This guest blog was provided by Melanie Burgoyne, Rural Towns Coordinator, Economic Development (Partnership Projects) at Chichester District Council…
Having been contacted about ‘Indie Easter’, I suggested the scheme to the Midhurst Reward Card group as they were already committed to doing a promotion for Easter but yet to decide what. This way, we already had a committed group of 15 businesses and I was able to bring in others so that we had over 20 taking part. The Town Team has been able to lend support through both my time coordinating the hunt and has also by planning the publicity. The Town Team Chair, John Quilter, issued our Press Release to all local media and was able to get a piece on local radio. The Press Release went out to all local media in time to hit the editions in the week leading up to launch; we followed up the next week with another release and a picture of our first winners resulting in another story.
The Key to success – planning, face to face contact with retailer participants, and LOTS of local PR…
The week before launch, the businesses were hand-delivered a pack containing detailed guidelines along with their maps, posters and stickers. The businesses had been told in advance when to expect their packs and what they would be getting, which did help with preparation.
Hundreds of maps were distributed to the local primary schools and day nurseries – the latter were particularly keen to have the maps as they could plan in to do the hunt as an activity with the children.
We chose to have one central point where shoppers could take their completed maps to collect their eggs and certificates. To add value to the ‘hunt’ we included a Prize Draw to win £100 to spend in any of the participating businesses – to qualify, shoppers have to answer a set of questions about what is available to buy in Midhurst.
Feedback from the community… Success = Community engagement
Feedback has been very positive so far with lots of children collecting their certificates and eggs. We have also had adults keen to find out the answers to the questions to qualify for the prize draw. The hunt has had the desired effect of encouraging people into businesses which they previously hadn’t visited and some businesses have got new customers as a result. Generally, though, it has been a positive awareness raising exercise so far. The cold weather has had an impact as many parents have rushed their children round – hopefully the expected milder weather to come will encourage people to spend more time out.
Being adaptable, responding to consumer reactions – lessons learned for the future that will benefit ALL towns!
We have had to adapt along the way too – children love the sticker collecting element so much that they don’t want to relinquish their maps once completed. The collecting point is “signing off” their map (so it can’t be used again to claim an egg) and the children can then keep it. We are still able to collect the addresses for the prize draw as these are on the other side of the map.
We have enjoyed the opportunity to take part in this scheme and the national element has already resulted in a contact from the trade press – FE magazine wanting to feature what Midhurst did for Easter in their next edition.
Summing up our approach in Midhurst, John Quilter said ‘’ We have a town with its historic roots in the past but its eyes on the future. We are very grateful for the help of schemes such as this and will strive to be active in any future similar opportunities’’