The Client: Huntingdonshire District Council
Huntingdonshire is a thriving district of Cambridgeshire and a historical county of England. Today, the beautiful market towns of St Neots, St Ives, Ramsey and Huntingdon are busy and welcoming hubs of the local economy. However, this vibrancy was in short supply after a series of national lockdowns in 2020-2021.
The Challenge: Supporting and rebuilding a local economy by enticing residents and visitors back to town centres and green spaces
Huntingdon District Council (HDC) was keen to encourage residents and visitors to return to the places and spaces of Huntingdonshire and to be reassured that they can shop and socialise safely.
The challenge was to curate content to promote the uniqueness of the district – such as the abundance of green spaces near to traditional market town centres – and highlight opportunities to discover new places and spaces across the area. Drawing in visitors from outside the area for day trips, evening get-togethers and weekend adventures was also a goal, as part of a wider tourism drive.
The first challenge was to design a campaign that would work across the four towns each with its own distinct character, as well as the surrounding countryside.
The second was to identify the right channels to reach the desired audience of local people. The five month campaign ran between August – December 2021.
The Solution: A captivating visual identity and targeted use of social media
Strong, easily recognisable visual identity
Using the banner heading ‘What will you find in Huntingdonshire?’ the Keystone team designed a compelling visual identity incorporating images of people enjoying themselves in instantly recognisable local places and drone footage to display the natural local beauty. Through clever use of the words ‘in’, ‘do’ and ‘on’ found within the word HuntINgDONshire, creative copy further enhanced the branding.
Clear, Relevant Engagement
Research proved Keystone’s initial belief that Facebook and Instagram social media were the correct channels to reach the greatest number of residents and visitors. All campaign posts were posted using the hashtag #InHuntingdonshire to ensure that they were easily found and were recognisable.
Local people responded particularly well to the consistent content layout and in particular engaged with the ‘What’s on this weekend?’ posts, the short montage videos and competitions. Two competitions were run over the campaign – a photography competition entitled ‘Capture what Captures you’ and a festive ‘Guess the door’ competition.
A strategic partnership was formed with Star Radio to boost the reach of the campaign to listeners across Cambridgeshire and North West Essex.
By continually monitoring the reaction to posts, Keystone was able to evolve the campaign content to ensure optimum engagement.
Successful social media campaign – Over the five-month period, Keystone published 145 posts on the District Council’s social channels. With original content further boosted by 203 shares and use of the campaign #InHuntingdonshire by local businesses, the overall campaign gained nearly 160,000 impressions.
The top posts achieved an engagement rate of 12.5% – far higher than the pre-campaign average 3% rate.
Campaign performance summary
- 145 posts delivered:
- 1,131 likes/reactions
- 158 000 impressions
- 262 comments
- nearly 4000 video views
Supporting the in-house communications team
Like many district councils, the internal comms team at HDC has a wide remit, with multiple messages to deliver to a wide range of audiences. One of our primary goals was to ensure that this campaign seamlessly fitted with a broad range of other messages.
Equally important was supporting the project team who delivered a number of in-person events, funded by the project. We quickly established that a weekly check-in call to share insights and agree on upcoming focuses was the best way to keep on track. Through this close working relationship, we gave HDC the confidence to let us lead with the messages that we felt would deliver the best results, whilst closely supporting other facets of the campaign led by the internal project team.
Building on our earlier campaign partnerships, we were pleased to work once again with the Keystone Team. Their energy, enthusiasm, and flair for community engagement provided a much-needed impetus behind our visitor economy campaign, ensuring we spread our key messages far and wide.
Using their vast comms experience, extensive local knowledge and valuable networks, Keystone built a campaign that was fresh, fun and engaging, using new ways of working to reach newer and bigger audiences.
Amidst the backdrop of the ongoing COVID challenge, we hugely valued their responsiveness and proactivity throughout the campaign. Their clear vision and understanding of the project ensured that they hit the ground running and delivered consistently and effectively throughout the campaign.’
Nykki Rogers, Economic Development Manager, Huntingdonshire District Council
We knew that it had been challenging for residents and businesses across the area, and as we moved into a period of recovery, we wanted a campaign to champion Huntingdonshire, reconnect the people who live here with the places on their doorstep, and introduce visitors from further afield to the district’s hidden gems. We were confident that there is lots to do and discover across Huntingdonshire and couldn’t wait to showcase it whilst supporting the rebuilding of our local economy.
Executive Leader of the Council, Councillor Ryan Fuller
The Keystone impact
- Delivered an engaging, robust campaign that resonated with the local residents
- Generated a ‘must view’ channel for locals who were planning leisure activities over the period
- Delivered a easily recognisable social media format and hashtag that enhanced engagement
- Regular reviews ensured that the campaign was flexed to suit a changing situation and stakeholders remained fully engaged throughout.