Our turn at the awards table

Posted by suzichristie on August 23, 2017

We are used to writing entries to business awards for our clients. Recently we have been quite successful, especially on behalf of Cleankill Pest Control. In the last few months they have picked up a mantelpiece full of awards from the Lewes Business Awards, ARMA Awards, British Pest Management Awards, Gatwick Diamond Business Awards and Croydon Business Awards. We have been working this company for many years and are treated as part of the senior team which means we are kept in the loop about everything that happens – good and bad. Having a close and trusting working relationship with a client makes the job of writing award entries much easier.

Last year, we also helped Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm with its entries for the 1066 Business Awards. Catsfield came away from that award ceremony with the prize for ‘Best Small Business’ and Clive Collins, owner of the farm, was declared ‘Business Personality of the Year’. Success at that event meant they were eligible for the regional awards covering Sussex and Hampshire, the JP South Business Awards, where Clive was delighted to again be named ‘Business Personality of the Year’. Again, we know everything that is happening and planned with this business and are treated as an integral member of the team.

In the past we’ve also had success with Neva Consultants, who were named ‘Business of the Year’ at the Uckfield Business Awards, and it seems knowledge of our ability to help companies with award entries has started to spread as earlier this year we had a call from a lettings agency, Easiliving, in Newcastle. Unfortunately, they didn’t win but they did get shortlisted and could use that for publicity.

And now it’s our turn...

We’ve been so busy over the last few years that we haven’t actually won any awards for ourselves since 2012 when we were awarded Gold in the category for ‘Outstanding Small Consultancy’ at the PRide Awards. At the time, the judges remarked how impressed they were “by the range of services offered and the evidence of some great TV and print results that demonstrated success on a national as well as local level.”

The PRide Awards are organised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the main professional body for the industry. It organises industry awards, publishes a code of conduct that emphasises personal conduct, integrity and confidentiality, and runs training and certification schemes. Founded in 1948, it achieved Chartered status in 2005.

To win an award from the CIPR is a special moment for a PR professional and so, this year, we decided to enter the Southern Region PRide Awards using the success of the 2016 Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm campaign as our main focus. The two categories we entered, ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ and ‘Best Low Budget Campaign’, seem to perfectly fit the way we work with Catsfield. Because we are working with a farm that is seasonal in its selling period, we have to be very controlled in the way we approach budget and time. Customers are only able to buy Christmas trees from the middle of November until Christmas Eve and so we must be disciplined and work to a clear schedule, worked out with Clive and his partners in July.

Our campaigns for Catsfield have changed over the years, reflecting the changing approaches of the business. As Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm has extended its range of goods and opened a new Christmas shop, we have built up the social media presence of the company in order to interact directly with customers and create brand loyalty. The plan is not only to enhance the customer experience during that festive season but also create loyalty that will last during the period the shop is closed.

Blueberry undertakes the lion’s share of social media posting and my colleague Ben, who looks after their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ accounts, has noted how impressed he is not only with the way the customers interact with Catsfield, but also how efficiently and equitably Catsfield interacts with its customers when there is a problem. Working with a company that really focuses on quality makes our lives easier.

In addition to the social media work, we also worked with TV and radio, helped organise competitions focusing on local schools, businesses and organisations – local is a very important facet of Catsfield’s USP. It is a local Christmas tree farm, selling locally grown trees, to local people.

Last year, there was the additional problem of the fact their signage was stolen very soon after their selling season began. Working through social and traditional media, we adapted to the situation and, after initially helping to make sure people were aware that the business was still open, turned it into positive promotion. This all helped to make the 2016 campaign the best so far, something which speaks volumes about the quality of product and customer service given by Catsfield which had already had unprecedented growth during the previous few years.

With such a good campaign behind us, it was quite easy to write our award entries and so it was wonderful news when we found we had been shortlisted in both categories. The news arrived just in time for me to inform Ben as he drove off for his annual summer holiday – a nice way to leave work for a couple of weeks.

The winners will be announced at a black-tie event at the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel on the 17th November 2017.

We’ll be there with our fingers crossed.