This month we focus on the Aboyne Highland Games, which are organised by the Games committee headed up by Secretary, Morag McBeath. Established in 1867, the Games attract thousands of visitors from far and wide to the Aboyne green on the first Sunday of August every year, where an array of spectacles from livestock and fun fairs to pipe bands, athletes and Highland dancers entertain the crowds.  

  • Tell us about your PR and marketing strategy? 

With a focus on local and national media including newspapers, TV, radio and social media platforms, as well as some other niche outlets such as Highland Dancing and Pipe Bands publications, we raise the profile of the Games from around April up until the event in August, to ensure a strong turnout on the day. Last year’s event saw almost 12,000 visitors so we know we’re reaching people! 

  • Why do you invest in PR and marketing? 

While the Games carry huge historic significance and enjoy a large following of faithful supporters comprising locals and some international visitors, we know that a considerable proportion of the footfall each year is there spontaneously – and they’re not a market we can afford to ignore. The more visible we are, particularly in local media, the more we can be at the forefront of people’s minds when they consider how they might want to spend a day or a weekend in Deeside, or Aberdeenshire, or indeed Scotland, depending on where they’ve come from. In addition to highlighting the event itself, our PR and marketing strategy enables us to highlight and celebrate some of the local stories associated with the Games – local dancers, athletes or international connections. 

  • What are the key benefits? What has worked well?  

Instinct Marketing has secured a strong foundation of media coverage over the years thanks to their creative approach and network of connections, and each year we build on the success of the previous year, seeking to maintain the profile of the Highland Games, particularly in the run up to August. Drawing on a mix of topics from local anniversaries and international links to visiting performers, we target a variety of outlets and really try to celebrate the history, heritage and rich traditions of the Games, while telling the story of the event as it is today. 

  • Where are your marketing efforts currently focused? 

We’ve already issued the first press release announcing the date of this year’s Games, and the annual Games dinner, and we’re now into the next phase of publicity, which will highlight the launch of online tickets and registration for events. 

  • Where will you be focusing your marketing efforts in the next few months? 

In the coming months, we’ll be compiling our event programme, and in partnership with Instinct we’ll select any performers and events that warrant specific PR activity. Each September we also make a charitable donation to local charities, announced at a Picnic and Pimms afternoon, giving us another opportunity to highlight the benefit of the Games for the wider community. Instinct will also be liaising regularly with the Press & Journal on our behalf, to ensure the Games feature in all the relevant weekend and events supplements. On the day itself, Instinct often helps with photography and any media liaison. It’s a real team effort – and a huge feeling of satisfaction when we pull it off without a hitch every year!