The expansion of a local grant scheme into Edinburgh marked an important milestone for CALA Homes – yet it represented the third year of PR activity for the housebuilder’s “bursary” project.
It had already enjoyed two years of success in nearby East Lothian and had undergone a highly-successful launch the previous year in the neighbouring county of Midlothian.
The PR challenge was to take a laudable but no longer novel project and inject it with life that would help it cut through in Scotland’s capital city – while exceeding previous successes in the other areas.
As well as media fatigue, another major challenge was to reach good causes, community groups and charities, persuading them that the bursary scheme was an achievable and worthwhile funding source to apply for.
All of this was to be achieved with the new Edinburgh project being delivered concurrently with the two existing schemes.
The growth of the bursary scheme in all of CALA’s regions across the UK had underlined how vital it was to partner with local media to achieve success.
So the key objective was to renew previous partnerships with the local newspapers in East Lothian and Midlothian, while convincing the Edinburgh Evening News to partner in the city.
It was also agreed the campaign focus should be to highlight the impact of the scheme on previous successful applicants, building the reach, credibility and potentially life-changing benefits delivered by the bursary.
Beyond traditional media coverage, we also pledged to deliver social media activity that would augment and amplify the reach – while committing to delivering at least 200 unique page views on each area’s bursary landing page.
Most importantly of all, the brief was to launch the Edinburgh scheme, without sacrificing momentum in East Lothian or Midlothian and to attract record numbers of applicants in each area.
What we did
Multi-use content – pics, video, graphics – was created , to support core media relations work, with digital activity threaded throughout. Our timeline set a clear bursary calendar:
Round 1: Launch: Announcing scheme with media partners
Round 2: Tell Your Friends: Urging people to advise potential applicants, with case studies of previous beneficiaries
Round 3: Early success: Coverage on the successful uptake four weeks after launch
Round 4: Final reminder: With a week until cut-off deadline
Round 5: Digital last chance: Facebook ads targeted at key postcodes, with case study video
Round 6: Panel D-Day: Each attended by respective editors and PR staff
Round 7: Announcement: in each region on the winners with a case study and images
We also conceived and delivered dedicated events in each bursary area bringing together the grant recipients to meet each other and to meet the CALA team. These proved extremely popular and also let us to gather extensive story lines, quotes and to arrange photography/video for future activity.
Results we delivered
What we did
“Holyrood PR built on CALA’s engagement with the community, Edinburgh City Council and key stakeholders to deliver strong and regular third-party quotes.
“Among many highlights, the proactive media campaign even drew out support from the Lord Provost, who tweeted a photo of an article urging his support in a tweet – an incredible outcome.
“In addition all coverage was positive, putting CALA in a strong public position.”