Cardiff Hendre Lakes is a proposed new business district at the heart of the Cardiff Capital Region. Served by Cardiff Parkway railway station, the development has the potential to support around 6,000 jobs and become a transport hub opening up access to employment opportunities across the region. Alongside leading communications, engagement and consultation for the project to support it through planning, we were asked to create a brand that captures a strong sense of place and bring the whole project to life.
The project’s goal is to become a catalyst for growth, contributing to the regeneration of East Cardiff and the wider Cardiff Capital Region by attracting high-quality businesses and investment. The development, which is located to the south of St Mellons Business Park, aims to deliver jobs and investment to the local area while helping people to connect with a unique landscape. All communications needed to be available in Welsh and English.
As the site is within a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of the historically significant Gwent Levels, it was vital to address stakeholder concerns. Our aim was to build a relationship with the local community before the official consultation period to explain the project’s potential benefits and incorporate local knowledge and feedback. This would lay strong foundations for the subsequent pre-application consultation. The design and branding of communications needed to be welcoming and reassuring, as well as flexible enough to work in a bilingual context.
We ran a series of branding discovery workshops with stakeholders to create a brand and logo in a colour palette of tonal blues and greens inspired by the natural landscape. To ensure accessibility and inclusion, we chose a simple sans serif font that would work well for Welsh and English printed materials such as a series of booklets, newsletters and feedback forms to support the consultation process. A multi-language website allowed people to access this information in a digital format. Exhibition banners, posters and signage all supported face-to-face consultation events.
In the first phase of engagement, more than 190 people provided feedback. In the second phase, more than 400 people filled in the online feedback form. Members of the public complimented the accessibility of materials during events surrounding the consultation.
The project has also now achieved the Governance for Railway Investment Projects 3 (GRIP 3) certificate from Network Rail, a process that ensures projects go through rigorous quality control.
Transport East is the sub-national transport body for the East of England. The partnership was developing its first transport strategy, and Copper was appointed to support early stakeholder engagement. Our role was to ensure the Transport East team effectively engaged with stakeholders and the public to create a strategy representative of the needs and ambitions of communities in the region.
A sub-national transport body in the area had been mooted for many years, yet it had never materialised. As a result, aligning political and wider stakeholders with opposing views on infrastructure investment and decarbonisation had the potential to be challenging.
In addition, while adult residents were an important target group, the Transport Strategy spans 30 years meaning young people in the area will feel its impact most. Their needs and views were vital to the project’s success.
Our approach was to create multiple accessible opportunities for engagement for every stakeholder group. However, COVID-19 restrictions necessitated a purely digital engagement strategy. To meet the different communication needs of each audience and ensure input from groups representative of the area, we adapted traditional engagement techniques to the digital environment.
Digital accessibility was a priority. By selecting user-friendly, interactive engagement tools, we brought new voices into the conversation, even those hard to reach.
We also ran a series of online workshops designed to allow as many people as possible to help shape the strategy to meet the needs of the masses, facilitating online meetings with 100+ stakeholders.
With an equal focus on securing input from future users of the region’s transport network, we designed and delivered a targeted campaign for young people aged 11-13 in preparation for future engagement during consultation.
Ensuring the Transport East partnership stayed updated and supportive of plans, we delivered briefings with partner authorities, the Transport East Senior Officer Group and Transport East’s annual Transport Summit.
Utilising our knowledge of the region and large-scale projects, the Transport East team secured meaningful, representative, qualitative and quantitative feedback to influence the transport strategy and set the foundations for successful consultation.
We helped introduce Transport East to a wider group stakeholders in the region, providing a platform for its campaign in front of key figures in the industry and building brand reputation.
We laid strong foundations, setting the standard for future stakeholder engagement in the region, while earning public trust that the Transport Strategy will come to fruition.
The London Resort is a proposed world-class, sustainable, next-generation entertainment resort on the banks of the River Thames. As the first of its kind, the project called for best practice, innovative consultation and engagement. Copper was brought on board to deliver a comprehensive communications campaign capable of building support for this unique project, while delivering compliant consultation to support the planning process.
There was a commitment to investors to submit the project planning application by the end of 2020, which necessitated consultation and engagement activities being delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic at a time where traditional consultation techniques were not possible. We therefore needed to innovate to ensure a compliant consultation and generate advocacy for the project. However, digital-only statutory consultation was unchartered territory.
We adopted a digital-first approach, primarily driven by disruption caused by the pandemic yet with benefits beyond overcoming national COVID-19 restrictions. It was the first time a digital-only approach was applied in a UK Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and required a highly specialised programme.
Central to the approach was making the consultation user-focused to reach a diverse audience, including those who prefer to access information digitally and those who would normally have chosen to attend public events and in-person meetings. The campaign was designed to ensure it was an inclusive, engaging experience for stakeholders using innovative tools and techniques.
We maximised the use of state-of-the-art tools and online platforms, including a project website, social media channels, dedicated consultation webinars and a virtual consultation room.
The virtual consultation room was made interactive. Using digital banners, visitors were able to look around the room from a computer or mobile device, with the project proposals explained in a way that was easy to understand. The proposals were also made available in audio format.
To avoid the risk of digital exclusion we supplemented digital innovation with traditional consultation methods, including:
- community information leaflets delivered to households in nearby areas
- telephone surgeries for representatives from seldom heard groups
- hard copies of consultation materials produced ensuring all stakeholders’ needs could be met
We also utilised press, paid-for print and digital advertising, plus partnership promotion to extend the campaign’s reach as far as possible.
Our digital-first approach delivered a legally compliant consultation that successfully supported the planning process. As a result, it was accepted for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate. The strategy also enabled the client to meet the investor commitment to submit plans in 2020.
By incorporating a user-focused approach, we maximised the effectiveness of the publicity and advocacy campaign which was integral to the project’s successful Development Consent Order (DCO) application, making London Resort the first business or commercial project to reach such a milestone.
Delivering state-of-the-art digital consultation enabled us to widen the reach of the consultation. Combined with the unique nature of the theme park, the digital strategy created a dedicated following for the project, with 65% of people agreeing it will benefit the local area. Support was sufficiently strong we were able to utilise the advocacy to leverage our efforts towards gaining DCO acceptance.
HyNet North West is an innovative carbon capture and hydrogen project to unlock a low carbon economy for the North West and North Wales. It will put the region at the forefront of the UK’s drive to net zero. By creating the UK’s first low-carbon hydrogen cluster, the project seeks to provide clean hydrogen energy for the future, de-carbonise the region’s heavy industry, protect existing jobs and create thousands of new ones.
As the project moved towards a more public-facing stage, we were engaged to evolve the HyNet North West brand and tasked to create a communications campaign to support the launch of the public consultation for the first stage of the project.
We developed the UI designs and redeveloped the HyNet webite, simplifying the navigation and streamlining information. We created a series of graphics and assets that could be utilised across multiple channels, as well as on the website.
Sitting alongside the website, we developed a consultation microsite to support the first consultation on the HyNet North West project. The look and feel reflected the overarching HyNet brand.
We develop social graphics to support HyNet’s key messages, encourage engagement and explain complex concepts to stakeholders and the public We develop social graphics to support HyNet’s key messages, encourage engagement and explain complex concepts to stakeholders and the public.
HyNet North West is made up of several different projects, the first of which is a carbon capture pipeline. We designed and delivered an animation to help explain key elements of the project in an accessible way, enabling people to easily respond to the project’s public consultation.
The public responded very favourably to the campaign. There were more than 8,000 visits to the consultation hub website during the non-statutory consultation period, driven by promotional materials and social media.
We saw a marked increase in social media engagement across multiple channels, with Twitter seeing a 279% increase in impressions, LinkedIn experiencing a 303% increase in new followers and HyNet North West’s Facebook account having more than an 8,433% increase in engagement.
The campaign built a positive platform for future stages of consultation and engagement needed for HyNet North West to succeed.