artist and a Scottish illustrator to create the festival identity. A young festival producer helped to advise us on the identify development.

The performing theatres provided content for the online campaign; blog posts, videos, photographs, reviews and features: all related to their scripts. We made sure that a variety of types of content were produced and used on channels that suited them. Horizon scanning was also part of this project – finding out what else was happening in the city that could provide extra content ideas for the online activity (such as Movember).  We also:

  • Commissioned and managed suppliers: designers, a film-maker, media buyer, printer and distribution agencies.
  • Venue liaison to maximise promotional opportunities
  • Online advertising management (Facebook Ads)
  • Email newsletter management
  • Social media management
  • Photocall/photocall notice
  • Press releases
  • Liaison with the Cabinet Secretary team – briefing notes, event planning
  • Video trailer
  • Flyer
  • Posters
  • Press adverts
  • Programme production
  • Media partnerships.

What We Achieved
The festival itself became famous – over 1,152 tickets were booked (86% of capacity) against a target of 780. The Traverse Theatre felt that the festival was ‘surprisingly busy’ and highlighted the younger profile of the audience.

When we asked ticket buyers how they had found out about the festival, half of the information sources they mentioned were managed by us. There were many positive comments about youth theatre in the national press. The festival was selected as ‘Top Pick of the Week’ in The Guardian, and the Patron of Youth Theatre Arts Scotland Sam Heughan (star of Outlander), was interviewed on The Fountainbridge Show (STV Edinburgh) and The Riverside Show (STV Glasgow).

You can hear James talk about the Chrysalis festival campaign on the Culture Republic podcast.

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