Create has won the esteemed Charity Times “PR Team of the Year” award and reached the shortlist for the prestigious “Charity of the Year” award (in its categories).
Our winning citation read:
“A well-executed and carefully measured campaign demonstrating both accountability and attention to detail. Well done Create.”
A strategic approach to Communications
As we approached Create’s 10th anniversary year in 2013, we recognised that we were not getting public recognition for our award-winning work with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and adults. So we recruited to a PR Council a group of experts who were passionate about our work and willing to give us their time and PR expertise. We realigned our in-house “marketing” function to “communications” and appointed a Communications Assistant to support our Communications Manager. We secured a £35,000 rebrand package from BrandPie, which gave us a striking new visual identity. And film maker Jo Gewirtz gave her time and skill to produce a video showcasing our work. In focusing our strategy, the PR Council set out seven key priorities:
- raise awareness of Create
- create profile opportunities for the CEO
- educate the public about the challenges faced by our participant groups
- demonstrate the need for and benefits of creative arts engagement with vulnerable participants
- showcase our participants’ achievements
- implement our new brand identity
- increase donations
Media and social media coverage have seen an impressive increase:
- High quality media coverage increased by 250% in 2014/15, with significant levels of national exposure for the first time. Key pieces included broadcasts on BBC East Midlands Today, BBC London, BBC Radio Essex, Channel 4, ITV and Sky News; and features in print/online including: The Independent on Sunday magazine (four-page front cover feature); The Guardian Online; and Huffington Post. This reflects the increased profile of Create and the CEO as influential contributors.
- Twitter interaction increased by 694% with average retweet reach up from 17,000 to 135,000 pw.
Our award application explained our key purpose:
“The people that Create works with often go unheard, yet we feel that their remarkable stories and achievements are worthy of recognition. A major part of our Communications Strategy has been to give these people a platform and raise awareness of the challenges they face in order to provoke social change. Create uses communications and PR to share their stories and how they’ve benefited from taking part in our workshops in a way that makes participants feel proud. As one of the young carers said to us during a photoshoot with the Independent:
‘I never thought that people would want to know about my life and what I’ve been through. My mum has depression but I’m hoping this will make her smile, seeing me in the magazine dancing at Sadler’s Wells. If I wasn’t a young carer, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity.’”
With an income in 2014/15 of £644,399, I am thrilled that we managed to win an award that is open to charities with an income of under £10m. Over the past year, we have reached over 32 million of the general public with our widely-circulated PR campaigns and media coverage, thanks to the dedication and creativity of our PR Council, PR team of two and incredible participants. It is their stories that we share and their successes that continually inspire us.
Nicky Goulder, Chief Executive
In selecting the “PR Team of the Year: with an income of less than £10 million”, the Charity Times judges were looking for “excellence in charity PR, either in-house at a charity, or an agency undertaking a PR campaign on behalf of a charity. Benefits of the specific PR campaign had to be proven in real PR terms, such as extensive press and media coverage.”