The way the Growth Company (GC) publicised its swift and effective response to Covid-19 to local businesses has been recognised with a short-listing at this year’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards.
In March 2020, GC launched #HereForBusiness, a campaign that encouraged Greater Manchester (GM) businesses to contact them and speak to a dedicated business advisor about financial support packages.
Rachel Chesters, Acting Director of Marketing and Communications for GC, believes the business’ quick response was critical for the campaign’s success:
“The campaign had to raise awareness and drive immediate action,” she said.
“Speed was of the essence and the scale of the pandemic meant we only had a few days for planning.”
By August the campaign had gained momentum and began to focus on specific areas, including how to create Covid-secure workplaces, support for the self-employed, and advice on how to pivot a business and adjust to the changing economic environment.
The campaign reflected the way in which GC had adapted its resources to quickly and effectively reach local businesses impacted by the pandemic. It also recognised the need to engage with those companies at the other end of the spectrum which were experiencing huge growth and demand, too.
Spanning the full marketing mix, from email campaigns and social media, advertising and media relations, in the twelve months from March 2020 more than 11,500 business were engaged, with over £7m provided in financial support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
The response also involved creating a Covid-19 microsite, providing resources on immediate challenges for business such as supporting self-isolation and monitoring cashflow. There was also a guide to remote working and a hugely popular series of business recovery seminars, which resulted in a year-on-year increase of 72% in the number of sessions viewed on the Growth Hub website.
“Businesses needed immediate support and didn’t necessarily know where to turn,” continued Chesters,“
"So it was critical that the creative approach resonated instantly with Greater Manchester’s varied business community.”
GC also led the Economic Resilience working group for GM’s response to the pandemic, developing public awareness campaigns and leading on communications to help ensure businesses played their part in keeping the city-region moving, while ensuring the safety of residents.
Chesters believes GC’s work through the pandemic will benefit businesses across GM for years to come but is quick to recognise the need for continued support.
“It was important that the campaign created a supportive feeling and provided hope to the GM business community,” she added.
“We understand that a lot of impacts from the pandemic are still yet to be felt and we are already working on new campaigns to ensure long-term support to businesses across our city region.”
The winners will be announced at an online ceremony on Tuesday 5 October.
This article originally appeared on The Growth Company website.