Keystone Posts by Hayley Williams

We’ll all know about them. Theme weeks and campaign months at key points in the year; designed to raise awareness of a key message or cause.

Each campaign usually focuses on one central message or call to action, and is driven by an array of marketing tools and platforms to raise awareness of a cause and draw interest and engagement. Such curated activity is most often an example of marketing excellence in action – and so as a team of marketers, we’re always fascinated to absorb every morsel.

Sometimes we engage with national campaign events and theme weeks on behalf of our clients too.  When the fit is right, it’s a chance for us to place our clients at the centre of wider activity, and position their business or their message in a place where key audiences are likely to see and engage.

And sometimes, these initiatives mean something to us more widely too. Our Founder Hayley shares two initiatives that are particularly close to her heart in her latest Hunts Post newspaper column, now published online.

A new Heritage Lottery funded wildlife project now boasts a clear marketing strategy, confident brand and exceptional website thanks to Keystone – with our team working this summer to bring this three-year long wildlife project to life.

Called ‘New Life on the Old West’, the project has been designed to deliver small-scale habitat improvements – ponds, scrapes and wildflower meadows – in the arable landscape, the extensive ditch network, and community green spaces deep within the Cambridgeshire Fens. These are important strongholds for rare and threatened species and the much-needed improvements are designed to create a more resilient landscape that connects dispersed species and habitats.

The project also ensures that a wider range of people can access and enjoy the fenlands, with a diverse series of events, demonstration sites, and a dynamic volunteering programme already in place to encourage and engage interest in the Fens. This core collaborative working is designed to build a stronger connection between local residents and the green spaces and biodiversity on their doorstep.

Keystone’s in house team firstly ran a series of workshops to explore the goals and vision for the community-led initiative, before identifying and building a strategy and associated messaging. Our friends at Slade Design were also key to the project, with their designers working to our brief to deliver identity and brand creation that was then applied to digital and print.

With the programme now launched and a marketing strategy in place, Keystone is set to work with the New Life Old West team throughout the lifecycle of the programme; supporting its communications activity and helping it maximise its engagement within the local community and stakeholder groups.

Keystone has been chosen by Huntingdonshire District Council to support the upcoming ecological project set to improve fish and eel migration and enhance river frontage space in Godmanchester.

Led by Huntingdonshire District Council, the project has been jointly funded in partnership with the Environment Agency, Highways England A428/A14 Legacy Fund, Godmanchester Town Council and Godmanchester in Bloom. Work on the £470k project is expected to start in May and is due for completion in September this year.

Throughout the construction period, and leading up to the launch of the new frontage, the Keystone team will be responsible for communicating and engaging with all project stakeholders. Keystone will also develop a series of online and offline
communication campaigns to inform and inspire local residents in the town and across the wider area.

Keystone was chosen to develop and roll out the 6-month stakeholder and community engagement programme through a competitive pitch process orchestrated by Huntingdonshire District Council. This will be Keystone’s third community engagement project delivered for HDC over the last 12 months, previously acting as the core delivery team for Reopening Huntingdonshire and Think Local.

Orchestrating community engagement impact is a core skill at the heart of Keystone’s approach, which was evident to the HDC team during the pitching process. Experience also comes from similar community focussed campaigns delivered for St Neots and Huntingdon Town Councils, as well as regional membership body Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Keystone has been asked to help redefine a new community engagement strategy for I Love Wisbech; the emerging cross partnership programme designed to deliver positive change for the Cambridgeshire town and the people who live there.

Initially devised as a one-off campaign in 2019, I ♥ Wisbech was developed as a collaboration between the county, district and town councils, local charities and town residents; with the aim of starting a conversation about the future of the town. It was a chance to share ideas, concerns and aspirations about Wisbech, identify common interests and provide a catalyst for positive change.

At that time, campaign activity focussed on asking residents three key questions about the town, with a proportion of respondents also participating in focus groups. After detailed discussion and reporting, it became evident that there was a clear need for future community support. It was at this point that a number of individuals from local councils and charities started exploring options to formally set up a new organisation to drive the project forwards.

Whilst work had been paused due to Covid 19, the town council and its large group of community programme partners and stakeholders are focused on reigniting the project activity later this year – using future recommendations set out by Keystone to build a clear communications framework for the community vehicle.

Keystone will facilitate virtual workshops with Wisbech stakeholders during the month of March; attended by County, District and Town Council representatives as well as those highly engaged local charities committed to developing the cross partnership programme. Keystone’s consultancy will then work from its workshop observations and recommendations to help programme leaders set out a firm roadmap. Advice is likely to focus on the best approach for an I Love Wisbech relaunch, establish guidelines for future communications and outline a best practice framework for future engagement.

Funding for Keystone’s involvement comes from Support Cambridgeshire; a three-year project funded by Cambridgeshire County Council that brings partner organisations together who work to support community groups and organisations across the County.

To coincide with the recent relaunch of The Hunts Post and its milestone of 125 years in print, Keystone’s Hayley has been announced as one of the new monthly columnists for the paper.

A local newspaper has a significant role to play within a community – a powerful communication tool, reflecting the place in which you live. Despite the growth around digital, there’s nothing quite like flicking through its printed pages to understand more about what’s going on around you.

As a long term St Neots resident and a small business owner in the town, Hayley will be taking a look at local business insights and unlocking examples of community spirit from across Huntingdonshire. Observations gained from her day to day work within the Keystone marketing consultancy, and also from here experiences from living in the town.

The first column was published w/c 8th February 2021. Read here.