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Turning [new dialogues] into better conversations
blog
08/04/16

Lucy Smith, Senior Account Manager at Hot Tin Roof, talks us through her experience of the [new dialogues] communications residency

[new dialogues] is the R&D workroom of Creative Edinburgh, created to embed continual innovation and experimentation into the organisation. This project was supported by Creative Scotland via the Cultural Economy Fund.

Over the years, Hot Tin Roof has had a pretty eclectic portfolio but creative innovation and clients who get excited about doing things differently are two threads that run throughout. As a small (but perfectly formed) agency we have the flexibility to experiment so we were delighted to be invited to take up a communications residency with Creative Edinburgh as part of their [new dialogues] project.

The aim of [new dialogues] was to embed continual innovation and experimentation in Creative Edinburgh and its initial research report identified a weakness in the organisation’s messaging, communications and PR activity. We were given the chance to work collaboratively with Janine and the board of Creative Edinburgh to help instil more effective communications and reach a wider audience.

We kicked off the project with a strategy workshop, bringing together the team and several representatives from the board of Creative Edinburgh for a round table discussion. We encouraged them to be honest about weaknesses as well as strengths and each share the way they would talk about the organisation to a new contact. This revealed the need for a set of coherent key messages that they would be comfortable using in future, whether in conversation with members, speaking at an event or in a media interview.

The session also prompted in depth discussion of Creative Edinburgh’s objectives and it's vision for the future. This would later inform the strategy document, key messaging and media targets which were among the outputs of the residency.

The residency was an interesting process for our team, particularly because of the focus on sustainability, training and eventual handover. For example, after creating the first draft of the strategy, we worked in partnership with Janine to fine tune it and agree the priorities for tactical planning. We also ran a session for Janine on interview training ahead of a meeting with The Scotsman and provided coaching in writing and selling in press releases to media.

The collaborative nature of the project also meant we had the opportunity to take part in workshops such as Creative Scotland’s feedback sessions for its Creative Industries Strategy and learn about the British Council’s Creative Economy unit. It has helped us to expand our knowledge and understanding of the creative sector and is likely to inform our work with clients in the future.

By the end of the residency, we had helped Creative Edinburgh to simplify how it talks to its' members, raised the profile of the organisation and its people, and used the PR strategy to create a plan of action for the team to continue after the handover with a focus on publicising the annual awards ceremony.

It was a great opportunity to try a new way of working with a team of creative and open minded people and we look forward to working with Creative Edinburgh in the future.

For more information on Hot Tin Roof's work, follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Lucy Smith undertook the [new dialogues] Residency between September and November 2015.

[new dialogues] is the R&D workroom of Creative Edinburgh, created to embed continual innovation and experimentation into the organisation. This project was supported by Creative Scotland via the Cultural Economy Fund.

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