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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Manifest Communications - Leisure Connection

30th August 2013


Company: Manifest Communications Campaign: Leisure Connection:  More people, more active, more often Category: Public Sector Campaign of the Year - North - WINNER Objectives • To get more people, more active, more often and exercising in public sector leisure and sports centres • To position the local authority clients as delivering excellence in sport, leisure, health and well-being • To effectively manage the social media channels for LC’s brands and advise / monitor local centres on their social media Aswell as objectives, we were set KPIs by LC, which would demonstrate the value of PR to the business. These included: • To place at least 70 local / regional pieces of coverage per month • To demonstrate the value for money of PR and achieve an ROI of 15 to 1. Action There was a great deal of activity taking place within each centre – from new programme launches to people with an interesting tale to tell. Therefore we launched an effective and hardworking press office to ensure a constant stream of news from across the estate was communicated to the regional media. In order to unearth the necessary stories we needed the buy in and support of the local gatekeepers of information – the centre managers. Weekly communication occurred to ensure PR was front of mind. Achieving stand out The majority of the public access centres within the estate were aging. However, when you strip away the facade and look at the facilities and services offered they are second to none. From 25m swimming pools and large sports halls to football pitches and indoor running tracks, we had the perfect canvas to produce some great local PR stories. We understood that the newer gyms would be more ‘fashionable’ and appeal more to someone looking to just join a gym so we looked to profile all the extras that members and users could enjoy at their local leisure centre. Outputs Working in partnership with internal stakeholders with such a large PR canvas we divided the LC estate in to different regions. Each member of the account team had responsibility for a region and managed it like an individual client. This included: • Weekly conference calls with each region to feed PR stories into the calendar • Weekly update reports – called the hi5, to summarise the outputs for that week and highlight any non-performers • A quarterly PR pack which highlighted the success of the previous quarter in terms of PR best practice as well as highlighting topical dates / events over the next quarter, which we could piggy back on for PR – see Appendix. • Monthly coverage reports for each region Generating local stories to build a local profile The team delivered an ongoing PR campaign made up of local press releases about the individual centres. This was used to generate stand out in the regional broadcast and print media. Positive relationships were made with local press following an in-depth media audit at the start of the campaign. The distribution of news supported the success of this campaign. Each leisure centre had its own digital newsroom (for example), which contained all the information the local press would need about the centre; including images, all previous press releases and key contacts. This was also optimised for SEO. Example stories include: • Swimming scholarships • Case studies of members • New fitness programme launches • New service launches • Investment • Fundraising events • Open days • Community engagement initiatives Key dates / events were also used to provide additional PR hooks and angles. Examples include: • Queenacise – fitness tips for the Queen ahead of the Jubilee celebrations, which achieved coverage in The Daily Telegraph • Thriller workout for Halloween which appeared in the Metro • Free memberships for anyone called George on St George’s Day, which secured a vast amount of regional coverage • Marking 100 and 50 days to the Olympics through various news stories and stunts and achieving regional coverage • Women’s Health Week, No Smoking Day and Water Safety Week – centre promotions and stunts around these dates also achieved blanket regional coverage Human interest stories We knew human interest stories would be of interest to the regional media so we worked with the managers to produce a range of case studies about users who had achieved goals and ambitions as a result of regular physical activity. We also found some great people stories about the staff working within the leisure centres. A few examples include: • A lifeguard who was chosen to lifeguard at the Olympic Games • Adults who learnt to swim later in life • People training for significant sporting events – i.e. marathons, triathlons • Staff stories – trainers who represent GB / UK in various sports Social media Facebook and Twitter were also managed as part of this campaign in a bid to build LC’s profile online. Manifest managed the national account while the centres had responsibility for managing the individual centre accounts. Social media was used to post news from the sites and give the centres an online personality. Results (November 2011 - 1 December 2012) • To position the local authority clients as delivering excellence in sport, leisure, health and well-being • To get more people, more active, more often and exercising in public sector leisure and sports centres. • We have supported an increase of 4.8% (like for like) in fitness sales and an 11.5% increase (like for like) in people swimming at their local public access leisure centre. Across the board retention of members is also up by 2.5% • To effectively manage the social media channels for LC’s brands and advise / monitor local centres on their social media. • Increased social media likes and followers by 1,100 (Twitter), 700 (Facebook) KPI achievement: • To place at least 70 local / regional pieces of coverage per month • Achieved an average of 350 cuttings per month • To demonstrate the value for money of PR and achieve an ROI of 15 to 1 The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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