The brief

Develop and implement an on-going PR campaign to raise awareness and boost year-on-year sales at Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, East Sussex.

The objectives

Integrated as part of an overall marketing plan, the PR activity undertaken needs to:

  • Increase annual profits;
  • Attract higher footfall to the farm;
  • Drive traffic to www.catsfieldchristmastreefarm.com, converting to a higher number of online sales;
  • Raise awareness of additional Christmas paraphernalia sold online and offline such as Christmas decorations, potted trees, stands and lighting.

Our approach to date:

  • Press releases: In the lead up to Christmas, drafted and issued press releases to target offline and online media, announcing company news such as the 'lay-away' Christmas tree scheme, the new business partnership between owner Clive Collins and Phil Reynolds and Clive's Sussex Business Awards nomination.
  • Christmas tree topper competition: Local children invited to design Christmas tree toppers with the winning entry receiving a free Christmas tree and book vouchers for their school.
  • Christmas tree card competition: Competition launched for local school children to design a Christmas tree card. Winning design printed and sold in local farm shop as well as via the website, raising funds for the Spinal Injuries Association.
  • Personal News Stories: Profiling Clive and his life-story in key local, regional, trade and national media.
  • On-going media relations: Issued photocall notices and media-related opportunities such as planting the 5000th tree with local MP and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Greg Barker.
  • Following the news agenda: Piggy-backed any relevant news stories and keeping on top of forward features in which opportunities for the business can be name checked.
  • Social media: Kept followers on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and You Tube updated on news activity and business related matters that may have been of interest to consumers and opinion formers.

Clive Collins, owner of Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, said “Having never used PR before, Blueberry has played an important part in our growing success. From TV to Twitter, founder Suzi Christie has really helped us raise our profile. A refreshingly, clear, honest and to-the-point agency.”

The results

To date, Blueberry PR has generated several pieces of national and local coverage, both online and offline, as well as 5 pieces of broadcast. Coverage highlights include:

  • Ten minutes of air-time on BBC Radio Sussex;
  • Story on local ITV news;
  • Interview on BBC South East;
  • The business and Clive's life-story profiled in The Guardian;
  • A feature in the counties leading consumer title, Sussex Life magazine;
  • Front page and the lead story in SIA (Spinal injuries Association) magazine;
  • Christmas trees giveaways secured in weekly consumer magazine Love It! and www.menshealth.co.uk
  • Numerous news stories generated in local titles such as The Argus and The Battle Observer.

Other successes include:

  • Sales up 20% since the previous year's;
  • Planting the 5,000th tree with Greg Baker;
  • The local Rotary Club inviting Clive to give a talk on his company success;
  • Helping Clive reach his personal goal of selling 2,500 trees in one season. The figure currently stands at 1,600, but every year the company is gaining a greater share of the local market;
  • Raising over £300 for the Spinal Injuries Association.