Folkestone-based marketer, Becca Collier-Cook of Realia Marketing on working with the National Memorial to the Few – Battle of Britain Memorial Trust in Capel-le-Ferne during the pandemic.
Folkestone is the proud home of the national memorial dedicated to the bravery of those who fought in the Battle of Britain between 10 July and 31 October 1940. Based at Capel-le-Ferne, the Battle of Britain Memorial is a place for visitors of all ages to reflect, remember and learn about the historic World War Two battle. The Memorial’s marketing agency, Realia Marketing, is also based in Folkestone and supports several market leading national and international brands. Realia’s mission is to make clients lives easier and better every day by delivering creative intelligence.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Memorial to the Few attracted up to 35,000 visitors on average per year. But when the pandemic struck, in line with government guidance, the Memorial Trust took the decision to close The Wing and car park.
The heroes of the Battle of Britain refused to be defeated as the Luftwaffe attacked through the summer and early autumn of 1940 – and while the Memorial wouldn’t put themselves on par with the men who fought the Battle of Britain, the Trust was equally determined to weather this particular storm. The Trust and its marketing team quickly adapted to ensure its visitors could experience the Memorial virtually.
As soon as the site was closed, the Trust knew straight away that they wanted to offer a virtual visitor experience. To help provide this to the Trust’s supporters, myself, the Realia team, in conjunction with Malcolm Triggs (the Trust’s media and PR contact), put together colouring sheets, crosswords, ration recipes, Facebook Lives and Instagram Lives to keep the spirit of the Memorial Trust alive.
The Facebook and Instagram Lives aimed to show off different aspects of the Memorial. The most popular videos to date are the virtual commemoration service on VE Day and an introduction to the Trust’s Young Ambassador and influencer, Jacob Jennings. It’s been great to see how much support the Memorial Trust gained from these new virtual methods!
During these past few months, myself, the Realia team and Malcolm were also planning some creative ways to raise funds in the background. After some discussion, the collective decided that a crowdfunding campaign would be the best course of action to drive donations. This included exciting pledges ranging from £15 to £100 to entice supporters. As the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust relies on income from The Scramble Experience, shop, café and car park, the Trust and marketing teams needed to raise some donations to preserve the Memorial during lockdown. Whilst they’ve hit their initial crowdfunding target of £20,000, they need to continue fundraising to hit their stretch target of £50,000, to ensure the Memorial can recover post pandemic. The crowdfunder can be viewed here.