For some time, the Town Clerk at St Neots Town Council had been keen to bring an awards programme to the town. Having seen the impact of such initiatives in other areas, he was confident that such an event in St Neots would be popular and generate an abundance of worthwhile entries. After working with Keystone on the St Neots Neighbourhood Plan campaign the Council saw first-hand how community engagement could be heightened with a dedicated campaign approach. The positive response to the campaign, and the high level of interest and support gained, showed genuine commitment to the town from local residents and businesses.
St Neots Town Council shared their awards dream with Keystone and asked us to develop a programme to recognise the successes of individuals and community groups, highlight local sporting excellence and showcase business excellence within the town.
The St Neots Community and Business Awards was born in 2015 and ran for three years with our support. Our understanding of awards programmes and community engagement saw us develop twelve unique award categories for the Council, designed to appeal to individuals, community groups and businesses.
To be successful, it was essential that the awards programme became known across all corners of the town. We worked to identify all the key outreach opportunities through St Neots places and people, and created a strong brand identity to cascade news of the event and encourage involvement.
A striking brand identity bound all the award communications together, including a dedicated website and a range of hardcopy and online marketing materials and graphics. Event support also came from a number of community groups and local businesses; thanks to our stakeholder outreach programme and related sponsorship package options.
Our marketing campaign and call for nominations was dovetailed with work to identify judges to shortlist and pick a winner. We also used our event management expertise at the award ceremony itself – sourcing a host, writing all scripts, liaising with sponsors and other guests, as well as organising on the night photography and live social media promotions.
In 2017, the programme was turned on its head; with the St Neots community given the opportunity to vote for their winner from each category once nominations closed. This method of picking winners enabled the community to be fully involved with awards; acknowledging and rewarding the work and achievements of those around them. Keystone managed the digital engagement element of the campaign on social media and in email communications.
We are very proud here of the impact achieved in the awards promotional activity and community engagement over the three years of the programme. It was an absolute pleasure to play a part in celebrating the very best of the local community and businesses in St Neots.
The Keystone impact
- Development of full awards initiative – creating the framework, designing a strong brand identity and leading community engagement activity that packed a punch
- Securing awards income thanks to Keystone’s stakeholder outreach campaign and associated commercial packages
- Full event management for evening awards event for 100+ guests
- Closely working with journalists and community groups to secure high level of PR activity promoting and demonstrating the success of local residents and businesses