You may have heard that Approach has won its 28th industry award – and this time it’s for our exceptional social media activity. It’s a double hit for us as the award was for our work supporting Ilkley Carnival. Which forms part of our social impact strategy. Meaning, we don’t charge for it. So to be rewarded for something we find rewarding… Well, you don’t get much better than that!

Using our skills to support a community event is something we’re passionate about. It’s not too long ago that the team of volunteers who make Ilkley Carnival happen nearly threw in the towel because support for the event was slipping away making it fall short of its altruistic intentions.

Because all the profits that this family event raises, go back into the community that hosts it. But without footfall the money simply cannot be raised. Cue PR… Approach stepped in with a simple press release back in 2011 to remind people that simply buying a ticket and visiting the showground creates the funds which go back into community projects. In year one, we broke even. Things were looking up, community and volunteer confidence was visibly restored. Seven years, 93 press releases and a 50million audience reach later and Ilkley Carnival footfall is up to 10,000 per year and profits raised for the community have hit the £60k mark. Carnival funds have gone into schools, developing sports facilities for children, buying camping supplies for local scouts and guides, providing social and learning events for children with autism, funding flood defences for the local cricket club… The list goes on. 2018 was the third year we have used social media to widen the reach of the carnival’s profile and to promote better engagement with schools, parents, businesses and potential sponsors. Maximising the event’s ‘TV programme’ theme, we created competitions, ticket giveaways, landmark ‘countdown’ images and forged partnerships with sponsors and businesses who helped populate our social feeds and strengthened our outreach. During carnival month, our Twitter feed reached 40,000 impressions (a 650% increase on the previous year). We exceeded our objective of 1,000 Facebook likes reaching 1,128 and secured a 186% increase in Facebook post engagements. Better still, the highest amount of people ever, walked in the Ilkley Carnival parade on the day. 10,000 bought tickets to get onto the showground and £15k was raised for local good causes. Ilkley Carnival’s success highlights the attitude and work ethic that underpins all our PR campaigns and is tangible proof that great PR does genuine good. And when the heady mix of strategy, creativity and tenacity blends with a team that truly cares, the results create a carnival celebration… for all our clients! Of the award win, the judges said: “With a clear brief and objectives Approach PR carried out effective research to get a clear picture of the situation and used this to inform the campaign planning. There was a clear strategy which had been shaped by the research and the judges were impressed by the way partnership working was used to amplify the reach of the campaign. The measurement and evaluation looked at input, outputs, outcomes and outtakes and showed how the campaign had clearly delivered against its brief and objectives.” CIPR PRide Yorkshire and Lincolnshire judging panel, ‘Best Use Of Social Media’ award 2018