Save the Highstreet Campaign

  • Kathy Kyle
  • Bart Frank

My team was engaged to raise the profile of a small, charming market town in the Surrey Hills. Our original brief was to build a website by Dorking's Business Improvement District (BID). I recommended the development of an integrated branding programme composed of a digital platform, brand ambassador programme, short films, and website to support the BID's efforts. I collaborated with my creative partner, Objekt Films, to develop a series of short films to entice visitors to 'Escape to Dorking' and Save the Highstreet. In 2019, a year into our engagement with the Dorking Town Partnership, Dorking was recognised by the Telegraph as one of Britain’s top five highstreets. That was a result. Our integrated branding programme was shortlisted for a Campaign Live DCM 'Marketing for Good' award in September 2019.

Here's how we raised the profile of a quintessential market town by implementing an innovative multi-channel communications strategy, launching a new website, and producing promotional videos.

Towns across the UK are faced with increasing challenges due to rising costs from rent, business rates, and the uncertainty of Brexit. Dorking is not immune to these factors but it is a forward-thinking, innovative town and is taking steps to address the issue, to include engaging in a comprehensive digital programme. Dorking is a unique market town that boasts exceptional natural beauty, eclectic and authentic shops and restaurants, whilst being an easy commute to London.

My team (myself, web developer and copywriter) was engaged to increase in brand awareness, community spirit, and footfall in Dorking. We implemented a year-long online and offline campaign, redesigned and launched the Business Improvement District (BID) website, and trained Dorking businesses on how to promote their own brands and execute digital campaigns. We also produced and launched four promotional videos with our partner that generated over 100K views and 20K engagements.

Our success is evidenced via an increase in visitors at events; digital engagement, reach and shares; earned media and social media coverage; customer-generated content; and support from Dorking businesses.

We designed every element of the Dorking BID website and thought carefully about the look and feel. We hand-painted assets as a nod to the local artisans of Dorking. Our bespoke, responsive destination website also included promotional videos which we developed with our creative partner.

We customised Dorking’s site to include a variety of customer-focused features, like our weekly blog, events, LoyalFree App, and customised weather and parking APIs.

We helped to drive economic investment in Dorking. At least 10 new shops opened since Amplia Group was engaged on this project. We consistently increased engagement and positive sentiment across all social media channels every month for a year. Our social media activity and blogs drove traffic to the website and to the town. This was reflected in footfall counters, attendance at major town events, social media analytics, and in Google Analytics. And we helped to generate coverage in tier one media outlets (Sunday Times Travel, Condé Nast, and local media) and in the Telegraph and multiple automotive-related media outlets.

We created multichannel campaigns that included print, blogs, videos, and events - that supported our client’s efforts and aligned to our editorial calendar. We helped to increase online engagement and sentiment by creating a fresh new social media presence for the BID.

We rebranded their Twitter account and launched two additional social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram. We also created and wrote a ‘TravelThursday’ blog and recruited local businesses to compose guest posts. We complemented our efforts with campaign-based Mailchimp email updates, print, and video.

We focused on curating content by engaging our online community to submit images, publish guest posts, and generate authentic reviews.

We brought a fresh, different, and unique approach to reboot the town’s brand and communications.

Our social media efforts increased event attendance by the thousands (8,000+ at two separate events). Our promotional efforts were also credited by the BID manager with drawing crowds to a newly-launched Artisan Sunday market offering. Social media analytics also indicate strong public support for @HelloDorking’s role in promoting events.

Our mainly organic campaigns consistently increased engagement, reach, and positive sentiment every single month. When we did boost our posts, we generated over 60,000 views of our first video and 40,000 views of our subsequent videos.

The Dorking BID was shortlisted for a ACTM place management award for 2019. In 2018 it received a Great British High Street special mention.

Amplia Group was shortlisted for Campaign Live’s ‘Marketing Campaign for Good’ Digital Cinema Media Award 2019 and won Best work by an Agency in 2019.