Ballyrashane Co-op was founded more than a century ago and is the oldest creamery in Northern Ireland. It employs more than 150 people, has a turnover of almost £70m and its products are exported to countries including Germany, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Jamaica. Our role was to support the business in rolling out a potentially controversial green energy initiative to produce electricity from organic dairy waste. While there were many strong environmental reasons why this was a sound project, management were concerned that a lack of understanding of the process and plans amongst the local community and decision-makers could scupper the project. Timely, accurate and careful messaging was important as was getting the right people on side.
SERIOUS conducted a comprehensive stakeholder-mapping exercise which identified all interested parties and graded them in terms of priority. This list included members of the co-op, staff, retailers, Invest NI, local neighbours, local councillors and MLAs. We produced several pieces of marketing collateral which were used in face-to-face presentations with individuals and groups and also in mail-outs. These pieces clearly identifed the benefts behind the proposed scheme and reinforced Ballyrashane’s credentials as a reputable and trustworthy organisation. SERIOUS assisted in a number of presentations to local decision-makers and facilitated meetings with two Government Ministers in order to ensure adequate understanding of the technology behind the project.
Once our stakeholder engagement programme was complete we rolled out an indepth media relations / publicity programme which resulted in significant coverage within Ireland’s business and trade press as well as local TV and radio.
The project was granted approval by the DoE’s Planning Service in line with the company’s targeted timelines and we secured the support of all major stakeholders.