SE100 2020 Storyteller award winner: GLL

The Storyteller award recognises social ventures that have created and delivered a brilliant communications campaign to drive the impact and scale of their activity.

Celebrating the social enterprise part of its identity has proved profitable for GLL (known to its customers as Better), the UK’s largest social enterprise leisure provider with 400 facilities across the UK. At the start of 2019, the enterprise launched a new marketing campaign to attract millennials away from private budget and boutique operators that were threatening its market share.

The ‘I Choose’ campaign aimed to raise awareness of the brand’s USP as a social business, telling the story through staff and customers’ own words and highlighting its values of community, people over profits and investment in promising young athletes. It led to a record number of new members and a boost in membership income. 

The 'I Choose' campaign is one of the projects that we are most proud of

The SE100 judges praised the “well-planned and executed campaign” which used real stories as its primary content – and which got results. 

National marketing manager David Lionetti and corporate communications manager Charles Dean were delighted to hear the news when Pioneers Post called them to say they had won. “It’s one of the projects that we are most proud of,” said Dean. 

Currently, the covid-19 crisis means that GLL’s leisure centres and libraries are closed. It also runs children’s centres which remain open for key workers and vulnerable families. Like so many other organisations it has thrown its weight behind online delivery, which is working really well for libraries, points out Dean. These are now offering book clubs, sing and sign classes and a wealth of information via the internet.

Nevertheless, the enterprise’s tills aren’t ringing as they usually would and more than 10,000 of the 13,000 staff are furloughed. GLL is in tough negotiations with local councils to help top up furloughed staff’s pay from 80 per cent to 100 per cent. The situation is critical, but “of course we are going to survive”, says Dean.


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