In this series, we explore the finest work created by The Drum Recommended agencies. We will highlight top case studies to guide and inspire you in your journey to select a new agency relationship.
Last year the Recommended Agency Register (RAR) was rebranded as The Drum Recommends to bring it in line with owner The Drum. It remains committed to partnering brands with the correct agency using data and unique industry expertise.
Flight Club is the home of Social Darts. Having launched successfully in Shoreditch, Bloomsbury and Chicago, it was time for Flight Club to take its supercharged version of the game into new, unexplored territory.
There’s always a challenge with London born venues launching in other major cities; they just can’t seem to shake the cocky London attitude.
That is not what Flight Club is about. The brand's nature is to become part of the community it joins.
Manchester was the city for launch. Why? Because Manchester has a unique and vibrant identity that Flight Club was eager to become a part of.
Don’t Cry Wolf was the chosen communications partner. Why? Because we offered to listen to what Manchester had to say before committing to any sort of launch strategy. We wanted to get to know the city first, speak to its people and then form a strategy and a set of creative tactics that would have an impact locally.
Aims and objectives
The launch goal for Flight Club and Don’t Cry Wolf was:
Successfully weave Flight Club into Manchester’s lifestyle, generating both awareness and direct bookings.
This translated into a number of specific objectives:
Generate an increase in traffic to the Flight Club bookings areas
Generate pre-bookings for the Manchester venue
We had punchy targets. But, more importantly, the launch needed to be done in a way that positioned Flight Club in the right light within the Manchester community.
To inform the strategy effectively, we suggested a research phase. This phase would be:
Qualitative focus groups with the target audience in Manchester
Quantitative testing of key findings from focus groups
Using social channels and plugging into a local focus group recruitment service, we recruited 35 local professionals, aged 20-35 and skewed 60/40 in favour of females (the target audience for Flight Club), into four focus groups.
These groups, chaired by Don’t Cry Wolf, were prompted to have a discussion around what makes a venue work in Manchester and what doesn’t. They were asked to discuss venue launches that worked well and those that didn’t. They chatted about the types of media they use to find new venues and discover interesting things to do. They even offered up information on pricing, promotions, music and what bugs the most about a venue.
This was gold dust.
This qualitative information gave us such an important foundation for the strategy of the launch. But, it needed testing.
We then commissioned a quantitative study of 500 people from the local area, again, the audience reflected the same demographic as the focus groups. A survey was developed that mirrored the focus group questions and tested some of the theories.
The results that came back and fully confirmed what emerged from the focus groups and endorsed our data.
Don’t Cry Wolf discovered that:
Big reveals don’t work in Manchester - bring the audience with you from creation to launch
Facebook, Insta and micro-influencers are where people discover venues, followed by the local press
Talk about the transition of a night. Manchester is looking for a venue that can provide good food at the start of the night, entertainment in the middle and a dance-off at the end.
Get the price right - Manchester is prepared to pay for quality, but not for ‘hot-air’
Get the music spot on please - Manchester means business in this area
Don’t have queues out the door, it’s not cool and it puts us off
What did all this research inform? Well, it gave us our red-thread which was: Experience the Flight Club personality
We wanted to bring Manchester on the journey with us and get to know Flight Club before it even opened its doors. We wanted our audience to discover the quirky approach of the brand, the cheekiness of it and the insatiable appetite the brand has for new inventions and experiences. Importantly, we wanted Manchester to feel this personality, not just be told about it.
To take that theme to market we developed the following launch strategy, in partnership with Flight Club and using the research as our guiding light:
Step one: Excite our audience about the brand through bespoke experiences and literally bring Flight Club alive by commissioning actors and to play the role of characters that represent the brand’s values
Step two: Engage our audience through the journey and let them help us build Flight Club Manchester
Step three: Get our audience to endorse Flight Club in their own communities
Excite: The first thing we did was get people on a train and down to Flight Club London to get a feel for what the brand was about.
We selected over 20 influential journalists, bloggers and Instagrammers from the likes of Secret Manchester, Lad Bible, Capital FM, Manchester Food Bible and MCR. This group of Manchester’s most influential were given time with the founders of Flight Club and then were able to experience the venues on a typical night.
They could taste the food, chat to some of the regulars, review the cocktails and, most importantly, understand the concept of Social Darts.
What we got from this was feedback. This group of influencers were confident the concept would work in Manchester (phew) and importantly, happy to put their name to the journey.
Within minutes of the group experiencing Flight Club, we started to see traction. Content across Instagram, Facebook and important publications started to emerge, all of which had a palpable excitement about Flight Club launching in Manchester soon and a big thumbs up from the influencers that it was a place to visit.
Engage: We spent the next four weeks keeping the content flowing. Every step of the Manchester build was shared with our new group of lovely influencers. From photography to even offering them hard-hat visits to the site, we kept them informed and engaged.
As launch night approached we ramped things up. A set of bespoke Flight Club darts was developed and sent to each of our key media and influencers, all of whom took to their social channels to share their new gifts and their invitation to the launch night.
Importantly, we brought the wider community in as well. Competitions ran across Flight Club channels and partner publications giving lots of locals the chance to be one of the first to step into the venue.
Finally, we produced some beautifully shot films encapsulating the Flight Club experience that we released across Flight Club’s social channels. Importantly, it was good enough to share, and both MCR and UNILAD shared the footage across their channels generating a never-before-seen traffic spike to the Flight Club Website.
Endorse: The final step was a series of soft launches followed by an opening night. We invited local businesses, influencers and media to give Flight Club a go for free and give us feedback in the run-up to the doors opening.
On opening night, we had people from across the Manchester lifestyle, sports, business and media communities attend. We created Flight Club characters to represent core values such as ‘Lady Luck’ (luck) and The Inventor (innovation) attend and dish out moments of magic (usually in the form of Tequila shots!) to bring the night alive.
This case study and other interesting content can be found on Don't Cry Wolf's profile on The Drum Recommends.