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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 71 - September 1992

From the Publicity Officer - Phil Marsh


Phil who? (see last Quainton News), is now trying his hand as the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Publicity Officer.

This title will probably mean different things to different people. Because Publicity has many sides to it, I will try to explain the different areas that I am concerned with. Publicity could be best described as raising awareness and the profile of your given subject to retain existing and to attract extra Business.


Advertising

This itself can be split into several areas.

On-site advertising is currently done by stencilling a message onto a cheap looking blank poster. This will never look good until a proper Bucks Railway Centre background is provided. Other signs, handwritten on the day as and when required, might do the job but do not give out a professional image to our customers. It is hoped to introduce Buckinghamshire Railway Centre special message posters soon.

Press advertising takes two forms. The first is the paid for advert which we all see and understand. The other sort of advertising is the form of a Press Release. I have posted some of these in the mess-room to keep members informed. Press releases must be informative so that they will appear as articles in the relevant publication. They must not just be a free advert for us or they will not get printed. They must not be issued every week or they will be ignored . I work very closely with our Marketing Company, Caxton, in this area.

Radio and TV are other media for advertising. The Commercial section has done several radio interviews this season so far. These are free and have the capability for a large audience.


Leaflets and Posters

This is probably the most obvious form of publicity. Because of various deals this year we have reprinted our main leaflet at no extra cost. I intend to introduce a stock control system so we do not run out in July but still manage to throw out thousands two years later when they are found in a cupboard. I hope to do a deal with the Library service in this area.


Liaising with British Rail

Publicity also takes the form of quietly talking to BR about future eventualities. I am fortunate to work in the Headquarters Business Unit of Regional Railways which means I have to liaise with Network SouthEast, Regional Railways and InterCity on a day to day basis concerning communication and retail matters.

To get our Centre known to all BR staff, I have written several articles which have been published in the RailNews, the in-house paper of BR which goes to over 100,000 staff.

This raising of our awareness with opinion formers can only help the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre to survive and prosper. This awareness was probably at an all time low until the present Commercial Dept started its activities.


Helping British Rail

The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre can help BR in several ways. We can ensure that help given to us is recognized in the local community. We can offer their customers certain benefits to give their products an added value attraction at no cost to NSE and little cost to us. We have also been negotiating several joint marketing schemes with both NSE Headquarters and their Thames & Chiltern Division. These will become apparent as time goes on. if we get agreement.


Sponsors and Sponsorship

Publicity attracts sponsors. If we create a good constant high profile with the outside world, people will want to be part of it. Companies will donate things to us in return for their name being exposed to our 50,000 visitors every year. This comes back to on-site advertising. This will become apparent as 1992 goes on in various ways.


Membership

We have not increased our membership significantly in recent years. With the publicity being generated by the Commercial Dept and the professional image we wish to introduce, we should attract new members. This brings cash and hopefully, a new workforce to assist the 10% of current members that struggle on. So, the better we run the Centre the more people and companies are attracted and we get on an upward spiral.


Identity

Identity is a very emotive subject. For example, should L99 be Maroon, BR Black or Great Western Green? It is my aim to promote our site as the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. People will then know what we, the papers and the radio are talking about.


Conclusions

I hope that this article explains what I am setting out to do. Publicity is a wide and varied subject. The Centre has tremendous potential. Several major schemes are being progressed. Some are known about, some are confidential at present. If we act in a businesslike fashion we convince all interested parties that we are worth doing business with. You can help by helping the few who are regulars on site. The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre will be associated with a value-for-money quality day out.

I will not stand for bureaucracy for its own sake. I will probably continue to make some people unhappy with what I'm doing and the way I'm doing it, but I see it as doing my bit to get the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre recognized as a premier Preserved Railway Centre. We are not sloppy in our training and running so we must not be sloppy in other areas especially our appearance. This must apply to staff and infrastructure.

The role of the Publicity officer is varied as I wrote at the start. It can be high profile, with VIP's and the media, or being anonymous sorting things out behind the scenes. The job is made easier when we all know what we are aiming at. Sometimes I can start a scheme and it will be finished by someone else. The reverse is true. There is no place for people on an ego trip in the Commercial Dept, (but you do get a quiet sense of satisfaction at times)!

I am usually on site if you with to ask me anything or wish to give me an idea for evaluation.


qn_71_01.jpg (62,193 bytes)

Photo: Bruce Murray (right) receives the nameplates from Jeff Powell, Sales Director of Rydon Signs Ltd.


Reinforcing the Identity of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

Bruce Murray travelled to Exeter recently to collect nameplates from Rydon Signs Ltd. They were presented by Sales Director Jeff Powell. These signs are one metre across and will be strategically placed around Quainton Road.

This is the start of Phil Marsh seeking to raise awareness of our Identity and the profile of the site by reinforcing our Identity. Other changes in presentation will become apparent throughout the remainder of 1992. These stem from giving out maybe a dozen complimentary tickets to selected companies.

Major companies around the world seek to raise their profile by seeking a striking Identity. From this comes instant brand/product recognition by potential customers. The best example of this is the BR double arrow sign. If you are looking for a station in any town, you instantly recognize the double arrow sign pointing the way to the station. When people see Buckinghamshire Railway Centre adverts / articles / signs or publicity, I want instant recognition of what we have to offer.

The Commercial Dept. is progressing several schemes which involve us receiving various items with the manufacturer's name receiving high profile in return.

The first example of outside sponsorship was demonstrated at the Wheelpower '92 weekend. The publicity was designed by the 'Perfect Circle' in Aylesbury, copy was written by Phil who?, coordinated by 'Kall Kwick' in Aylesbury and printed by Network SouthEast. The money saved by us has been put into producing a revised leaflet to run from July 1992 to April 1993. This will put us in front of the other preserved Railways publicity-wise.

John Hardwicke of 'Kall Kwick', Aylesbury will be printing our September 'Thomas' stationery for us thus raising his profile with the local public.

Nick Raine of 'The Perfect Circle' has agreed to provide us with branded posters for our use in return for us promoting their name on-site. This followed a presentation of the original artwork for the Wheelpower '92 poster to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

If any member who is in a position to do a similar deal involving sponsorship please let Phil who? know. The deal is that the Bucks Railway Centre receives equipment etc, for no cost in return for free publicity for the sponsor concerned on-site. The main selling point for us is that about 50000 visitors will come here in 1992. Names will also be "dropped" in media interviews and press releases by myself. This leads to many potential customers for our sponsors.


Notes:
The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1992 and so does not reflect events in the 20+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Reference:
From the Publicity Officer - Phil Marsh - Quainton News No. 71 - September 1992


Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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