We know that key to the success working in a business improvement district is partnership, empowerment and community building.
In the first quarter of 2023, we began working with the Dorking Business Improvement District (BID). Since February, we have streamlined internal processes, made cost savings, and significantly improved relationships with partners through our carefully managed stakeholder management programme, which is both digital and face to face. Rooted in our approach to integrated omni-channel brand development and grassroots advocacy, we are once again helping our clients through collaboration and community building.
What have we helped the Dorking BID achieve in 2023
- Empowering Businesses:
The primary mission of the BID has always been to support local businesses, and this year was no exception. Through targeted initiatives like our LoyalFree trails, networking workshops, and creative and collaborative campaigns, we provided invaluable support to our local entrepreneurs. By offering bespoke assistance, we enabled our resilient businesses to adapt, grow, and thrive in an ever-evolving marketplace. We featured our businesses in gift guides, hosted highly attended events, and featured them in over 30 pieces of earned media with The Times, BBC Radio, and Surrey Hills Radio. The BID was featured in the press more in the past nine months than in the previous five year BID term.
- Community Partnerships:
Our client’s success lies in the partnerships we’ve cultivated within the community. In 2023, we strengthened existing relationships and forged new alliances with community partners, churches, schools, local organisations, and government entities. These collaborations empowered our client to address shared challenges and seize opportunities for collective growth, ensuring a more resilient and united community. We hosted for our client the successful DorKing Coronation event in May, for which our client was shortlisted for an Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) ‘Best Social and Community Contribution Scheme’. The event drew over 5,000 attendees and significant support from the community, to include over 40 community vendors, musical acts and entertainers, 12 radio interviews, three media placements at railway stations and 4,700 downloads of our e-zine, 8,800 impressions and 125,000 link impressions and one letter of congratulations from the Royal Household.
We galvanised the local volunteer community and hosted two street clean ups and were joined by residents, businesses, corporations, churches, and nonprofits.
- Inward Investment in the BID and the town:
Our client is focused on raising footfall and enhancing the town’s appeal. To support this, we hosted creative events, engaging promotions, and strategic marketing campaigns to attract thousands of visitors to the town. By transforming the town into a destination, we not only supported local businesses but also created a welcoming atmosphere that encouraged people to explore and invest in our community. With new and exciting businesses opening in town, to include the Heartwood Collection investment in The White Horse, opening in February 2024.
We also recruited eight new voluntary levy payers to join the BID since February and three new BID Board Directors have joined the Board, diversifying the team with two women joining and an internationally renowned author-illustrator, adding new ideas and tremendous value to the organisation.
- Building Lasting Partnerships:
We believe in the power of collaboration, and this year saw the formation of strategic partnerships that will have a lasting impact. Our team encouraged our client’s attendance at the BID Foundation Annual Meeting as well as the ATCM Summer School session. We have also created a regular thought leadership piece for the BID Chairman, to help raise the profile of this volunteer leader and the BID locally. By connecting with and working closely with neighbouring districts, industry associations, and regional development bodies, we are encouraging leadership and brand recognition for the organisation. We are laying the foundation for future growth for the group. We are meeting with the Surrey contingent of the BID Foundation managers to build further partnerships to collaborate and share best practices in ensure our client continues to generate cost savings and collaborates across Surrey. In addition to working with BIDs, we are ensuring our client is collaborating with Surrey Police, other towns in Surrey, and government bodies to ensure our BID is working effectively to keep the town and partners safe, sustainable and future proofed. We work closely with our client’s policing team and are developing a Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) to this end. We also ensure our client and team collaborate with our local government partners, our community partners, nonprofits, our residents and schools. These partnerships open up exciting possibilities for shared resources, knowledge exchange, and mutually beneficial endeavours. Relationship management is key and we work hard to professionalise all aspects of our client’s public relations and reputation.
- Raising Awareness:
One of our key objectives was to elevate awareness of the client’s and town’s unique offerings. Through targeted marketing, social media campaigns, digital transformation, placemaking, and community events, we continue to work to successfully position our town as a vibrant and attractive destination. By telling our client’s story and showcasing the diversity of the business offerings, we’ve captured the national attention media, new visitors and investors alike.
We utilise a four-pronged approach in our strategy to achieve our SMART metrics. Here are the results for each element of our approach:
Streamlined CRM tools with BIDBase
Made cost savings with back-end systems
Professionalisation of digital approach and eliminated unnecessary services
Built relationships with external parties (policing, local government, nonprofits, businesses, corporations and other partners) to address shared challenges and seize opportunities for collective growth and collaborative benefit
Social media management – outstanding results for the year (increase in share of voice, increase in followers, reach, impressions and brand awareness).
We increased our website reach from 1,400 visits to a high of 30-44,000 (November and December).
PR/media: over 30 pieces of earned media across tier one and targeted outlets (The Times, BBC Coverage, Small Biz Britain and more). Specifically, over the past 11 months, we have generated 17 press releases, 19 radio interviews, and 7 pieces of print media for the BID. We have published 83 newsletters in 2023 with a 43% open and 3.4% click rate.
BID Chairman Strategy to raise awareness of BID leadership in town.
Increased awareness of the Dorking BID efforts across the UK: Best Comms Team, ATCM, Small Biz Britain – 100K reach on Small Business Saturday alone and industry awareness.
Placemaking / Public Realm
Hosted two highly attended, highly publicised, and positively received events (DorKing Coronation and A Very Dorkensian Christmas Festival.)
Volunteerism: Built robust cadre of volunteers to support BID efforts.
Hosted two highly promoted and attended ‘street clean ups’, which received earned media press coverage.
Public Realm: Finalised Future Dorking initiative
Way Finding Strategy Submitted to Council, continue to advocate
Built relationships with UK thought leaders
Established the BID as thought leaders and community builders, supporting the town and collaborating with the local council on Banking Hubs.
Provided businesses with a variety of 1:1 support regarding operations, finance, social media, press and marketing, resilience and sustainability, email and promotions, technical website management, and AI and ChatGBT queries.
Provided networking and open door BID workshops; connected businesses with and built strategic partnerships.
Managed multiple policing, BID and safety socials groups.
Offered training on how to apply for awards and provided 1:1 support on submissions.
Recruited three new Board members
Recruited eight new voluntary levy payers
How we do it
The accomplishments of the past year are a testament to our unique approach and dedication to community building. Want to learn more? Get in touch with our team.