Fingal County Council’s successful Our Balbriggan public engagement strategy has taken top honours at a major national awards ceremony. The collaborative approach between Fingal County Council and communications agency MediaConsult was named as Best Public Sector Campaign at the Excellence in Public Relations Awards.
The awards are organised annually by the Public Relations Consultants Association, the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Region of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
The successful multi-platform strategy for the public consultation process on the transformation plan for Balbriggan saw 26% of the town’s population take the Our Balbriggan survey and united the community behind the process.
The judges stated that the Our Balbriggan campaign demonstrated how ambitious targets can be reached within a modest budget.
The Our Balbriggan survey saw local residents shape the order of priorities for a list of improvements to transform the town, and has resulted in plans to transform the Main Street and Harbour areas.
“The use of a simple slogan across the campaign effectively placed a community front and centre. This was reflected in the high levels of local engagement achieved,” stated the judges’ citation.
The award, which was presented at a special ceremony in Dublin’s Manion House, was accepted by the Acting Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Gráinne Maguire and Elaine Grennan, Creative Director at MediaConsult.
“This award is testament to the people of Balbriggan, who got involved in the Our Balbriggan process which is going to bring massive change to the town over the next five years,” said Cllr Maguire.
“Balbriggan as a community has come together with the group of stakeholders, led by the Balbriggan Leadership Group and Fingal County Council, to engage in a collaborative and unified way to prioritise the areas which will best address the socio-economic challenges of the town,” said Emer O’Gorman, Director of Economic Enterprise and Tourism Development at Fingal County Council.
“We couldn’t have dreamed of this level of response, with a huge section of the community getting involved to imagine the possibilities in a transformed town.” Fingal County Council’s work on this campaign with MediaConsult is seen as an exemplar of a co-operative strategy that both maximised engagement and persuaded stakeholders to assist in the ongoing development of Balbriggan.
“MediaConsult were tasked with developing a public engagement campaign around the launch of the Balbriggan Rejuvenation Strategy and to give every resident the opportunity to fully understand all aspects of the transformation and have their say in the future of their town,” said Managing Director Darren Hughes. “This resulted in the creation of the Our Balbriggan brand, logo, website and highly engaging social media accounts, and a highly-agile multi-platform campaign achieved on a very modest budget. “We are so proud that the integrated campaign across national and local levels resulted in the mobilisation of the town behind the Our Balbriggan – Get Involved call to action, and can now be used as an example for towns and local authorities around the country.”
The online survey attracted 4,004 submissions from Balbriggan residents – 26% of the total over-11 population of the town. The Our Balbriggan campaign had been short-listed along with the National Standards Authority, The Central Bank and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities in the Public Sector category. A total of 65 campaigns were shortlisted in 20 categories for the Awards which have been running since 1993 and are the yardstick for excellence within the public relations industry.