The Brief

The 2021 Christmas season found South Derbyshire District Council facing the same problem plaguing many local authorities around the country – reduced footfall in town centres, local stores flagging and consumers choosing to buy online instead of supporting local businesses.

MIH Solutions was brought in to help bring vibrancy back to the Swadlincote high street via a strategic digital campaign. We worked to create buzz around the winter events calendar, whose main ‘hook’ was The Snowman™ and The Snowdog walking trail, featuring a series of decorated sculptures inspired by Raymond Briggs’ much-loved picture books and animations. We used strategic storytelling to promote Swadlincote as a safe, exciting and thriving place to visit, shop and dine.

What We Did

Our first step was to develop the ‘Discover Swadlincote’ campaign branding, which visually showcased the town’s best offerings. We wanted this asset to have longevity for the Council, thus maximising the budget.

We undertook diligent market research, and based on the demographics identified through benchmarking and visitor reports, created a bespoke 10-week social media campaign that focused on high-impact results, audience connection, and community engagement.

We used print media to spread the word further, issuing press releases to journalists with an interest in the local area, and engaged with the local community. This included facilitating a The Snowman™ themed art competition at the local primary school, and the creation and administration of a WhatsApp group for local traders to share content, gain feedback, and support ongoing engagement.

We focused on creating video assets to visually showcase the excitement of the Trail, filming and producing three high-quality short promotional videos, including a ‘Small Business Saturday’ video designed to feature the offerings of local businesses.

The Result

The ‘Discover Swadlincote’ campaign recieved a phenomenal amount of coverage, social engagement, and feedback from the local community. The impact of our social media campaign resulted in extensive buzz around the Trail and accompanying events, with thousands of video views, profile visits, and impressions. Local business owners reported a significant increase in high street footfall and support of local shops and eateries. Feedback from the SDDC’s Tourist Information Centre revealed people had visited from across the UK, with the majority of visitors hearing about the town’s events via social media.