LWAP Marketing & Branding Sub Group
“Aiming High in Lower Wensleydale”
Project Achievements July 2013
Through the Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership, a Branding & Promotions Subgroup was formed to deliver economic and tourism projects within the area in response to the recommendations of the Miller Research reports for Leyburn and Middleham. In 2010/11 the group raised £19,000 through various sources including Richmondshire District Council, Leyburn Town Council, Middleham Town Council, the Food & Drink Festival, the Wensleydale Agricultural Society, the Mid Wensleydale Community Partnership and the Leyburn and Mid-Wensleydale Business Association. A bid was submitted to the Dales LEADER programme in 2010 which was successful and the group secured an additional £76,000 to support their three year project. The project lead is the Leyburn and Mid-Wensleydale Business Association who are supported by Richmondshire District Council as the accountable body.
The Project Steering Group
The project group meets every month and is well attended by representatives from a variety of organisations including Richmondshire District Council, Leyburn Town Council, Middleham Town Council, Leyburn and Mid-Wensleydale Business Association and the Richmondshire Council for Voluntary Service. The group are responsible for all decisions affecting the outcome of the project for example itemised expenditure and monitoring the work of the Community Liaison Worker in line with the original project objectives and outcomes. Most members work in a voluntary capacity, bringing different levels of expertise such as; experience of increasing economic benefits, knowledge of local businesses and local communities and how to use websites and social media to promote awareness.
Community Liaison Worker
The Branding & Promotions Sub Group felt from the early stages that in order to deliver the objectives, a Community Liaison Worker would be needed to become the face of the project, liaise with the community and businesses, co-ordinate the development of the website and all other associated promotional activity such as attending events to represent the project. In September 2011, Colin Bailey was appointed as the project’s freelance Community Liaison Worker and began working with the group to develop a recognisable brand for the area. The post is due to come to an end in November 2013.
Developing a recognisable Lower Wensleydale ‘brand’
It was recognised by the group that there was a need for the area to have a brand identity which could be consistently used online, in printed materials, shop window displays and available to all businesses and community organisations as a cost effective means of reaching as wide an audience as possible. This would provide a more co-ordinated approach to the project allowing locals and visitors alike the ability to recognise one consistent brand and identify the various project outcomes, thus raising the profile of the Lower Wensleydale area. Over 50 members of the local community and businesses alike took part in consultation events as part of the design process.
A number of branded items have been produced including car-window stickers, pencils, pens, note pads etc. which are available from local businesses, information points and handed out at festivals and events to promote the brand and website.
Before the project began, the area lacked a dedicated website for Lower Wensleydale that was fit for purpose in today’s competitive online arena. A new site was launched and continues to be developed to cater for the many different interest groups that could be attracted to visit and stay in the locality as well as providing a growing community information portal. There are around forty towns and villages supported with dedicated pages on the website and where possible these link to other community sites of interest. The project supported the initial hosting and maintenance. The content management is the responsibility of the Community Liaison Worker supported by locally based web design company Purple Creative Services.
The website, www.lower-wensleydale.com, features an events module which allows local community interest and voluntary groups to upload their information about upcoming events in the
area and is soon to host the popular Wensleydale Challenge and interviews in the successful ‘Live like a local’ series. The Lower Wensleydale project also has a dedicated Facebook and Twitter page which is regularly updated by project volunteer Simon Eastwood. Since it’s launch there have been 8,566 visitors to the website viewing a staggering 43,000 pages (June 2013).
The site’s success is down to the contribution made by volunteers who keep the dedicated pages on the site fresh and up to date. Volunteers range from young budding web designers and journalists to individuals and interest groups who are passionate about their village or chosen subject. A number of professionals also provide their expertise and time as a way of giving back to the local community. Several training sessions have been made available to support computing, content management, community reporting, image editing and marketing skills for volunteers.
Promoting Lower Wensleydale
The group regularly represent at local and out of area events, to promote the work of the project including any promotional publications, the website and to also raise awareness of the Lower - Wensleydale area. Over the past three years, the group have had a presence at events such as:
- The Wensleydale Show
- The Reeth Agricultural Show
- The Food & Drink Festival/Dales Festival of Art
- The Dales Business Conference
- Middleham Stables Open Day
- The Leyburn 1940’s weekend
- Welcome to Yorkshire Leaflet exchange
Through representation at the local events, the group are also able to promote the benefits to local businesses of becoming a member of the Leyburn and Mid-Wensleydale Business Association. A dedicated business information pack has been produced to enable businesses to engage and benefit from elements of the project. This might be supplying images, interviews, participating in the Wensleydale Challenge or promoting their business in the accommodation, food and drink or services section of the directory. A team of business mentors continue to provide their time voluntarily to visit businesses and raise the profile of the project.
Promotional materials & Publications
A popular A5 flier is produced annually to promote the main key events in the area. This publication will be once again produced for 2014 and circulated to Tourist Information points with in a two hour journey time of the area.
Leyburn Town Leaflet
In 2013 the Leyburn Town Leaflet was developed through the project - a new destination leaflet promoting the area and range of activities and services on offer. 80,000 copies have been printed, sufficient for distribution to the network of visitor information centres and to be made available for all businesses to send out with enquiries over the next three year period. The distribution of this leaflet is ongoing and all local accommodation providers will receive a copy, if they haven’t already.
Live Like a Local – An insider’s guide to Wensleydale.
The group produced the publication ‘Live like a local – An insiders guide to Wensleydale.’ in 2012 - a community and visitor information booklet which celebrates all aspects of community life and promotes community facilities, local services, attractions, festivals and events. This proved very popular and gave a fantastic insight into local life as a farmer, businessman and resident in Lower Wensleydale. Over 70 individuals and businesses attended our celebration launch event. Booklets have been sent as an alternative Christmas Card by businesses. Some of the photographs and quotes are enlarged for display on the promotional stand and it continues to be a real talking point among local residents and visitors alike. Following the success of the printed publication, tear-proof copies are available to place in information points and guest rooms. A further series of interviews will be featured on the website.
Middleham Town Trail
The popular Middleham Town Trail leaflet will be refreshed to further enhance the promotion of the heritage offer in the Town and surrounding area. Copies will be available from Middleham Key Centre.
2013 project priorities
In the remainder of 2013, the group will be focusing on supporting the Richard III festival in Middleham, Events Flier 2014, Tour de France preparations, Capture Wensleydale - the Lower Wensleydale photography competition, the Wensleydale Challenge, the promotion of the Dales Business Directory, encouraging businesses to join the Business Association and the continued support and development of the Lower Wensleydale website.
The Branding & Promotions Subgroup have prepared the Project Business Action Plan 2013-2016 setting out how the project can operate in the future. The main focus will be to build on the success achieved to date through on-going development of the area website and resourcing the continuation of the Community Liaison Worker role to support this activity. Thought is currently being given to seek funding support from a variety of sources to sustain the project over the forthcoming years, it is hoped the Business Action Plan will provide a good platform to showcase the work the project has already achieved and what other activity could be accomplished with the funding support required. The group would also like to see new volunteers get involved in the project moving forward.
The Lower Wensleydale Area Partnership and members of The Branding & Promotion Subgroup would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the delivery of the project thus far and wish everyone continued success over the coming years.