Supporting Cultivate Christchurch to tell their story

Cultivate Christchurch gives local youth the chance to unleash their potential. Their urban produce farms provide training and employment opportunities for Christchurch’s disadvantaged youth and supply organically-grown vegetables to local cafés, restaurants and families. The team also operates the central city’s only green-waste collection, which is turned into compost to nourish the soil at Cultivate’s farms.

With several new and exciting developments ahead, and substantial growth on the horizon, Cultivate was conscious that they needed a plan to keep their current stakeholders up-to-date, plus reach new markets as their produce sales expanded.

They got in touch with The Word Lab with the aim of building a foundation marketing and communications strategy. The team also wanted to refine their messaging to ensure they could effectively engage new and existing customers, and supporters.

With a minimal budget and a desire to execute most of their communications in-house for sustainability purposes, we needed to develop a plan that would focus Cultivate’s efforts for maximum impact.

Image by  Clinton Lloyd Photography  who kindly donated his services to Cultivate Christchurch.

Image by Clinton Lloyd Photography who kindly donated his services to Cultivate Christchurch.

Starting with research

Lead Communications Consultant Hannah began by reading up on all the previous work done by the Cultivate team and other experts they have brought in to help develop the business. At The Word Lab, we strongly believe in looking backwards before we move forward.

We then led a workshop with the team and put them through a basic exercise to get more details on each of their target audience groups – their ideal hospitality customers, personal shoppers and supporters. An understanding of audience groups, the core messages they need to hear and the channels they interact with is crucial to the success of any marketing and communications activity. As Cultivate progresses, they will be able to drill down and further segment their audiences to get more and more targeted with their activity.

After the workshop, we began developing the strategy with the team, calling on the expertise of key staff at Cultivate and seeking feedback from the Board. Collaboration throughout the strategic process is essential, as people within a business know their work best. We bring an objective, outside perspective, but it’s important to draw on internal knowledge every step of the way.

Developing a strategy that puts ‘why’ first

The resulting marketing and communications strategy puts Cultivate’s ‘why’ at the fore – focusing on their work with youth as their key brand story. It includes core messages for each target audience group and recommends channels that Cultivate can use to build a strong foundation for communicating with their stakeholders, within their budget. We also developed content pillars for Cultivate to use to guide the types of content they feature across digital channels, including Facebook, Instagram, e-newsletters and blogs.

The importance of action planning

After reviewing the strategy with the team, we put together an action plan for the first three months to ensure that Cultivate could make positive steps forward towards achieving their goals. Action planning is often the missing piece of a marketing and communications strategy, however it’s this finer detail that we find really gets things moving for clients.

And they’re off to a flying start!

We’re excited to see Cultivate already using their social media channels to tell their story much more effectively. Their fresh produce list email has also been implemented and they’re using our favourite online project management tool Asana to plan out future content. We look forward to seeing the team update other channels and begin to share more stories and news over the coming months.

Well done for making such big strides forward already Cultivate. We’re honoured to have had the chance to work with you and look forward to touching base on future marketing and communications planning soon.


Client feedback

“Working with Hannah and The Word Lab is a dream. Our organisation has minimal budget for this type of professional work and so first of all, it was amazing how Hannah managed to find support for us from ChristchurchNZ to complete this project. The structure of what we have now is just what we had hoped for and more. Hannah is clearly on top of the communications game and everything she has suggested has worked well for realising our objectives.” - Bailey Peryman, Co-Founder.