Draft Promotions Plan/Discussion Document
1. This draft plan anticipates an intensive period of promotional activity during the first two years of Clonakilty LETS after which, if we’re successful (50+ members?), the level of promotional work needed should begin to taper off.
Before finalising any copy for brochures or publicity material or rolling out any promotional activity it will be important to agree as much as possible the Clon LETS operating ethos, constitution and administrative rules (next meeting, 23rd January). This will help ensure that no information or publicity is put out that is inconsistent with the way the scheme is intended to work or would cause us to want to revise things we’d already printed or published.
Promote in haste, repent at leisure!
What follows below reflects the best understanding I have at this point of how we would like the scheme to be presented - any/all criticisms will be very welcome.
2. While we will have core promotions activity for reaching everyone, the plan is built around seven groups (or ‘publics’ in PR jargon) that I suggest we additionally need to have individualised plans for. This need not be as labour-intensive as it might suggest – in some cases perhaps a couple of additional activities tailored to the perspective/interests of the group in question. The objective is to maximise the appeal of the scheme to as wide an audience as possible.
1. Individual Members
2. Voluntary/Charity Groups
3. Sympathetic Businesses/Traders (if any)
4. Sympathetic Political Reps/Public Administrators (if any)
5. Potential Professional ‘Awareness Raisers’/Supporters
GPs/Social Workers/School Principals/Welfare Officers/Solicitors/Others?
7. Other LETS Groups
3. Timing – the plan is also divided into short (6-12 months) medium (12-24 months) and long term (24 months +) promotional objectives. While the committee is small it will be difficult for us convincingly to promote effectively to all our ‘target’ groups at once and in any case it would be better to approach some of them once we are better established and have a more substantial presence and track record. But it’s good to have them all in mind from the outset, nevertheless. Chance events may mean we end up doing things in a different order because good opportunities present themselves or whatever, so we’ll try to have some degree of readiness for all these groups from the outset.
4. Promotional Strategies
Methods we can use to promote/maintain the scheme
Brochures, ‘business’ cards, posters, flyers
Database of all relevant contacts, indexed for specific group selections (easy to do if we start to build it early – and potentially very valuable in the long term)
Social Media (twitter, Facebook Page)
‘Customer Service’ (Monitoring members experience CLETS/responding to same)
Extreme Makeover Clonakilty LETS Edition/Hit Squad
Free Bag Packing at Supermarket check-outs – i.e. no collection buckets
B. Short Term Promotional Plan: 6-12 Months
The scheme needs a decent number of committed, active individual members to begin with, as a first priority. Twould be best not to draw too much attention to ourselves among the other groups whose support is likely to depend on us being able to demonstrate a substantial scheme with a reasonably well-established track record. Paradoxically, however, we also need ‘referrals’ from those other groups to help us build our base. There’s a limit to the amount of time I/we can give, so suggest we need to take the work on in bite sized pieces. This plan therefore focuses primarily on the short term - i.e. when we all feel we’re ready to take on more in our respective roles, we can move to the next stage. Outline plans only for the medium and long-term are suggested – to review and quantify further as we go along. There’s no point in being too specific about those at this stage, we’re likely to change our minds about lots of things meanwhile.
So, I’m suggesting as direct an approach as possible to recruiting individuals in the first instance, backed up with a ‘softer’, awareness-raising approach to the other groups.
Assuming constitution/rules/admin processes are agreed – first priority will then be to:
Research the level/type of interest/demographic makeup of the area/unemployment levels
Finish website and maximise search engine optimisation possibilities
Newsletter – Online/Newsletter Blog
Alert other LETS schemes to our imminent/actual arrival on the scene
(The above can be ongoing over period up to our launch event – and after where needed)
Emphasis on labour exchange in the first instance (without refusing or discouraging goods exchange)
2. Invite people we believe would be supportive to an interim meeting to put forward our plan and to ‘recruit’ them as early ambassadors for the scheme. Need to be well prepared for this meeting to make a good impact and to make a good presentation. Invite attendees to participate in ‘Hit Squad’ project.
3. Initial Extreme Makeover/Hit Squad project
To be identified. (Might be better to do this after our first properly open public meeting?)
Public Meeting – advertised via poster, local newspaper etc – preliminary membership recruitment/awareness raising exercise. Need to have website, leaflets, posters ready for this.
1 Week Pre-Launch:
Radio coverage if possible
Press coverage (Southern Star, West Cork People, Examiner regional, Echo same)
Online articles on national and regional news sites
Clonakilty Market Stall
Rather than have a single, formal ‘announcement’ event with the customary speech-making top table and six attendees, suggest a group of people spend one/two days going all over town wearing Clon LETS T-shirts, cheerily dressed (balloons tied to selves etc.) handing out small, cheap and cheerful leaflets (cartoons by Bev C) door-to-door – chatting to people and generally making a splash. For our purposes, this sort of approach is likely to generate far more valuable word-of-mouth chat about us in my humble opinion. Media interest in something like this could also be higher than the usual launch format. We could begin with a small public meeting in
on the day with a cheery megaphone/PA address (invite reporters and others) – and set off about the town. Children could be involved, if parents approve etc. (Perhaps have a free cake and coffee stall there for the morning and a ‘celebrity’ to wish us well?)
Identify and personally visit by appointment key individuals in the town (around the period of our launch event) who we believe would be supportive - to explain our purpose/secure commitment from them to recommend the scheme.
Have reliable mechanism for taking details of interested people and follow up asap after the event. Within two weeks maximum. This is vital. If we don’t make follow up a priority, all will have been in vain.
Review all of the above activity within maximum of four weeks of the launch.
Rest of Year:
Other Hit Squad projects (3 a year?)
Ongoing regular leafleting
‘Customer Service’/Membership management and encouragement
Regular newsletter updates to website
Regular articles on online news sites
Twitter Account updates
Facebook Page updates
Develop media contacts locally/nationally
Medium Term Promotional Plan 12-24 months
Ongoing Hit Squad Activity – (3 a year)
Market Stall – once a month
More door-to-door leafleting – target a specific area once a month
Ongoing Advertising WCP/Clonakilty Notes – once a month?
Monthly meetings for members and committee
Promote/develop goods exchanges among members and at committee meetings
Develop links with other LETS groups – national and international
Invite speakers/speak to other groups ourselves
Develop relationship with voluntary groups and agencies IF the scheme has built up reasonable membership and activity. (These groups will be professionally sensitive to approaches from random groups, suggest we need a reasonably established ‘professional’ reputation before extending offers to them.) Prepare detailed promotional plan for same.
Start to ‘warm’ professional and business contacts via direct mail and targeted personal visits.
Long Term Promotional Plan – 24 months +
Continue all of the above as necessary (according to regular reports from Promotions Organiser and review of activity by committee members)
Develop professional and business contacts IF successful and confident of established reputation. Detailed, targeted plan for same if deemed appropriate.
*See printer about possibility of acquiring and old printing press or colour photocopier/running costs etc
*Do we need to be registered as some sort of voluntary group?
*Separate Clonakilty LETS NewsBlog?
*Think about requirements/likely interest of different individual LETS members: eg unemployed, small business, school leavers, students, single parents, allotment growers, home owners, tenants so all promotional copy reflects identified need/interest.
*I’ll try to bring draft brochures etc to our meeting on the 23rd January for comment/discussion