Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Marketing Manager Kirsty Celebrates One Year at HANDS ON

Marketing Manager Kirsty Celebrates One Year at HANDS ON
23rd August 2011

A year ago today I started working at HANDS ON. And while I have started to get used to my rather strange surroundings, I am still occasionally startled by explosions, gun shots and smoke filling up the reception area. Always expect the unexpected at HANDS ON!

The last year has been a huge learning curve. As Marketing Manager, I have had to produce and oversee a variety of marketing communications. But I have also been exposed to this very interesting and varied industry: providing weapons, building sets, looking out military uniforms, creating special effects, rigging scaffolding and drapes, sourcing and hiring out props and much more.

As I am usually the one to pick up the HANDS ON telephone, I am the first point of contact for many of our customers, and I love hearing the bizarre requests they have… especially when they think it is really weird but it is actually something we hear all the time! “Swords for a wedding? Of course, when can you pick them up?” When customers come in, it is always great to hear what they are doing, and how they are putting a production together.

Not long after I started working here, I wrote a press release about East Kilbride Rep Theatre hiring props for “The Steamie” – particularly interesting as Perry had been props buyer on the original film. (Read the release here.) The article was published by several local papers, which was a pleasing start to my year at HO. 

Although many of our customers’ requests could merit an article, we can’t do it for every intriguing enquiry that comes our way. At the start of 2011 we gave the Comedy Unit our “Customer of the Year” award, and we also noted some high-profile jobs: building staging for The Wanted and Spellbound at EK shopping centre, providing swords for Biffy Clyro’s Kerrang shoot and rigging up Rhod Gilbert to make him fly (and also rigging up the Scotland Rugby Team to create an impressive line-out.) We have been fortunate to be involved in several great Scottish films as well: Perfect Sense, Neds, Blooded and Fast Romance. (Read more here.) As a small team, we need to keep each other up to date on the progress of each job, as we are all involved with them in some way.

From day one I was tasked with keeping our social media presence up to date: a pursuit which has now blossomed into daily Facebook and Twitter updates, a separate Facebook page for the suit of armour in our reception (albert.theknight) and a regular Blog.

This year we started thinking more strategically about our e-flyers, and now send different ones to different sectors of customer (rather than a generic newsletter) in order to focus on the products and services most relevant to their needs. We also send feedback emails to customers after every job, to make sure we are meeting those needs, and we really value the comments we receive. So on top of designing adverts, writing press releases, dealing with customers and updating all our online marketing, I keep our contact database up-to-date and create and send our bespoke e-flyers and emails to the right people. Busy busy!

When I am not working away at my desk, or meeting some of our huge range of customers, I can be found drinking too much coffee, singing along with Perry, correcting grammar, laughing at Perry in yet another military costume or doing a mad little dance in reception to refresh the mind. Thanks to HANDS ON, I am now used to hearing things such as “How big an explosion do you want?”, “Half a dozen minge clamps please!” and “Are you taking the pistol?”

The year has flown by, and I have relished getting to grips with an annual marketing strategy, meeting a fabulous range of customers and hearing the tales of thirty years in the industry from Perry and Cheryl. One year might not seem that much to them, but I have managed to pack a lot in! 

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