#myelvaston – It’s what we make it

How our content creation campaign garnered support for £35m redevelopment

We worked with Derbyshire County Council on a public engagement campaign in support of a potentially contentious planning application at Elvaston Castle Country Park. It’s just the sort of challenge we relish, creating a strategy that we felt would resonate with all stakeholders.

We had a three week window in which to deliver our campaign due to approaching local government elections. The compressed timeline for launch meant long hours developing the creative presentation for the campaign, but boy was it worth it.

Elvaston Castle, located near Derby in England, is a Gothic Revival masterpiece set in a picturesque estate. Dating back to the early 19th century, it boasts ornate architecture, enchanting gardens, and a serene lake. The castle, once a private residence, is now a public park known for its historic charm and diverse landscapes. Visitors can explore the walled gardens, woodland areas, and the Gothic Hall. Despite facing challenges in recent years, the local community actively advocates for the preservation and restoration of Elvaston Castle, recognising its cultural and architectural significance as an integral part of England's heritage. 

Key messaging

#myelvaston – it’s what we make it is the central message around which we moulded our integrated digital, social, outdoor and media strategy. We wanted to create a sense of empowerment and give personal meaning to the future of the castle and estate for everyone – from Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust to the local community, as well as visitors, dog walkers, coffee drinkers – simply anyone invested in seeing the castle survive and thrive.

New dynamic web experience

At the centre of our campaign is a new, dynamic home page for Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust‘s website to create excitement and deliver a sense of place. A moving video header with a link to a full edit of #myelvaston film is the first thing visitors experience. Scroll and a 3D fly-through animation of the proposed new access and estate improvements automatically plays. Nine ‘personas’ provide the personal touch, explaining what Elvaston means to them. Further mood video snapshots of the castle interior give visitors a unique insight into the interior of the castle and why the investment is so important to save the building for future generations to enjoy. Finally, a ‘register your interest’ form captures the details of invested individuals so that the Trust can maintain ongoing communications with supporters.

As part of the web project we also set up a new Vimeo channel for Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust to host its burgeoning library of video content.

#myelvaston – it’s what we make it film

How do you create a film without being able to visit a site to art direct and oversee the production, without ever having been to the place?

Now this challenged our resourcefulness. A trawl of YouTube came up trumps. A local production company had previously filmed the gardens and outside of the castle at Elvaston, albeit in a personal capacity.  So we reached out to them and for a snip of a shoot cost, bought the rights to use the film. But we also needed to show the deteriorating inside of the building. Plus we wanted to bring our ‘personas’ to life and capture their thoughts on film. So we despatched our COVID-safe videographer to film and interview under the socially-distanced guidance of the Trust. The result is truly inspiring.


#myelvaston personas

It was important to us to get the involvement and support of people associated with Elvaston Castle. Through the project team at Derbyshire County Council and Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust we were introduced to a number of key stakeholders – from the leader of the council to the gardener at the castle, as well as trustees and members of the local community.

These ‘personas’ each provided us with a personal perspective on #myelvaston. They are now manifested in social media videos, as a scrolling gallery on the website and 2m x 1m outdoor posters on the estate itself, championing why it’s so important to save Elvaston.

Social media

Our goal was to drive more visitors to Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust’s Facebook page. Alongside content creation, we also added a new video header to the Trust’s page and set up automated content sharing across the Trust’s Facebook and new Instagram page.

Having benchmarked pre-campaign and post campaign data, on the day of launch we achieved:
3000% increase in page ‘likes’
166580% increase in reach
616% uplift in positive reactions
25% increase in followers.

Press launch

Engaging the press involved the development of a joint press release from Derbyshire County Council and Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust, alongside a series of pre-briefings with key regional and local broadcast media.

Given the pandemic, we were allowed limited numbers at the launch so prioritised the TV news. Both BBC East Midlands Today and ITV Central News filmed on launch day, with content appearing throughout the day on all main bulletins. ITV Central deployed a drone to capture the estate from above. This film was used in both the news feature and to close the evening news bulletin.

Radio interviews were carried by BBC Radio Derby and Capital East Midlands, whilst published and online press included the lead feature on the cover of Derby Telegraph, Midlands Business Insider, Business Link, Business Live, Museums & Heritage Advisor, as well as news pages on Derbyshire County Council’s website.


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