Working with Camden Town Unlimited and Euston Towns BIDs
Meercat Associates Ltd were commissioned to assist both Camden Town Unlimited and Euston Towns BIDs on their respective ballot renewals. The ballot dates were the same as these BIDs are run by the same team and operations are co-ordinated accordingly.
The BID team specifically required assistance in business member engagement across both BIDs, a brief which included;
- Creating an overall strategy around member engagement for the BIDs that would lead to a successful outcome,
- Sourcing the correct decision makers in businesses and establishing contact.
- Acquiring their understanding of the BID as well as the position towards BID continuation/voting intention,
- Communicating projects relevant to each business,
- Co-ordinating receipt and completion of BID nomination/ballot forms,
- Fielding any queries or arranging meetings with BID management where necessary.
To complete this successfully, a strategy was devised in order that contact could be made across the circa 134 hereditaments in Euston Town, and 193 in Camden Town Unlimited. A key challenge was in establishing contact at a time when many business owners/key decision makers were not on site and available for contact. Where we were indeed able to make direct contact, the different challenge was in stressing the importance of the ballot at a time when they were concerned with a number of other high level priorities; related to shielding the impact of the pandemic on their business revenue. This was true for businesses of all sizes, but especially so for medium size and below.
Forging and maintaining strong relationships with BID members and key decision makers in general is at the heart of what allows the Meercat team to be successful.
It has been common practice to collect accurate and verified data to use as a foundation in delivering both a cost reduction service or specifically to this project, member engagement services in the form of BID renewals. This is undertaken using a number of forms of communication, including meeting in person and virtual communication. With the recent proliferation in using the latter, substantial investment has gone in to providing the infrastructure to provide seamless virtual communication. This ultimately allowed us to meet the challenges above and others.
The result was for CTU BID being successful on ballot with 91% of the turnout in favour and Euston Town BID being successful with 97% of the turnout being in favour.
In this case, Meercat Associates were engaged to provide enhanced support to communicate the vision of the BID as part of the ballot process, discuss previous/future projects and handle queries there may have been from BID members. As expected, business queries were different in nature, depending on the size and position of the business and required a strong knowledge in different areas including current COVID-19 government guidance.
An in depth knowledge of current and previous projects were gathered from both direct discussions with the BID team as well as internal meetings within Meercat where discussions are held on business priorities across different sectors regularly. This allowed for most queries to be handled either during the conversation or by referral to information obtained from sources such as websites. In situations where queries simply needed to be addressed at a higher level, meetings were arranged with the CEO of both BIDs.
Meercat Associates worked in partnership with the BID team to distribute nomination forms to the correct individuals and handle any queries they may have been regarding both these and the ballot papers. In a sensitive time, businesses within the BID felt comfortable to liaise with Meercat Associates and were trusted by the BID team to represent them by being on the front line of membership engagement. This trust is critical, as in a time when establishing contact can be challenging, business owners and other key decision makers were open to referring us to other businesses as a source of assistance which ultimately led to a positive outlook towards the BID of further members.
This project was undertaken by one of our consultants and remained in house, an important part of the strategy as a single point of contact was required in order that communication was efficient, and allowed for little confusion for businesses on contacting us. In cases where numerous consultants are required, we will always seek to maintain this ease of communication, creating and maintaining a clear and highly responsive communication channel.
This is the second time CTU BID have worked with Meercat in a re-election. Five years ago, we assisted in providing member support and again there was a successful outcome. At the same time, Euston Town was vying to be successful in forming and beginning its first term which we assisted in and were successful. It is this quality of service which we maintain with the BIDs, that we extend to all its members and has allowed for a successful partnership and lasting relationships with its members.
It is important to note, that for this past election project a larger proportion of engagement was conducted in person, a mode of communication we feel is preferable. However, we have adapted and maintained a high level of flexibility which has allowed us to evolve and meet expectations which we feel will service us well where there is a high possibility of an increased level of virtual communication in the future.
For this most recent project, it was built in the strategy that a daily update was given to the BID Operations Director as well as a presence within the daily team meetings in order that feedback could be given and the strategy could be reviewed and adjusted where necessary. It was important that Meercat were seen as another member of the team and this has been maintained post ballot as we continue to work with both BIDs, and are present on at the team meetings on the days we work together.