Marketing strategy ensured success for Royal Deeside food events

This case study outlines the marketing strategy behind the newly-created Royal Deeside Larder food events, as delivered by Tricker PR and Blue Square.

Executive SummaryTricker PR was contracted to deliver a marketing campaign which would encourage local businesses to participate in the first year of newly created food and drink events in Royal Deeside (The Tanalonga, Venison Festival and Dine on Deeside). Tricker PR worked with Blue Square on the design elements of the campaign.Participants’ packs, launch events and personal contact with all participants ensured member buy in. A high level of visibility with the leaflets and posters encourage visibility in the area as well as in key target areas. Features on local food champions such as HM Sheridans royal butchers and smoked venison guru Serena Humphrey were issued and television coverage secured. The Royal Deeside Larder brand was strengthened by a consistent approach to all visual materials.All targets set by the client were exceeded in terms of participation, attendees (where targets were set) and media coverage. Web hits rose by up to 3500%, all events attracted more participating businesses than targets. PR equivalence of the media coverage more than doubled the £1million target coming in at over £2million.Client ObjectivesThe Royal Deeside Destination Management Organisation (DMO) created three new food events in 2010 to highlight the food experience in the area. They were designed to encourage more visitors on 'gastro trips', and to highlight the wealth of artisan food producers (local game, beef etc). It also aimed to encourage more local people to buy regional produce where possible. But, the key objective for the year one events was to secure local business participation to make the events viable. The client set no targets for event attendees other than 100 to attend Tanalonga. Tricker PR was retained to handle the PR for the events:THE TANALONGA- September 2010: a five mile ‘gastro-ramble’ through Glen Tanar estate with four food-stops where walkers sampled local food and drink. Target - 100 participants.THE VENISON FESTIVAL- October 2010: the UK's first festival to celebrate venison meat and recipes with a series of chef demonstrations, special menus, wildlife safaris, outdoor activities and venison breakfasts. Target – 12 local businesses participating and increased consumption of venison.DINE ON DEESIDE – March 2011: a ten-day fixed menu event with over 32 participating venues (from tearooms to fine dining). Target – 15 local businesses and three food suppliers to participate.The events were to generate at least £1 million PR equivalence in press coverage and to secure one piece of television coverage. Starting pointThe overall budget for marketing and PR was in the region of £15,000. The Deelicious magazine budget was in addition to this. Tricker PR worked in partnership with Blue Square on design elements.The event PR strategy was based on the principles that:
  • Successful initiatives must be embedded in local community
  • Local champions are key to success of food initiatives
  • Successful initiatives tend to be inclusive
  • Public visibility is key to the success of food and drink initiatives
  • Effective branding significantly helps food and drink initiatives
SolutionIt was important that the events gained visibility 'on the ground' as well as being introduced to potential visitors, in order that DMO members were able to see the benefits of the initiative. Tricker PR ensured that all local outlets and community newsletters were kept up to date with all news for inclusion.To mark the area out as being a discerning destination for foodies, excellent high quality imagery was at the core of the PR strategy. Commissioned photography led to the production of high quality materials with visual impact. The photography included creative concepts for the Venison Festival of a local chef holding a venison pie complete with antlers; a butler holding refreshments in a panoramic landscape for the Tanalonga; butcher’s boy on a traditional delivery bike for Dine on Deeside. There was also a large pool of plated food photography taken for all initiatives. Combining this photography into one day maximised the available budget. Tricker PR planned to promote primarily the food and drink, but very much against the backdrop of the panoramic landscape of the area.Timescales were approximately six weeks for Tanalonga, eight for Venison Festival and 12 for Dine on Deeside. Activity included:PARTICIPANTS’ PACKS: Comprehensive document of how to get involved, suppliers, ideas for promotion, window displays, recipes, logos etc.POSTERS: Suite of A3 and A4 posters for each event which also included empty belly posters to allow for individual participants to cost effectively promote their own specific events

Dine on Deeside leaflet

LEAFLETS: A suite of event leaflets which were distributed across key areas of Scotland and across Royal Deeside; there were door drops in the Aberdeen cityMICRO WEBSITE: A micro site for Royal Deeside Larder was created to promote the food events, forming the core base for information on all events, promotions and activities as well as providing an online version of the Deelicious magazine.EFLYERS: Reinforcing campaign messages and event dates and timings. Eflyers were sent through the DMO's permission based database and 600,000 records were mailed to via an external mailing house.PRESS TRIPS: 11 familiarsation press trips for targeted journalists were secured. National and regional publications (selected because their readerships fitted with the target sgements in the DMO's marketing stratgey) were invited on trips to experience at first hand the food and drink experience. As well as staying and eating in hotels and restaurants, journalists had the opportunity to meet and see small food producers 'in action'. For example, journalists had the chance to see artisan cheese making, rustic sausage making and the smoking of venison and other game. They were then able to taste these products at the restaurants and hotels which had these producers on their menus - giving a comprehensive overview of 'field to plate' in action. They were also taken on wildlife spotting safaris in the hills.MEDIA RELEASES AND FEATURES: Press release and features were drafted to spread the media coverage further for those unable to take advantage of a press trip. Unfortunately, agreement on budgets was delayed meaning that no ‘long lead’ activity in glossy food magazines could be undertaken, restricting the PR activity consierably from the initial plan. DEELICIOUS MAGAZINE was introduced - a glossy 8 page lifestyle magazine (printed and online with page-turning software) promoting produce and recipes of Royal Deeside Larder. Deelicious allows the high quality food and drink product of Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms to be shown in the context of the wider landscape and environment. The design is fresh, the copy style is light and the publication is image led (there is no reliance on stock imagery in Deelicious with photography being commissioned for each feature). This allows the overall Royal Deeside Larder 'product' as well as the specific food events to be demonstrated - the food, the people and the landscape. The magazine also featured recipes from particpating chefs using local produce. FACEBOOK AND TWITTER PAGES: Reinforcing campaign messages and event dates and timings as well as encouraging feedback from the public.PRESS COMPETITIONS: The use of competitions and related newsletter sign-ups to generate a substantial mailing list, and the sourcing of external databases to disseminate electronic materials to, formed an important part of the strategy. ResultsTANALONGATarget - 100 participants; achieved 130.VENISON FESTIVAL Target – 12 local businesses participating; achieved 16 businesses. 94% participating businesses would like to see it become annual. 99% attendee customer satisfaction.More than 50% of diners took the venison options.DINE ON DEESIDE Google AnalyticsDuring the period June 2010 to October 2011 (when much of the promotional activity took place for Venison Festival and Tanalonga) website visits were up by over 520% and page views were up 203%. In the lead up to and during the Venison Festival, website visits rose to between 1500% and 3500% up on the same period in the previous year.E-Flyer ResultsThe Dine on Deeside eflyer (from a series of 6 eflyers on different topics) were the most successful of the series with a 33.4% opening rate and in excess of 3,000 direct clicks to the website from the eflyer. (It is important to note that not all email clients report email opens, so this figure is assumed to be artificially low.) 27.5% of those who received the Venison eflyer opened it. There were 2453 click throughs to the Venison Festival webpages directly from the eflyer.DEELICIOUS MAGAZINE Reader Survey Results included:
  • 91% thought that Deelicious achieved its objectives of promoting the food and drink of Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms
  • 75% thought that Deelicious achieved its objectives of encouraging more people to visit Royal Deeside food events
  • 95% would like to see Deelicious continuing beyond the planned four editions.
Comments from survey participants included:"Made me want to visit the area and will do so.""Really nice magazine… - double the content would be fantastic as what there is, is really good."Media CoverageThe Venison Festival alone secured PR equivalence of £1.5million in media coverage - including coverage in The Times, The Scotsman, The Daily Express, the Daily Mail, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC News achieving the target of one television piece.
  • Tanalonga – 31 pieces of media coverage; PR equivalence of £66,676.32.
  • Dine on Deeside – 20 pieces of media coverage and PR equivalence of £50,154
  • Press trips - PR equivalence of £442,213
Total PR Equivalence £2,088, 298This campaign won the award for Best Marketing Strategy at the UK Event Awards

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