In an earlier article I took a trip down memory lane recounting Propeller's almost 10 year partnership with RedFest. Today I'm going to look more specifically at how Propeller took RedFest's marketing and communications to the next level in 2017!
To provide a quick background - we've been involved with RedFest both as a supplier and sponsor since 2008, mostly working on the website and some print materials such as programs, flyers and posters. In 2017 we were invited by the new RedFest Committee to join their meetings in an advisory role in order to push the festival's marketing and communications forward. Additionally Propeller took over all of RedFest's marketing, social media and public relations for 2017, taking pressure off the administration staff and Committee and bringing some long-overdue consistency and consolidation to the marketing effort.
I didn't know you did that?
Many of our clients and readers are maybe a little confused at this stage. I imagine more than a few of you are thinking - I didn't know they did that kind of stuff? Well, thats an easy assumption to make as for the last decade or so, Propeller have been almost entirely focused on graphic and web design and this is the space we are best known for - but, thats only part of our story…
Prior to bringing Propeller to Queensland in 2004, both Renee and I worked in very different roles. Renee's background prior to graphic design was in the UK public relations sphere as part of the early Cool Blue team working for companies such as Barker & Stonehouse, ICI, CVO Fire, Amdega, Pagan & McQuade, and Richard Branson's Aldwark Manor, along with various local events, councils and community organisations. With a prior background mainly in sales, I arrived in Australia in 2000 to head up the local and Asian distribution, sales and marketing of German interior products giant HDM, working with Mitre 10, National Tiles, Carpet Court, Floorworld and Carpet One in addition to hundreds of independent stores.
When we formed Propeller however, we flowed with the direction of our clients needs and over time focussed more on design and digital. Times have changed though and in 2017 the tide is pulling us in an old but familiar direction and at the start of 2017, having just launched their new website, we started working with long-time client Vocal Manoeuvres on their entire digital strategy (to be the subject of another upcoming case study) and then, to the subject at hand, RedFest came calling. In June, based on years of experience handling clients digital and design strategies and realising the need for a more globally-focused service, we let the cat out of the bag and launched Marketing Mojo.
What did we do for RedFest?
What we had identified from years of working with RedFest - a non-profit community organisation with a fully-volunteer Committee, is that, although there are long-time stalwarts involved, Committee members do change each year and, amongst their already heavy workload of actually running the festival, most dont have the time to work on marketing. The administration side of RedFest was also terribly over-burdened with the marketing. The end result was that there was very little in terms of content produced for us to work with and promote. Secondly there was a distinct air-gap between ourselves and the Committee's press and marketing efforts resulting in a lack of consistency, little strategy applied and the development of links and contacts with the media was weak. Given that we were already handling the RedFest website and most materials would land on our desk anyway, it made no sense to have this disconnect continue.
So we proposed that this year we simply take over. All of it. RedFest were enthusiastic to say the least…
From April on, Propeller took control of writing all copy, media releases, social media, general liaison with press and communications. In the runup to the festival Propeller produced the following:
- 69 program entries into 106 time slots, resizing, processing and uploading hundreds of images, copy and social media details to give each and every act the best chance of being seen.
- We wrote copy for, sourced images, produced and posted over 20 news articles all of which were subsequently posted to social media and included in 7 e-newsletters spread over the weeks prior to the festival and throughout the festival weekend.
- Press releases were written and sent to numerous media outlets and listings publications resulting in coverage on Channel 7, radio stations: 96.5, 97.3, Triple M, Bay Fm, the Redland City Bulletin, the Courier Mail, and ABC Radio Brisbane.
- Volunteer call-up posters and the 'Team Strawberry' character and shirts resulted in a massive increase in volunteer applications and a great look and atmosphere on-site.
- Two separate programs, a full A4 brochure-style program and a handy DL flyer for distribution at the gates.
- Posters which were distributed to schools, cafes, bars, shopping centres and restaurants.
- Advertisements for local press coverage, electronic billboards, digital posters for Stocklands Shopping Centres, and roadside signage.
- Themed corflute signage for all venues and most importantly, the bar and 'Teas Me' menus!
- Festival Map.
- Ruby Strawberry colouring sheets for the kids.
Propeller attended pop-up showcases at local shopping centres - even standing in as strawberries…
Propeller's own Renee Buckley and conscript Lauren Haines in their Ruby strawberry outfits pose with RedFest's resident sound expert 'Admiral' Lee Nelson at Cleveland's Stockland shopping center pop-up
During the weekend of the show Propeller met with and talked to dozens of vendors, staff and volunteers; taking over 450 photos, taking video and promoting key features, venues, acts and activities to social media throughout. Over 3 days, we posted over 70 updates to both Facebook and Twitter including taking and posting video during headline acts, along with 360’ panoramic photos and galleries.
We collated post-festival feedback - both from email and website surveys, Facebook reviews and Twitter. All feedback was documented, collated and a report presented to the Committee along with our recommendations and suggestions for next years' Festival.
So, how did it go?
When it comes to festivals the numbers do the talking.
Starting with the web traffic, RedFest's website experienced an increase in traffic of over 22.5% over 2016, topping out at 75,731 pageviews in the runup to the festival and over 55,000 pageviews over the 3 days of the festival itself, an increase of over 40% from 2016. Most of this traffic was derived from social media and organic search.
RedFest's Facebook page reached over 47,900 people, and had 24,500+ post engagements. In the words of one commenter -
"marketing was on point, especially the constant FB updates"
In terms of how this translated to actual numbers through the gates, again the numbers tell the story.
Total attendance in 2016 was 13839. In 2017 this increased to over 18,000.
Now, lets be clear - we're not taking all the credit here. 2017 saw a few changes in the philosophy for RedFest due in no small part to the incoming President, Luke Kinman opting to take a risk on acts appealing to the younger demographic like Justice Crew, and was instrumental in improved coverage and involvement by Channel 7, but, we certainly helped get the message out there - and had a great time doing it. We're already working hard towards 2018 - RedFest's 60th year and will we have a show for you!
That's Amazing. What can you do for us?
Propeller are already working more closely on general communications and marketing with a few other select clients and we'll be talking about them in due course but we're ready and waiting to help you too. If you're looking for experienced, committed partners to get involved with you and your business for the long-term, look no further. We work with businesses and organisations big and small so lets get together and find out what we can achieve.