Lessons from a successful world record attempt
I spent most of Saturday working as part of a small team of volunteers attempting to set a new world record.
It was ultimately successful (pending verification, of course, from the officials at Guinness World Records).
Yes, England’s largest village in Cranleigh can now lay claim to the world record for “Largest Display of Painted Pebbles/Stones”.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, it might have escaped your attention that pebble painting, hiding and finding is a new craze sweeping the country, with local pebble painting groups in every town, village and city.
Breaking a world record is, I believe, something Financial Planners should consider doing for several marketing reasons.
Here are some of the critical lessons I learned from a successful world record attempt:
1 – It’s essential to understand the system
We decided we wanted an official world record, registered with Guinness World Records.
Their website is excellent, packed with useful resources. Spend some time reading through these to understand how it all works.
Most importantly, leave yourself plenty of time to make the record application. We didn’t. In fact, with 12-week lead time and only 11 weeks before our event date, we ended up paying for fast-track record approval.
2 – Don’t assume you need to break an existing record
As far as I can tell, breaking an existing record is a tough thing to do. For individual records, the current record holder is likely to be obsessive and with far too much time on their hands.
Even group records will, in most cases, take a lot of arduous work to break.
Therefore, if you can come up with a brand new record, you stand a better chance of success.
Don’t assume it will be a smooth ride though. There was no existing record for largest display of painted pebbles, so Guinness World Records found us a similar title to use as a benchmark, giving us a target of 1,150 to beat.
3 – Make your record attempt relevant
The organiser for our record attempt was our local Chamber of Commerce, with sponsorship from a local business.
To capture attention and rally support from various groups, we needed to come up with a record attempt that was relevant to the local community.
Our decision to plump for the painted pebbles title was based on a couple of deciding factors.
It’s a big year for our local In Bloom group, reaching the finals of RHS Britain in Bloom for the first time. The painted pebbles Facebook group in our village is lead by the In Bloom group, so that ties in nicely.
And the record attempt formed part of a Spring shopping event. Spring = flowers = painted pebbles in the shape of a flower. It all made sense.
4 – Take the planning seriously
Pulling off something like this is easy if you can break it down into simple steps, ticking each one off your list at the appropriate time.
On top of the application to Guinness World Records, staging an event in our village means:
-Applying to the local authority for a road closure order, with an associated traffic management plan and signage.
-Applying to the local authority for a street event licence, with an associated event management plan and risk assessment.
-Applying to the local authority for a street trading consent, to cover sales of food and drink.
-Finding enough volunteers for marshalling the event.
-Hiring the Village Hall as a contingency for bad weather.
-Sourcing food vendors to provide a market.
-Sourcing musicians for street entertainment.
-Finding a photographer (or two) to cover the event and supply great post-event publicity shots; more on this in a moment.
-Publicising the event through traditional and digital means. Printing flyers, posters and signs. Running a social media awareness campaign across Twitter and Facebook.
-Contacting the local press and getting them excited about the event.
None of this stuff is rocket science, but it can feel like hard work at the time. It helps to be organised, making lists and having regular meetings to check progress.
Things are bound to go wrong along the way. You need to have the right mindset to adapt and overcome these obstacles.
5 – Make the most of it
We were very fortunate to have the services of a professional photographer on the day, who documented the event with a series of very high-quality photos.
Immediately post-record attempt, you need to make available to news outlets your press release and links to these images.
The hard work doesn’t end when the record attempt finishes. This is the time to share it online, get the story placed in relevant media outlets, and build on those relationships established on the day.
What record titles could Financial Planners break?
The obvious answer is something to do with money!
You could attempt to create the longest line of coins, although it would need to exceed the current record of 75.24km – that’s a lot of spare change!
If you’re a semi-proficient runner with a penchant for dressing up, what about snagging a charity place at the London Marathon next year and attempting for the fastest time dressed as a *insert character* record?
Could you shine a spotlight on retirement planning, with the largest number of pensions started in a day? We don’t think there’s a record for this one, yet.
Whatever record you decide to break, we would love to chat about your plans for the campaign.
Photo credit: Joseph Denyer