The impact of COVID-19 on retail has been significant but one sector that truly felt, and continues to feel, the burden of lockdown and social distancing measures is Irish craft and design. As a sector that thrives on tourism and visits to studios and galleries across the country, sales dwindled rapidly during quarantine with many makers reporting that they were not trading and were concerned about the future of their businesses.
The Design & Crafts Council Ireland has over 3,000 registered client enterprises and engages with over 150 retailers across the country who specialise in authentic Irish products. These businesses are scattered across the country with clusters located around high-profile tourist attractions and as such, are significant contributors to regional economies.
In response to the impact of COVID-19 on these businesses and to support their recovery, DCCI launched #MADELOCAL, a nationwide initiative to boost sales and drive revenues for both makers and retailers of Irish craft and design. As part of the campaign, a new Made Local symbol was created and shared with retailers to help showcase Irish-made products both in stores and online.
DCCI had conducted consumer research which showed that 9 in 10 consumers feel an affinity to Irish craft and design. The ambition of the campaign therefore, was to remind consumers taking staycations this year of the high-quality, unique products available from Irish makers and designers across the country, and encouraging them to look out for the newly designed Made Local symbol in participating retailers when shopping for gifts and keepsakes during their holidays.
To launch the campaign, we brought together members of our social & innovation, brand marketing and corporate teams, so that we could leverage our combined expertise in social & digital campaigns, consumer PR and public sector knowledge, and reflect in our approach both the remit of DCCI as the state agency responsible for Irish craft and design, and the rich heritage of the sector.
To that end, the campaign was launched by An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar T.D., and actor and writer Amy Huberman with a socially distant photocall that showcased not only the Made Local symbol but Irish craft and design in the outfits and jewellery worn on the day.
To expand our reach across Ireland and enhance the connection of Made Local to Irish businesses in media coverage, we nominated makers and retailers from different regions as ambassadors of the campaign and hosted local photocalls for regional media at their premises with DCCI representatives, which resulted in numerous broadcast interviews and coverage in local publications.
To kick off social and build excitement around the campaign, we gifted media and influencers with a known interest in Irish craft and design with a framed Jando print, with the Made Local symbol on each frame. They were encouraged to share images of the print, and to highlight the Made Local symbol tagging DCCI to drive engagement and direct potential new followers to its channels. In tandem, a social tile depicting the symbol was created and shared with media and makers alike, with encouragement to post the tile at the same time on launch day. The result was an amazing social moment that generated 140 Instagram posts, 500% increase in engagement, and the #1 trend on Twitter – knocking Richard Bruton’s moment of glory off the top spot!
All in, a monumental effort to support a struggling sector drove great results and ultimately, increased sales.
By: Aoife Kelly
Senior Client Manager