Nested strategic messages and actions for the canal estate in Scotland

Scottish Canals communications strategy document
Scottish Canals comms strategy

The canal network in Scotland has been regenerated over the past 20 years to provide an enhanced environment for recreation, water-based transport and environmental protection. Since the old British Waterways organisation evolved in Scotland in 2012 to become Scottish Canals the focus within the organisation has been on reimagining the 250-year-old inland waterways from derelict and under-used industrial transport arteries into regeneration corridors for tourism and the natural environment.

Scotland's canals in numbers infographic
Scotland’s canals in numbers infographic [Scottish Canals]

The organisation has aligned its purpose to the wider Scottish Government aims for the country, and in the latest versions of the Scottish Canals Strategic Plan and Marketing & Communications Strategy documents covering the period from 2020 to 2023, the wider social, cultural and environmental purpose for the organisation and the waterway network has become much more clearly articulated.

Strategic plans can sometimes be somewhat turgid documents, and not necessarily accessible to wider audiences. This is not the case with the Scottish Canal document, moreso if read alongside the communications strategy. Whilst the focus of the organisation is on the cultural and environmental stewardship of a defined waterways and associated land estate, the opportunities for the organisation to play an important role of far wider relevance becomes evident as the management of that estate provides lessons and opportunities of what can be done with the repurposing of heritage and environmental assets and altering the perception for stakeholders and users.

The vision for the organisation has shifted to how people positively interact with the canal estate as green and blue infrastructure, and a set of thematic messages and engagements relevant to different audiences are clearly presented as nested within the requirements of the organisation which at its heart is a combined estate/asset management and stewardship function. The context for the nested messaging is completed by showing the relationship to the wider published Scottish Government ‘Purpose’ against which all publicly funded bodies align themselves.

Our vision is for Scotland’s canals to be a world-class waterway network with a thriving natural environment built upon 250 years of history that benefits communities and all users who live, work, visit and play along our canals.

Scottish Canals vision
Nested messages and engagement by Scottish Canals sit within organisational priorities and broader Government aims
Nested messages and engagement by Scottish Canals which sit within organisational priorities and broader Government aims

The follow-through of purpose to function to message is neatly presented diagrammatically, and the documents effectively provide insight and greater profile for the organisation, and as a good example of the logic and ongoing development of transparent and inclusive corporate planning for organisations in the heritage sector.

Academic journals: European Journal of Marketing

Journal summary: Whilst the European Journal of Marketing retains a European brand identity it is a truly international journal, actively encouraging global contributions from scholars across the broad domain of marketing. It covers a wide range of research traditions within marketing, particularly encouraging innovative ideas in conceptual developments and research methodologies. The EJM is not preferentially disposed towards either empirical work or pure theory, nor towards one particular method or approach.

Publisher: Emerald

Website: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/ejm.htm

Access: Subscription; some open-access articles

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Cross-selling of heritage – 80 years on. #heritageguides

Various features of the 1937 edition of the Official Guide to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Abbey & Environs have been covered already in recent posts. The guide also uses a number of pages at the back of the book to cross-sell not only other sites in the care of the Government, but also the range of guidebooks which HMSO had begun to prepare for them.

holyroodabbeyguide1937-i

In contrast to similar lists in other site guidebooks of the period, this section provides a distinct tone of voice in the promotion of sites in state care – suggesting that, “..it is not perhaps sufficiently realised that a large number of our most precious national monuments are not in the charge of the State and are being preserved and made accessible to the public, who for a small charge (usually not more than 6d.) are able to visit them.”

The section goes on to use a somewhat convoluted system of italics and capitals to highlight guides available, those in preparation and the prices of them.  The series of Regional Guides to Ancient Monuments (mentioned elsewhere) is noted as being in course of publication.

It is worth noting that the summer opening hours for sites are longer than current site opening schedules – closing at 7 or 8 p.m!