Our client is a local authority located in Hertfordshire, just 15 miles northwest of central London. The town it serves is a major regional centre and prominent retail hub in the northern home counties. With a population of more than 125,700, the council consists of 36 elected members and a town mayor, who represent twelve electoral wards throughout the district. Discover how Blueberry helped the council surpass their enterprise targets, improve local business community growth and boost sustainability in the region.
WHAT THEY NEEDED
Our client needed a flexible business engagement partner to conduct several successful outreach campaigns to enable them to meet their programme targets. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the nation’s business community, with numerous companies, sectors and industries suffering serious financial losses. However, with a cash injection of more than £1.9million from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), our client set out to address any deficits and promote business growth within the area.
The crucial funds helped the council develop four business support and grant programmes, helping improve sustainability and assisting with business premise refurbishments. But with limited up-to-date business contacts, data on business size, sector information and resources on some of the region’s 1,800 businesses, the council turned to Blueberry to help raise awareness of and drive participation in these key programmes, encouraging a high number of businesses to engage during the campaign, ahead of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Review.
“Councils are in unchartered territory and are exploring this for the first time,” said Senior Account Manager, Nathan Topping. “It’s almost like they must develop a brand-new capability that they haven’t had the money or resources to do in the past. Our job was to help bridge the gap between the council and the local business community, by promoting the range and wealth of business support on offer. Whether promoting sustainability workshops, raising awareness of grant funding, or encouraging local retailers to spruce up their town centre premises, we consistently helped the council reach their goals.”
As a company Blueberry understands the importance of business support, it was critical to our growth in the early days. As an SME ourselves, we know about the challenges businesses face and barriers that exist for them. Businesses don’t always know what support is out there. And, even when they do, they’re often unsure how to access it. They can be daunted by the application process or think it’s not designed for businesses like them. Our role is breaking down those barriers, allaying those fears and helping them through to the next stage.
WHAT WE DID
With access to the UK’s leading data providers, we profiled and purchased GDPR compliant records considering core business information such as number of employees, year established, industry classification (broad sector group and full SIC code) as well as business circumstance, such as modelled turnover. This provided the council with a rich up-to-date database containing essential intelligence on local business types, sizes and locations.
We worked closely with the local authority to fully understand the different business support programmes on offer as well as the required eligibility criteria, in order to develop a call approach that was both conversational in nature but also effective in generating high quality leads for the team to progress.
Our calling team of business engagement professionals who have experience of delivering on similar projects, then engaged with businesses over the phone, making further enhancements to the database gathering meaningful insights from businesses, whilst also supporting the businesses themselves with relevant, helpful information and correct signposting. Once the data was profiled, we made further enhancements.
“It was particularly enjoyable to help such a wide range of businesses – everything from a local café wanting to improve their customer experience, through to an innovative software development company looking to diversify their client base,” Nathan said.
“With our unwavering support, not only did the council achieve their objectives within their timescales, but we helped the local business community grow, improve their premises and boost sustainability in the region.”
WHAT WE ACHIEVED
Faresh Maisura, Managing Director of Blueberry Marketing Solutions, said: “Throughout the campaigns, we consistently exceeded the council’s expectations and their targets. We were a whopping 50 per cent over the initial baseline target for the Business Growth Grant. And we exceeded targets by 27 per cent for the Sustainable Programme of Low Carbon Grants. We also effectively managed all the stakeholders involved across the multiple schemes, ensuring that the council were able to deliver their programmes on time and within budget.”
He added: “What we enjoy about campaigns like this, is the real buzz we get from doing something tangible to help businesses. We found that companies appreciated our call. In most cases, the main reason they hadn’t engaged with such programmes is that they didn’t know about them in the first place. We know from our growth journey as an SME how important this kind of support can be, but in a lot of cases, businesses just don’t know it’s available to them.”