The National Trust has been on point with their communication strategy recently, especially seeing as they were one of the most affected organisations of the Coronavirus pandemic. Working in rural PR has really opened my eyes to how challenging, yet rewarding, promoting such an organisation can be. Even more so when you can’t actually welcome people into your establishments due to Government restrictions.
One thing I’ve been saying throughout this whole affair though is that if you can help it, you should try to not go quiet completely. Sure, it may not be appropriate to talk about what’s going on right now (and in that case, you should keep schtum) but if you have a platform where you can share positivity in an otherwise rather bleak world, then you should at the very least try.
We’ve seen only recently the impact that a positive story can have with Captain Tom Moore‘s heroic fundraising challenge. There’s a clear appetite for optimistic stories and initiatives, so if you can position your brand in this space, you should.
This brings me to the National Trust, a brand I’ve grown to really appreciate recently and one you may too after reading about their latest campaign.
#BlossomWatch, by the National Trust
“We’re asking them to take pictures of the blossom as it blooms and share the joy with others who can’t see blossom for themselves right now. It’s a moment many can enjoy by simply looking at trees in their garden, seeing it through windows, or on city streets when taking the permitted daily walk, cycle or run” Andy Beer, nature expert at the National Trust, told The Guardian.
Since launching their #BlossomWatch campaign a few weeks ago, the hashtag has just short of 10,000 posts on Instagram and on Twitter, it’s being used in abundance (the last post at time of writing was 23 seconds ago, showing clear and consistent engagement with the hashtag).
Ceila Richardson, Director of Comms at the National Trust, tweeted on the 10th April that there had been 4m views of #BlossomWatch.
I love it so much, I even took part myself.
Positive PR Is Important Right Now
I really like this campaign from the National Trust for a few reasons.
The first being that it’s so simple. All this really required in the way of budget and planning was a few social posts and a press release. We ran something similar with one of our clients a few weeks ago where we asked individuals to share their wedding memories to keep the magic alive in uncertain times and it worked really well? Why? Because the general population is craving optimism right now, especially whilst we’re confined to our own houses bar one short walk a day.
The second thing I love about this campaign is that it’s been really well communicated both to the press and on social. The National Trust hasn’t been overbearing on their social channels, in my opinion they’ve put out just the right amount. They’ve also managed to secure some fantastic coverage in the likes of The Guardian as well as a large number of regionals. Considering that it’s a really simple campaign, that’s really just encouraging the use of a hashtag, it’s done so well in the way of media attention.
As well as this, I also think it’s great that this campaign can be pinned back to the National Trust. Blossom is blooming everywhere at the moment, yet thanks to the strong messaging with the #BlossomWatch campaign, more and more people will be subconsciously associate this blossom with the National Trust. Perhaps they’ll even be inclined to share a photo and tag the relevant accounts, all the while generating more and more exposure for the organisation and their campaign.
Ideas like these, when executed right, can really become evergreen, and this is why I loved #BlossomWatch enough to write about it this Thursday evening.
Campaigns don’t have to be all bells and whistles to be effective, and this simple yet effective idea by the National Trust proves that.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on Twitter.