SUCCESS STORIES

Hertfordshire County Show

Putting on a Show

We all know the story – 2020, a year for fresh starts, renewed optimism and wonderful opportunities. At least that’s how it started before the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic cast its shadow over the world.

Across the UK as the Country entered a new norm of social (physical) distancing, no industry was more affected than the events industry, with annual showpiece events being cancelled, or postponed… and then cancelled.

No sector was this more apparent than in the agricultural sector with County Shows and Country Fairs falling one by one.

The Hertfordshire County Show is organised with the intention of helping to ‘educate and raise awareness about local agriculture. Run by the Hertfordshire Agricultural Society, the Show started as a ploughing match on the grounds of Hatfield House in 1879, becoming a full County Show 7 years later.

The Show is held annually on Saturday and Sunday of the last May bank holiday at Hertfordshire Showground. Over the years, its mission has developed into a showcase of the best of Hertfordshire while maintaining its traditional County Show values, such as the Equine and Livestock Showing, as well as Show Jumping.

The Hertfordshire County Show is the biggest annual event in Hertfordshire, attracting over 32,000 visitors every year. But it was threatened by an invisible risk – the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, in the face of a pandemic that had brought an end to most large shows and gatherings in 2020, Hertfordshire Agricultural Executive Director, Sarah Moreland saw opportunity – a virtual show.

Taking many of the best loved aspects and attractions from its traditional Hertfordshire County Show – this first of its kind event for the Society, and County and County Shows in the UK – aimed to deliver a fun and engaging alternative during a time when most families remained under varying degrees of distancing and isolation.

The Herts County Virtual Show would present a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved – a showcase of everything that is great about our traditional Show, our County, farming, and agriculture – just online.

The Herts Virtual Show – In Numbers

60

Competitor Classes

1,080

Competition Entries

4,100

Visitors in One Day

275

Exhibitors
Sarah Moreland was first introduced to Dynamiq’s Rob Cao through a mutual connection at the Newbury Showground (The Royal County of Berkshire Show) who were working in partnership with Dynamiq to deliver marketing, communications, and PR. Sarah could see the quality of Dynamiq’s communications outputs but was wary of how such distanced relationship could work given the limited amount of lead in time available (just 6-weeks) and the fact the working relationship was so new.

A Zoom introduction and subsequent discovery conversations would put Sarah’s concerns at ease and work started to develop the communications, attract sponsorship and visitors to the virtual show.

“Working with Rob and Dynamiq has been a truly fantastic experience. What might have been perceived in the past as ‘not possible or it wouldn’t work that way’ is no longer a barrier. Dynamiq provided guidance on both practical and creative elements of the media and communications process which enabled me to be involved and retain control alongside providing full support and management.”

Sarah Moreland, Executive Director – Hertfordshire Agricultural Society

Communications needed to inspire excitement and engage potential sponsors to help fund the virtual event, businesses to support with services and mutual promotion and prospective visitors to visit the show.

The build up to the show called for wide ranging media and communications to be developed and distributed including:

  • Event launch videos
  • Sponsor and partner showcase graphics, animations and videos
  • Communications and press releases to local and regional businesses, members, sponsors, independent- traders and the press

“When we heard that Sarah needed support, we were delighted to help – the timescale was tight, and we didn’t start social media until 2 weeks before the event – but we knew we had to make a positive impact and quickly. We were able to get a good handle on the tone and feel of the communications needed through regular engagement with Sarah and that allowed us to deliver consistent and engaging media, marketing, and communications.”

Rob Cao – DYNAMIQ

On Saturday 23 May 2020, the UK’s first virtual County Show launched – and it was a phenomenal success with:

  • over 60 competition classes and 1080 entries  from around the World (including the USA and South Africa)
  • 275 exhibitors selling everything from cupcakes to crafts to tractors
  • The Virtual Show website attracted over 4100 visitors – almost 1/3 of the number who would have visited the real show on the Saturday, and they visited an average of 12 ‘virtual attractions’ each

A major contributor to the success of the show was Dynamiq’s delivery of marketing and communications content:

  • reaching over 50,000 people
  • achieving over 13,820 engagements
  • achieving over 24,805 video views

Additionally;

  • Active and consistent social media communications generated a 642% increase in engagement leading up to the event.
  • Engagement for the virtual event was 13,508% higher
  • Active and consistent social media communications generated a 983% increase in reach leading up to the event.
  • Reach for the virtual event was 7,183% higher
  • Viral Reach (which is a measure of consistent engagement) increased from 3,129 to 61,251 people
  • Viral Reach increased an average of 2,909 people per day compared to a decrease in viral reach before consistent communications began on Social Media channels (-2 per day)

“In the build up to the event the timescales for updates were agreed and Dynamiq were brilliant at scaling the momentum of social media interest. It was a truly awesome event – the Show was delivered in just over two weeks of intensive work. Our Facebook stats were off the scale”

Sarah Moreland, Executive Director – Hertfordshire Agricultural Society

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