Northumberland national park

Naughty Northumbrian


Bring cycling into the heart of rural economies.

There have always been cycling events in the Coquet Valley, a rural area situated in one of the ten English National Parks. 

For whatever reason, the events had failed to capitalise on the undoubted assets close at hand - expansive terrain, welcoming locals, steep-sided valleys and over 7,000 hectares of crop woodland. 

Our task was to change the perception of events held in this area, from "backwater, miserable" to "best in class", widen the demographic funnel of riders attending and as a by-product, establish Northumberland as venue worth considering as a cycling destination for keen hobbyists. 


Data, research and strategy

Before we took on this project, we first had to find out exactly what was driving people away, and secondly, understand if that was something we could fix.

Using a mixture of Instagram story surveys and more traditional Google questionnaire forms, we quickly got a handle on where improvements could be made to the event. It was then our job to communicate this back to other stakeholders and implement a comprehensive brand strategy

We started by creating a new, solid brand name that represented the event as it was - a hard event, but light-hearted. The next step was to start ramping up media across social - primarily Facebook - this is where our data was clearest and allowed us to attack the market with clarity. 

Our initial pre-race launch video garnered a cool 60k in organic views, and that set our stall out. We focussed on short, sharp, snappy and ephemeral social-media friendly posts of under 20 seconds. Using text overlays on all videos, we communicated key information with strong visuals in one format. 

Using our network in the cycling industry, we brought in key influencers to help us build reach along with ensuring that every specialist press outlet was running features on this "new and unique event" .  

Having a wealth of varied touchpoints pre-event was critical in an oversubscribed market. 





Re-setting the conversation for wild events

Since 2017, The Naughty Northumbrian has welcomed 2000 riders to this remote area from across the UK. 

We helped engineer a 102% growth rate in terms of competitors between 2018 and 2019, and armed the team at the Naughty with a comprehensive data package of demographics - from age, gender, geographically data to spend. All of this would not have been possible without a strategy. 

The media the event attracted went from 0 specialist press pieces to 12 in 2019 - hitting a circulation of 1.2 million unique viewers. We saw an extra 1,231 images enter the #naughtynorthumbrian tag on Instagram, and helped acquire over 18,000 unique views on Instagram story content over the event weekend. We also took the brands 12 month owned-content views up to 82,500 organic video views - Not bad for an event only 3 years old.  Of course, the event also worked hard for the brand, earning another 12 video creations by 3rd parties - helping create a feeling of inclusiveness. 

Lastly, a GVA study found that the 2019 Naughty Northumbrian generated £148,000 of primary and secondary spend into the region over two days. 

By managing the brand and media under one roof, we have ensured that the Naughty has truly defined itself as a unique event, and one that enters nearly 1/8th of all competing mountain bikers calendars in the UK each year as well having a positive impact on the local community.