Best practice from Tribe PR.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. Encouraging and supporting people to gain relevant skills is a priority for the LSC. The Big Skill initiative was first developed in Norfolk by Tribe in 2008 to encourage county residents to gain skills that could improve their lives.
Following success in Norfolk, The Big Skill was rolled out across the East of England for 2009. With BBC East as the LSC’s media partner, Tribe delivered The Big Skill media relations campaign and provided project management support from January – June 2009.
The Big Skill Awards 2009 comprised seven interactive outdoor showcase events (coordinated by A:live Communications) where training providers exhibited the learning opportunities available in the county and encouraged people to try a new skill. Six of the showcases were followed by an evening awards ceremony hosted by BBC radio presenters and campaign ambassador Ray Stubbs.
• Raise awareness of the benefits of life-long learning
• Recognise and reward people who are outstanding examples of achievement through learning
• Create entertaining and informative radio and online pieces for the BBC
• Draw target audience to an informative and entertaining event
• People whose lives could be improved by learning
• Parents, grandparents or guardians of young people
• Learners aged 14+ currently in education or training
• Training providers and employers
A number of challenges and considerations had to be taken into account throughout the planning and implementation of the campaign, including revent negative coverage of the LSC due to changes in structure and college funding issues.
The time and staff-intensive period before and during the seven events required seven team members for attendance at events, press office presence in the office and immediate press material distribution
The target audience encompassed a very wide age range, and securing coverage in media other than the BBC could be challenging. Being the first regional Big Skill Awards, it was difficult to predict the number of nominations - encouraged to receive over 320 entries
Tribe used the following creative tactics in the campaign:
• Used profile of BBC sports presenter Ray Stubbs to attract media attention to the awards and key messages
• Wrote copy and oversaw design of collateral including posters, nomination forms, and advertorials to ensure appeal to a broad demographic
• Held six launch and seven event photo calls with Ray Stubbs and learners demonstrating various skills
• Secured media judges from county newspapers and the BBC to sit on six county judging panels, facilitated by Tribe and A:Live Communications
• Organised TribeTV video news service to film launches and events
• Posted video onto websites including YouTube and offered to media with online video facilities
• Made all event images available on Flickr to allow full size downloads for media and stakeholders
• Steered BBC radio presenters to relevant training providers to learn a new skill to talk up on air and demonstrate at events
• Prepared and briefed a full range of spokespeople, including; LSC representatives, local learners, colleges and Ray Stubbs
Media relations included supplying BBC county radio stations with content for web, TV and radio including 44 potential interviewees. We distributed and sold-in 68 localised press releases and 17 diary dates to 132 county media titles including business titles, online, television and radio, throughout the campaign.
Tribe also attended and managed media at seven outdoor showcase events and six evening awards ceremonies and acted as press office, taking all media enquiries throughout the campaign.
To reach our diverse target audiences in the East of England, a range of media targets were identified: county-wide media (TV, radio, press) local news titles (print, online and radio).
Evaluation and results
The following media coverage was obtained:
• Tribe generated 183 pieces of coverage which appeared in 77 print and online titles. Combined readership of these articles: 3,117,204 (Source: RAJAR)
• Regular on air coverage across all five BBC local radio stations and news coverage on two commercial stations. Combined listenership: 955,000
• Six launch and event news items appeared on BBC regional television
• 975 viewings of ‘how to enter’ launch video on YouTube and TribeTV.com
• Over 3000 visits to Big Skill event photography on Flickr
• Achieved coverage in ten titles in which the LSC had not previously had coverage
• Achieved three front page articles
• Featured on newspaper billboard for Eastern Daily Press on the day following the Norfolk awards
• 94% of coverage included reference to the LSC
• 98% of coverage was positive about The Big Skill initiative
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