Keystone Posts by Hayley Williams

It was July 2013 when Keystone’s founder Hayley Williams formally announced her transition to business owner – after a long career in marketing roles supporting multiple corporates and charity organisations.

Keystone is well known for our emphasis on strategic marketing advice and community engagement focusses, working both closer to home in Cambridgeshire and across the country. Our knowledge and impact stems from the strategic marketing services we offer to high-growth B2B organisations, as well as in our communications projects more widely for the public sector, local authorities and not-for-profits.

At the very heart of our business, is a focus on helping organisations build closer relationships with their audiences; developing strategy, content and campaigns that strongly engage and inspire action within their key communities.

In a celebratory event in St Neots on Thursday 6th July 2023, the Keystone team were joined by clients and colleagues from across the years to raise a toast to this new double-digit milestone.

In a short speech at the event, Hayley spoke of her pride for what the team had been able to achieve on behalf of its clients, her delight in the wonderful people they had met along the way, and her gratefulness for such continuing commitment and support.

We’re one of 5.5 million small businesses across the country, and we know that there’s only a very small percentage that get this far. With a clear proposition and an ongoing growth plan, we’re turbocharged to make a continuing impact in the years ahead too. Watch out for future announcements coming very soon that showcase some of the brand-new projects our team has played a central role in over the last quarter.

Photos from the ‘Keystone is 10’ celebration event can be viewed on our LinkedIn page. Our thanks to Shume for being such fabulous event hosts (and keeping the drinks flowing!), i-d Image Development for capturing the reception so beautifully, and to all our guests – including current Mayor of St Neots Rob Simonis.

Keystone has won a three-year contract to handle the communications for the flagship Cambridgeshire arts programme, The Library Presents – a longstanding vibrant and inclusive arts programme bringing music, drama, art, dance, storytelling, comedy, puppetry, magic, digital arts and workshops to libraries across Cambridgeshire.

Led by our Head of Communications Katherine Hesketh, Keystone will be working closely with the team at The Library Presents over a three-year period, to inject our well-regarded marketing skillset and community engagement expertise into the programme. Programme messaging, social media, PR, stakeholder relations and volunteer engagement all play a part in the campaign curated by the Keystone team.

Speaking of the new partnership, Keystone’s Managing Director Hayley Williams said: “The Library Presents is committed to enabling local residents to experience high quality, low-cost arts experiences across the county – and we are so pleased to play a part in support of this vision. As the programme’s chosen comms team, we’ll focus on creating greater community engagement across numerous audience groups, and deepening relationships with all key stakeholders.”

Ticket sales for the summer 2023 season (the 11th season for the longstanding programme) open on 15 June, with events running throughout July and August. The programme offers an incredible lineup of artists and experiences; including live music, family-centric events, and a sprinkling of theatre, dance and comedy too.

Showcasing its commitment to collaboration, the new season has been created with direct input from over 600 local residents who helped to choose this season’s performers and events.

As a St Neots-based business, we’re pleased to see the programme coming to life locally too. On 29th July, St Neots Library will be alive with the sound of samba drumming! This high energy and all-inclusive workshop will give everyone a chance to have fun with beats and rhythms. The library will host a second event on 4th August when comedian James Campbell will present his stand-up show for children, their parents and anyone who likes comedy without rude words. James wrote the bestselling Funny Life books, and has appeared on Blue Peter and at the Royal Albert Hall.


After the rollout of the current summer season, The Library Presents will be back again in October 2023 with an autumn series of arts events and workshops that will be promoted with Keystone’s help, before two seasons run in both 2024 and 2025 too.

For more information, you can visit the programme website, subscribe to the email newsletter, or stay up to date on Facebook and Instagram at: @TheLibraryPresents. The Library Presents is funded by Arts Council England, run by Cambridgeshire County Council working with Babylon ARTS.

It’s our pleasure to announce that Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) has been chosen as Keystone’s Charity of the Year. A partnership that will see our team support the fundraising goals of the charity in our local area over the year ahead.

Across our whole team, we’ll be drawing on our experience of marketing strategy and community engagement to consult with CPSL Mind’s in house fundraising and communications teams for free; offering them considered advice and fresh perspectives to help maximise their marketing activities and outcomes.

Our new fundraising page on Just Giving will also encourage direct donations to the cause across the year. You can access Keystone’s dedicated fundraising page and make a valuable donation here.

Speaking of the new partnership, Keystone’s Managing Director Hayley Williams said:

“I’m so pleased to have reignited our Charity of the Year initiative. We’ve always gifted time and expertise to help local causes elevate their work, and this renewed annual commitment gives us the opportunity to build a long standing relationship and make a prolonged impact. In the last year alone, CPSL Mind supported the mental health of over 4000 local people. The services provided at a grassroots level really are crucial, and we’re ready to play our part in making a difference in the geographical area in which the majority of the Keystone team live and work.”

Fundraising Manager Gary Sutcliffe and Keystone’s Hayley originally met through a Networking with Purpose Breakfast in the summer of 2022; an initiative developed by Cambridge based social entrepreneur Rachel Hales from Get Synergised. The event was driven to connect businesses, charities and social enterprises for the greater good, and the idea of this new official corporate partnership was developed thereafter.

The first activity that this new partnership will support is the campaign to encourage participation in the 2023 Chiltern 50 Challenge on 23 September 2023. Individuals or teams can raise valuable funds for CPSL Mind by joining their team and walking, jogging or running along historic trails and over rolling hills in the Chilterns countryside.

About CPSL Mind
Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) is a dynamic, local charity that supports people in their recovery from mental health problems, promotes wellbeing and campaigns against stigma & discrimination. We believe that no-one should have to face a mental health problem alone. If you are facing difficulties with your emotional or mental health, and are looking for support on your road to recovery, we are here for you.

About Keystone Marketing, St Neots
Our Cambridgeshire based marketing consultancy engages audiences and ignites communities. Helping local authorities and not for profits build closer relationships with their audiences is at the very heart of our business; developing strategy, content and campaigns that strongly engage and inspire action within communities. We are a highly experienced team of community engagement specialists; utilising our experience of marketing strategy to develop campaigns that drive interest, engagement and behavioural change.

This winter, residents in East and South Cambridgeshire are able to benefit from a network of Warm Hubs; with messaging, brand identity and launch communications provided by Keystone.

Run within existing community spaces, and coordinated and hosted by trained volunteers, these Hubs provide access to services for those that are perhaps ‘just managing’ with the cost-of-living crisis and who are not necessarily familiar with the systems of support available to them. The idea is to provide access to services at an early intervention stage, to prevent longer term hardship and social isolation.

Our in house team developed a messaging framework for use across the programme, providing a communications toolkit that all funding partners and local Warm Hub venues and volunteers can pick up and use; with assurances as to messaging clarity and consistency. This key messaging flowed into a suite of online and offline materials generated by the Keystone team; including a press release that was distributed to print and broadcast press across the Cambridgeshire region at the end of October.

Calling on our friends at Slade Design for graphic design support, the Keystone collective also worked from this core messaging framework to develop the logotype, associated brand guidelines and a suite of marketing collateral assets to support programme promotions.

We also advised Cambridgeshire ACRE of the extensive benefits of establishing a Facebook page and dedicated hashtag to bring the wider network together. Our work saw us create this new online presence; cultivating its launch content before handing it over to the internal Cambridgeshire ACRE team for future engagement on the channel. Future social media impact has also been ensured with branded design templates and content approaches to help the delivery team showcase the programme during its rollout.

Getting the foundations of a campaign right from the very beginning makes a significant difference to the impact and effectiveness of activity, and we are delighted that we were able to support the Warm Hubs delivery team to set this in place with our strategy, messaging and design services. Get in touch if you have a new campaign that we can help you with too. 

We can confirm that nearly 20 Warm Hubs are now operational across East and South Cambridgeshire, with more set to open before the end of the year. You can find out more about this essential programme on the Cambridgeshire ACRE website or on the brand new Facebook page.


Do any of these statements ring true for you?

* I want to set out a clear vision for my project, but how do I bring together the opinions of so many different stakeholders?

* Do I still understand my audience well enough to create a new marketing strategy or campaign? Or is it time to revisit this?

* I know I need to benchmark my current marketing position before setting a new growth path for my business. Where do I begin?

In our view, there’s a simple solution that’s often overlooked.

An independently facilitated workshop.

We’ve seen time and time again in our work that a structured, interactive conversation can be the very best way to craft new marketing strategy or community engagement campaigns.

Keystone’s deep experience of community engagement projects and marketing strategy techniques, as well as first-hand knowledge of running successful marketing and PR campaigns, makes us a popular choice for workshop facilitation.

How can a simple marketing workshop deliver so much?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a workshop as “a meeting at which a group of people engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project”. The word that really stands out is ‘intensive’; that is – giving time and energy to focus on something important without any outside distractions.

Our workshops build understanding and engagement from all stakeholders – with discussions designed to benchmark current position, identify key messaging, review opportunities and challenges, and to define successful outcomes. When everyone involved with a project or a business is encouraged to intensely focus on a subject for a prescribed period of time – and encouraged to have a voice and share opinions, you would be amazed by the intensity of the conversations and the insights that can come.

We always find that asking people for their views, talking in a safe, neutral environment, creates a sense of buy in and empowerment. Areas of concern, inconsistency or confusion become apparent within a positive environment – and equally, areas of strength and commitment are quickly highlighted and built upon.

Who benefits from the Keystone workshop approach?

In most cases, a workshop is the very first place we start with clients that ask for our help.

We’ve orchestrated workshops for multiple sectors and audiences; and built highly effective strategies as a result. We might be working with a Council department or a not for profit team that wants to embark on a community engagement campaign, or the founder of a commercial organisation who is newly committed to elevating marketing activity to accelerate their growth.

Many businesses, finding themselves at a bit of a crossroads in terms of where to focus their marketing efforts, choose our marketing workshops. With our facilitation, these bespoke and focused sessions look to help build a marketing strategy. It’s also often the starting point advised by us when asked to lead large scale community engagement projects. We always suggest a project team takes time out together at the very beginning to define messaging and identify the most effective communication routes before actually getting started.

What happens in a Keystone workshop?

Each workshop is 100% tailored – working to build discussion topics that are most relevant to the position or the objectives set at during our first scoping call. We create conversations that will elicit key insights; drawing out views and insights of each participant to help build the all-important picture for a future strategy or campaign.

In a Keystone workshop, you can be assured that we’ll:

  1. Extract facts and information
  2. Distil views
  3. Clarify ideas
  4. Deliver brand new thinking

Discussion points often centre upon:

  1. Audiences – categorising and understanding your customers and prospects
  2. Challenges and opportunities – starting with a look at a current position, before moving on to greater sector themes, challenges and needs
  3. Messaging – identifying the most effective themes and messaging frameworks for the audiences you want to engage, and a look at mission, vision and values too
  4. Stakeholders and competitors – understanding their makeup and establishing their position in the market
  5. Promotional channels – those you use and those you don’t

And through all this, we’re listening. We don’t just facilitate a workshop, but we highlight actionable next steps too. Applying our deep experience of community engagement projects and marketing strategy techniques, we offer observations and recommendations to take forward in a detailed post-workshop report.

How long does a workshop last?

Our workshops are usually designed as half day sessions, and can run with just one single participant through to multiple teams. They can be delivered face to face, or remotely, and may be split over two sessions to enable time for reflection and gathering information.

What happens after a workshop?

The workshop delivered by Keystone is followed up with a formal written report that documents each discussion and shares expert observations and actionable recommendations to fuel future marketing activity. The report, in effect, creates a roadmap: a truly one stop document that assesses a current situation and starts to develop a framework for action.

If you’re sold on the idea of a marketing workshop with Keystone, just get in touch to have a chat about how we could help you. Each workshop we deliver is bespoke; meaning that discussion topics and activities are fully customised for the organisation or team we’re working with.

>> Want an example of the Keystone workshop impact? The power of a workshop was certainly evident for Love Wisbech. This cross-community programme was designed to bring positive change to the Cambridgeshire town and the people that live there. Our bespoke workshop session brought together multiple stakeholders from the county, district and town councils and from local charities to establish one clear voice for the programme. Here’s how our approach helped.