This weekend was a PR success and a half for our home town – Macclesfield. It held its annual Barnaby Festival and at Skout’s B2B PR HQ we’ve had an exciting bird’s eye view of preparations and proceedings. I even ate my chips with the kids in the company meeting room during an unexpected rainstorm on Sunday! Barnaby was a traditional town festival harking back to the Macclesfield silk industry’s summer holidays, when all the mills closed and the workers headed off for Blackpool. But it came back to life four years ago with a great modern spin too – a real mix of old and new and literally something for everyone. A fantastic procession, street entertainment, food and drink, music, history, art trails, poetry, treasure hunts – I could go on. That’s rather like Macclesfield itself, so I guess the brains behind Barnaby have got their branding and messaging spot on!
There’s a lesson in changing perceptions here. I think Barnaby has done just this for Macclesfield – and so far achieved much more in pulling the place together than the divisive town regeneration plan. There’s also a lesson in being creative and digging deep for resources and to tell your story. Barnaby’s clearly not driven by big budgets and expensive ideas. A real belief in the town and huge amounts of goodwill and volunteering from people are the heart of it. And it draws some pretty good acts! The success of Barnaby shows that the importance of being different and standing out matters whether you’re a small market town or a B2B organisation. Maybe you should take a look – put it in your diary for next June!