Southern Water in Bloom
A major success story for Cobb PR is the media campaign for the South & South East in Bloom Awards.
Cobb PR looks after Southern Water, which is the main sponsor of the annual contest. We have managed the media relations for a number of years and our main role is to raise the profile of the contest at key times.
This year has proved to be the most successful ever in terms of media coverage. It made the front page of at least one newspaper and numerous others ran the story. Winners were also interviewed live on BBC radio stations. While it’s hard to put a value on this coverage, it’s estimated that it runs into tens of thousands of pounds.
The In Bloom competition promotes, supports and encourages community activity through gardening, horticulture and environmental sustainability.
There are two parts to the contest. Firstly, the main section welcomes entries from a range of different communities including neighbourhoods, villages, towns, parks and gardens. Secondly, the Blooming Schools section is for school staff and children who take care of their grounds and make their learning environment a more pleasant place to work in and look at.
Cobb PR’s media preparation begins in June when the Bloom judges visit the schools. We compile a list of all the local media for each area and send out a Diary Date inviting them to send a photographer to the judging session, and then issue a press release with the photos after the visit.
When the school results are announced in July, Southern Water’s In Bloom ambassador, BBC TV gardener Chris Collins, spends several days touring the schools and handing out award certificates. Chris also visits some of the competitors entered into the main section of the contest, when their entry is being judged.
As before, Cobb PR invites the local media to all the visits, and sends out a press release and photo afterwards.
The awards ceremony in September gives us the opportunity to target all newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations in the South & South East region.
During the ceremony we obtain quotes from winners around the different areas. This enables us to carefully tailor each press release so that all media receive a release with a relevant quote and photo from a winner in their area. It was a great result that this year more media covered the event than ever before.
Andy Shaddick, Southern Water’s Public Affairs Manager, said: “Cobb PR has worked on various projects for Southern Water for about 15 years, including South & South East in Bloom. They have strong contacts with the media and succeed in gaining excellent coverage across the communities that we serve. We are delighted with the results as without Cobb PR’s knowledge and support we would not gain such vast exposure.