The wedding industry is a big industry – and a fiercely competitive one at that. To make an impression, businesses operating within this market need to understand their audience and communicate their offering in the right way.
Oak Creative Design, a leading Kent-based digital design and marketing agency, part of the Holiday Extras Group, is ready to help ambitious organisations of all sizes and specialisms dive into this world of positioning their brand accurately.
In spring 2023, the team formed a new creative partnership with The Night Yard, a charming wedding venue located in the scenic heart of Kent, and throughout the year, have supported the business with many aspects of their brand and marketing development.
Nestled in the quaint village of Bridge, just 10 minutes from Canterbury, The Night Yard offers exclusive hire, ensuring that each wedding celebration is a unique and personalised experience. The professional team is dedicated to assisting couples throughout their wedding planning journey, guaranteeing not only a smooth-running wedding day, but a well-orchestrated planning process in the months leading up to the special occasion.
Established on a historic site dating back to 1898, The Night Yard originally served as a cattle shelter, and over the years, has been transformed into a serene and rustic wedding venue. It is surrounded by Kentish fruit orchards, providing a tranquil and picturesque setting for wedding celebrations, and the recent addition of a stunning glasshouse and courtyard further elevates the functionality of the venue, making it a perfect choice for couples seeking a blend of historic charm and modern elegance.
Oak Creative Design, a team of 11 creative professionals, was strategically placed to enhance The Night Yard’s brand, operating as a true extension of their team to provide a reliable resource to deliver agreed outputs and support overarching strategy. “We believe that partnerships are the most powerful way to do business, which is why we are so passionate about fostering close and long-lived relationships with businesses, understanding their needs and helping them achieve their goals collaboratively,” explains studio director Laura Bevan.
Having met the proprietor of The Night Yard several times, Oak Creative were invited to submit a proposal of how the two companies could work together on a creative partnership basis. “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate,” says Laura. “Following this, we had a discovery meeting with the team to understand more about the workings of the business and the challenges, in order to map out our suggested marketing plan for the year ahead. It was during this first meeting that a rapport was built, and we saw the huge potential to make a difference.”
A creative partnership with Oak Creative encompasses a tailored, strategic approach to brand and marketing development. All of this is centred around a set of defined marketing objectives which are established at the onset of the partnership. Oak Creative schedules monthly marketing activities, guides brand strategy and provides professional support to realise the goals. For The Night Yard, the partnership was structured to enhance brand awareness. Laura explains: “We operate as an extension of The Night Yard’s team, providing a reliable resource of creative professionals, supporting their overarching strategy and delivering agreed outputs, as well as ad-hoc ones.”
The creative partnership journey began with industry research, which was crucial to inform Oak Creative’s thinking early on and understand the market The Night Yard is competing in. From there, the team developed a feedback survey questionnaire to glean insights from enquirers and conducted an audit on past bride/grooms to understand why they chose The Night Yard as their wedding venue, and then worked closely with the team to review competitor research and spot key themes which emerged from the data gathered. Marketing manager Jessica Banks explains: “This was a foundational process to truly define The Night Yard’s offering and points of differentiation.”
Subsequently, Oak Creative crafted a crib sheet to identify customer personas, aiding the team in understanding their audience better. “A key part of our remit was to help the business elevate their offering to appeal to the right audience, so throughout the process, we made recommendations of how to do this,” says Jessica. “We also developed the brand by delving into the current content, pinpointed what was missing and redeveloped the brand to resonate with the right audience.”
In the deliverables phase, the team designed and built a bespoke website to inform and engage prospective clients. They also created a variety of templates for social media and designed a brochure which included a ‘plan your day’ pack for couples.
When Oak Creative started working with The Night Yard team, it was important to understand what the business wanted to accomplish in the next year. The key goal was to achieve an uplift in enquiries and an increased conversion of these to viewings, and then into bookings. A lead generation plan was established to identify the best communication channels to reach the business’ audience and an activity schedule was created for lead capture and follow-up. So far, The Night Yard has seen a 19% increase in average monthly enquiries year on year.
Driving traffic to the website was fundamental for online visibility and engagement. With this in mind, the website experience needed to convince browsers to enquire. Oak Creative used The Night Yard’s analytics data to understand how the current website was being used. From that, the team knew they wanted to achieve a higher average time spent on the website, specifically by improving user engagement and providing value that retains the audience’s attention, leading to valuable enquiries.
Laura explains that within the first three months of going live, they have seen 50-second uplift in time spent on the website and a 20% increase in mobile traffic. “At Oak Creative, we pride ourselves on helping businesses track the effectiveness of strategies implemented,” she states. “With measurable outcomes, businesses can make data-driven decisions to further optimise growth.”
Overall, the collaboration has proven to be incredibly successful, with the goals and outcomes for The Night Yard significantly contributing to enhancing the brand’s awareness and customer engagement, as well as directly impacting the business revenue growth. “Oak Creative and The Night Yard have set the foundations for a successful creative partnership, which we are confident will transpire into a long-lasting partnership,” says Laura. “We are focussed on maintaining a good level of wedding enquiries and bookings for 2024/5. This will remain the priority going forward and includes monthly social media planning, paid advertising and ongoing website performance reviews.”
Laura adds: “Whilst our remit so far has been focused on weddings, The Night Yard is an events venue which could be used for other leisure or business occasions. Our marketing and design support can be extended to facilitate these events, as well as continuing to use our learned operational understanding to diversify into other areas too.”