Campaign: Speed Mentoring
Client: Adam Street Club
PR team: Threepipe Communications
Timescale: January -March 2005
Adam Street Club was founded for private members in 2001 by James Minter, a London-based businessman, as a social base for entrepreneurs and business people. Following interest in the idea of business mentoring and speed dating, Threepipe Communications approached the club with the proposal for 'speed mentoring'. Objectives
To increase membership of the club by ensuring it is seen as a place that brings together successful business leaders with young entrepreneurs.
To raise its profile with the media.
Strategy and Plan
Building on the principle of speed dating, Threepipe Communications devised a strategy to introduce young entrepreneurs in need of business and industry support - 'mentees' - to successful business people. It decided to hold a speed mentoring evening at the Adam Street Club premises, off the Strand, in March. Fifteen mentees would meet ten potential mentors for a maximum of five minutes to ascertain whether the 'couple' might bond and form a relationship.
To stir up interest in the event with the media, the team piggybacked publicity around a report from the New Economics Foundation. The report, 'Entrepreneurial Mentoring: A Key to Business Success' by Dr John Taylor, looked at how mentoring could be used to improve business success and foster a more entrepreneurial culture in Britain.
Threepipe used this report as a news hook to interest those publications popular with business leaders and the industry. It also attempted to grab the attention of the media by highlighting the business celebrities taking part in the event, such as Freeserve founding partner Julian Hardy.
To generate publicity outside the business specialist media, the team used the range of business celebrities, as well as the human interest angle, to target the wider media. National newspapers and broadcast news outlets were encouraged to latch on to the story via business features focusing on the individuals involved in the mentoring process.
Threepipe also emphasised that the speed mentoring event was the first of its kind, using the academic report to emphasise its cultural and business importance.
Measurement and Evaluation
The event prompted articles in the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Evening Standard, and was widely covered on the Chamber of Commerce website, and other sites such as Businesslink and startups.co.uk.
Threepipe says the Financial Times and The Times also intend to run pieces in the near future. CNN came to film on the night, and is now making a feature around a couple.
Membership of Adam Street Club rose by 30 per cent in March from the previous month. Similar events around the country are being considered, and Threepipe says a number of couples have got together since the occasion, with some mentors meeting two or three mentees.
'The story was an interesting twist on mentoring - a quirky, new idea that addressed a serious issue among entrepreneurs,' says Financial Times business correspondent Jonathan Moules.