We were really pleased with the Brierley Hillness project brand we created. I had never used a professionally designed ‘brand’ or ‘style’ for an individual project before, but I think in this project, where there were so many different elements to coordinate, it was useful to bring them all together under a banner.
The most effective three for us!
In our experience the three things that worked best in involving the community in our project and increasing the number of people involved were:
- Working with local schools; culminating in a public performance attended by friends, family, Council Officers and local stakeholders
- Meeting with and telephoning community groups; personally inviting them to take part. Marketing print and mail outs did not attract large numbers of people
- Going out and interviewing people in the streets.
However, we did focus on print material at the beginning…
See samples of the marketing material we produced using the branding.
Obviously it’s difficult to assess how well marketing print works in any project. Uptake was low for the drop-in art workshops we ran through Artspace, and by community groups for free bespoke creative sessions. However, the promotional material did raise awareness – a few groups were familiar with the project when we invited them personally to take part.
One of the community mural painters commented:
“It was a shame it didn’t reach a wider audience. Perhaps it could have been advertised more; library, doctors, children’s centre, even handing out leaflets in the street.”
And yet we did try to do all this!
Here is a summary of our marketing campaign:
15,000 Brierley Hillness A5 Flyer – which promoted all aspects of project, including the theatre production. These were distributed through schools and the Brierley Hill Community Forum database, displayed at Merry Hill Shopping Centre and at a host of Brierley Hill venues such as cafes, health and social care building (Drs), police station, council offices, children’s centres, community centres, adult learning centre and library. Leaflets about the project were handed out at the Christmas lights switch on the previous November and during some street interviews. (We could have tried more handing out leaflets!)
All events were posted on the Brierley Hill Blog and sent around an electronic network of Brierley Hill stakeholders. Promotion was also displayed in the window at Artspace for passing trade.
There was also an additional evening events programme flyer which was distributed to the same places as above. Individual posters were put up in the libraries and markets and flyers displayed in local venues and Merry Hill Shopping Centre for each evening talk or event. An unforeseen challenge was that Brierley Hill Library was closed during the final third of the project; this was our main venue for promoting evening events and Artspace activity.
In retrospect, more time could have been spent building relationships with the local press ourselves, rather than relying (or being constrained by) the in-house press and PR teams from Dudley MBC and English Heritage.
It seems that few people came as a response to the promotional material, but contacts were made during the other events happening as part of the project.