Coronavirus lockdown impacted us all in one way or another.

But the leisure industry was among those hit the hardest.

After Burnley Leisure were forced to close the doors to all their centres and numerous sites and venues, we swung into action to help our client continue its commitment to keep its people active, healthy and happy.

As a charitable trust, Burnley Leisure’s remit includes public health and wellbeing alongside core recreation services.

Not only does it run the borough’s community sports facilities, it also operates a host of cultural venues and services. All were shut down with immediate effect.

Our brief was to help maintain Burnley Leisure’s vital communication, public profile and customer engagement – in other words attempt to deliver their remit but in a completely diverse way.

With some creative thinking across our creative, digital, PR and marketing teams, joint collaboration and incredible co-operation from the Burnley Leisure team, we secured a very healthy outcome.

In fact, as you’ll see, we didn’t just hit the targets, we smashed them.

Triumph over adversity.


Helping to keep a community together

We had a mountain to climb. Fortunately, we had all the essential skills and equipment at our fingertips.

Burnley Leisure serves thousands of customers each year through an extensive programme rolled out through its gyms, pools, leisure centres, golf courses, hospitality and culture venues such as The Mechanics Theatre.

So how do you continue to reach out to your audience during these unprecedented circumstances?

And what can you offer from a distance way beyond the two-metre rule?

The answer lies in social media, online and through local and regional news media.

Our teams pulled together to form marketing and communications strategies which would not only engage Burnley Leisure’s members and audiences throughout the unquantified lockdown but also grow their following and reach.

Initially we helped to convey clear key messaging to customers and stakeholders regarding the consequences of the closures to allay concerns and queries.

But the pivotal campaign centred around the health and wellbeing of its customers with the aim of motivating, reassuring, entertaining and most importantly, connecting on a human level, albeit remotely.

We devised a tailored digital media campaign which included live instructor workouts, recipe videos and quiz nights and inspiring messages and videos from Burnley Leisure staff.

We created blogs for its website, ranging from topics covering the lighter side of lockdown life to food, music and fitness and tips and regular advice on health and wellbeing. Have a read of their blogs here.

We rolled out a PR campaign to spread the word about the trust’s fantastic efforts to support communities on the ground, distributing press releases to local newspapers and regional media.

We pulled out all the stops as we all pulled together – in the face of a pandemic.


Through the roof stats and going viral

So, let’s cut to the chase.

What did we achieve?

We don’t normally delve into our results and metrics beyond our statistical client reporting but in this case, we thought we’d share (with their blessing of course).

During the first few weeks of lockdown Burnley Leisure’s already high-engaging Facebook page increased its audience by 212% compared to the previous period and engagement rose by 155%.

On Twitter, ‘likes’ went through the roof, up 6,266% compared to the previous period and retweets were up 2,238%.

On Instagram, reach was up by 4,092% compared to the previous period and profile visits increased by 348%.

Burnley Leisure’s lockdown online health and leisure content was watched and shared by literally thousands of viewers, and exercise classes, recipe videos and weekly quizzes went down a storm – so much so, staff upped the broadcast of their live workouts from weekly to daily.

Our PR coverage led to widespread exposure across newspapers, news websites and social media and as restrictions continued to ease, we pushed out news of the gradual reopening of activities such as golf – even arranging for regional media contacts to enjoy a round themselves which resulted in glowing testimonials.


Happy client?

You bet.

Burnley Leisure was delighted with the growth of audience reach and engagement through our digital campaigns and impressed by coverage achieved through our PR service which increased public awareness and heightened their presence within the Burnley community and beyond.

Not an agency to have its spirits dampened by a Covid-19 setback, Cornerstone’s on-going strategies and campaigns will provide Burnley Leisure with creative, yet solid ways and means to help them bounce back in the months and years to come.

We continue to provide our full-service expertise on many levels, including through web development, rebranding and our print room production department – a sign of greater things to come.


Cornerstone DM