Dagmar Smeed, Head of Marketing & Communications for ss Great Britain based in Bristol, who was studying for the CIM’s highest level qualification at the same time as developing and implementing the campaign, helped to lead her team to success for the best temporary marketing campaign for their 40th Homecoming Anniversary/Let's Celebrate campaign. Using a distinctive John Travolta-esque ‘Mr Brunel’ theme the campaign’s objectives were to compliment the concurrent 'The Incredible Journey' exhibitions taking place to celebrate the epic salvage and homecoming of the ss Great Britain to Bristol and to boost visitor numbers.
The leisure sector and particularly the museum industry has seen a significant amount of change over recent years, particularly due to the economic climate, and whilst parents are still willing to spend on entertaining the family they are becoming more demanding and increasingly looking for better value for money. This was the challenge facing Dagmar and her team and meant that for this campaign to succeed they needed to clearly understand how to appeal to the consumers, including the different roles that each member plays and how they respond and communicate, both on personal and business level to ensure that they achieved the higher visitor levels. “The market is changing so rapidly with different emerging themes and the ways people communicate, I found that the Postgraduate Diploma helped me to have a much more strategic approach to my planning and identify the desired outcomes more clearly” Dagmar comments.
The success of the campaign was achieved through working closely with various stakeholders including the trustees, senior management and museum colleagues, ensuring that marketing and communications were integral to and would add value to a project to gather the memories of those involved in the epic salvage and those who witnessed the ship's 'homecoming', and to support the opening of a new exhibition, 'The Incredible Journey'.
A key element to the campaign was the distinctive John Travolta-esque 1970s dance pose held by ‘Mr Brunel’, the designer and builder of the ss Great Britain, which was used as a strong, fun, and iconic graphic that captured the essence of the 40th anniversary. ‘Mr Brunel’s’ image was used throughout the campaign period for activities including PR which was used to stimulate memories and act as a precursor to the main marketing drive to boost visitor attendance, various merchandise items, posters and leaflets.
“The campaign’s success underlined the important role played by those who 40 years ago took great personal and professional risk to salvage the ss Great Britain from the Falkland Islands and return her to the dockyard where she was built and launched in 1843. Award recognition is a tribute to everyone who has worked so hard over the last 40 years to safeguard this magnificent ship for future generations to know and enjoy.”
Simultaneously juggling both the ‘Let’s Celebrate’ anniversary campaign and undertaking studying for the CIM Postgraduate Diploma was a demanding challenge for Dagmar, although enormously useful as it helped her have a much more focused approach to the campaign planning and gain a better understanding of what can be achieved such as best practices. “I was much more able to match the right language to the right people based on our existing research and through better segmentation and design.”
Dagmar was fortunate enough to have her employer, ss Great Britain, not only contribute towards the funding for her CIM Postgraduate Diploma qualification but also allow her half a day each week to dedicate to her studies. The extra study time allowed by her employer she found particularly useful as sometimes Dagmar wasn’t able to start her studies until after 9 in the evening, when she wasn’t always at her most alert, especially after a long day at work. In addition to her day job, Dagmar had to balance the studying with her family responsibilities, but she was lucky enough to have a very understanding partner who was willing to take on additional family and household tasks.
Dagmar believes that there are a number of key factors that contributed to her studying success with Cambridge Professional Academy. “Be honest with both yourself and your family on how much time you need to dedicate to your studies and ensure that you have their full co-operation, understanding and agreement. Their ongoing help and support will be essential for providing you with the encouragement and motivation to continue.” She suggests, “Also, planning your studies and work appropriately ensures you have allocated enough time.” For Dagmar this meant having to get additional childcare so that she could have more peace and time for herself.
“I realise the importance of continuing professional development and training, especially with such great changes taking place in the industry, and ensuring I keep fresh with my thinking.” In addition to the CIM qualification, Dagmar attends various marketing and industry related conferences and exhibitions. “I go to discover new ideas and ways to improve as well as to learn from others in the industry. I always want to keep my eyes open.”
“Both the qualification and Cambridge Professional Academy were recommended to me by a colleague. Overall, I found the qualification very rewarding as it helped me to think differently and to understand and communicate better with our market. I definitely appreciated all the help from the tutors and it was easy dealing with Cambridge Professional Academy, there were no barriers and the staff were always very professional.”