Sunday, 20 March 2016

We’re collaborators, not competitors!


Spring is a lovely time of year for leafleting. And yes, I do mean the mundane job of putting leaflets through doors as well as delivering them in the usual tourist outlets. The sky is often blue, I enjoy looking at people’s gardens and getting to know our local towns and villages. 

And of course it’s good exercise I tell myself as I slog round the streets with a rucksack full of literature delivering to hotels, B&Bs and of course Tourist Information Centres in our corner of Devon. And the work of publicising our museum goes on, with the arrival of summer and the thought that one can combine a day’s outing with a leaflet drop or two. 

I do wonder whether it works however. The Direct Marketing Association’s research shows that 48% of consumers actually visited the shop advertised, requested extra information or bought a product after receiving a leaflet through their door. But then they would, wouldn’t they? They’re in the business of promoting the whole leaflet manufacturing industry. 

Fairlynch Museum's annually produced leaflets, from 2009, top, to 2016

On the other hand I rather enjoy designing leaflets. I’m not an expert on the computer but the work appeals to the creative nerd in me, and I do believe I’ve made progress in mastering my old-fashioned Publisher program; I actually prefer it to the modern version that I bought.  And a newly designed leaflet each year does reflect fresh ideas and a jolly dynamism that every museum needs.

I spotted the title of this blog post while searching on my computer through the 2015 folder of unpublished items I’d written. Unpublished because, on reflection, what I’d written at about this time last year was a rather snide and complaining piece about places in Sidmouth where my lovely leaflets had been rejected. 

Yes, one person did actually accuse our little Fairlynch of being a competitor for arts-loving visitors and reducing their own visitor numbers.

I found that very odd because people who like visiting arts centres, theatres, museums and similar places generally make a habit of it, and it’s a habit that I’d like to encourage. 
So Fairlynch now has a rack of leaflets promoting other arts centres, museums and the like in East Devon and even further afield.

The grand Hotel Riviera on Sidmouth's Esplanade

This year’s tour of Sidmouth’s hotels, B&Bs and arts centres was an enjoyable experience because there was a definite feeling that ‘we’re all in this together’.

The Royal Glen Hotel  was another location where I received a friendly greeting.

This year I made a point of offering to exchange leaflets, at places like the excellent Manor Pavilion Theatre & Arts Centre.

And of course the town’s museum was an obvious place to do a swap.

So here are their 2016 leaflets. Thank you to the Sidmouth lady who lent me a rubber band to bundle their leaflets together.  

Kennaway House  Photo by Ian James Cox

I came away feeling that it would be a pleasure to promote our so-called competitors.  At Kennaway House, for example, it was a pleasure to meet the new house manager Nikki Dawkins and learn about the ‘Meet the Authors’ events that are taking place in this beautiful Regency building, between 16 March and 10 November 2016.  

The events are linked to ‘Sun, Sea & Books’, Sidmouth’s second two-day literary festival being organised jointly by Kennaway House and Winstone’s independent bookshop   

You can find out more about events of all kinds at Kennaway House on the website at
Sidmouth of course has a very successful Science Festival, and its Folk Festival is legendary.

Yes, each of our East Devon communities has something special to offer, and it’s fun to explore them. So I will carry on with my rucksack of lovely leaflets under the blue skies, tramping the streets of our towns, and even venturing down some village lanes if I think that yours looks rather interesting. I’ll be seeing you!

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