Brand repositioning and shifting perceptions, creatively

Challenge

Not so long ago, RWE was synonymous with fossil-fuelled power stations. But with an ambition to support the UK’s net zero goals, it has committed to invest £15bn in renewable generation in the UK. The business is rapidly changing, and we are tasked with helping the RWE team tell its evolving story and introduce this new chapter to shift perceptions.

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Insight

With foundations as owner/operator of fossil-fuelled power stations, RWE’s ‘green’ reputation was little known in UK markets. To achieve its aspirations and contribute to positive change, RWE needed to transform its narrative and reach strategic audiences to reposition itself in the UK.

Supporting investment and development aspirations required better relationships with statutory, political and community stakeholders. RWE’s new strategy and its impact on the UK was largely unknown, and educating those with influence was critical. Positively influencing at a national, regional and local level was also on RWE’s agenda, so securing a greater share of voice in UK policymaking was necessary.

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Strategy

Our approach to this phase, was a sustained, multi-channel communications campaign to illustrate and reiterate the new brand and corporate strategy. Evaluation of the old brand through polling and assessment of media and stakeholder sentiment gave us insight into share of voice, reputation and impact. It also highlighted key issues to be addressed through proactive engagement. We translated the big picture and in-depth insight into a comprehensive brand repositioning strategy with measurable actions.

Amplify

Already an integrated part of the RWE team, we were able to overlay gathered insight with an in-depth understanding of the business to develop a targeted campaign. A highly effective programme revolving around digital and social content laid the foundations for reaching critical audiences. Videos, animations, and graphics, delivered primarily via LinkedIn, visually brought the story to life. Copper’s creative team set the creative direction, developed the script, and collaborated with our digital experts to transform concepts into content. At the same time, we developed thought leadership pieces to begin to build RWE’s profile in the clean energy arena. Such assets supported our high-level media relations campaign and stakeholder engagement strategy designed to secure the attention of those most influential in the space.

Outcome

The strategy achieved significant success for RWE, launching it onto the national stage, contributing to key conversations around renewables. We secured agenda-setting coverage in the Financial Times, Daily Telegraph and the Scotsman, and the BBC and Reuters. Significant exposure activity combined with a focus on high-level stakeholder engagement culminated in RWE holding a prominent role in the UK investment summit hosted by the Prime Minister. While further afield, we secured regional engagement with Welsh and Scottish devolved authorities and influencers.

Perceptions of the RWE brand shifted, it enjoys a greater share of voice and significant influence in relation to renewable generation in the UK. RWE is still on this journey and we continue to provide strategic and tactical support.

Challenge

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is part of the Government’s strategy to keep the lights on in the UK. National Grid is building a high-voltage grid connection for the project, between Bridgwater and Seabank near Avonmouth. In 2009, we were tasked to develop and deliver a consultation strategy to support the Development Consent Order application. We have been retained ever since, taking this major project from planning through to construction. The project is in construction, and we continue to support National Grid and its contractors. Our team also works to protect and enhance National Grid’s reputation to leave a positive legacy for the project.

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Insight

Hinkley Point C is a nationally significant infrastructure project and a major investment in the region’s electricity network. However there was significant local opposition to the proposals throughout the planning and development stages. This posed a risk to the project if it were to continue into the construction stage. We needed to switch the communications approach from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ and reposition the narrative to concentrate on the project’s benefits.

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Strategy

We worked closely with National Grid’s team to identify and promote positive stories about the project. We used this as the foundation to develop and implement a sustainable programme of project communications to meet the formal requirements of the Development Consent Order.

To minimise the risks of project delays, opposition and criticism we provide clear and timely information to stakeholders about the work in their area too, and quickly respond to any concerns. We devised procedures to inform and update local communities and other stakeholders about construction work and the steps National Grid and its contractors take to reduce local impact. We also put processes in place to monitor the mood of local communities, allowing us to identify and respond rapidly to any emerging issues.

Amplify

Since construction started, we have communicated with more than 10,000 households. We also maintain and regular update a project website, making it the ‘go to’ place for stakeholders to learn the latest information. We have established positive relationships with local community groups and parish councils and use these links to help spread information as widely as possible. Should there be any concerns amongst the public, a responsive 24-hour contact centre service enables the local community to get a swift response.

Outcome

Despite the highly disruptive nature of the work, there is widespread public acceptance of the project. A minimal number of complaints have been received and no issues have been escalated by local residents or community stakeholders to the media or their elected members. These successes have given National Grid the confidence to reposition the project narrative going forward. In the future, communications and engagement will place an even greater emphasis on the positive impact and benefits National Grid will bring to the area over the next five years and beyond.

Overview

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.

Activity

Website
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.

Consultation hub
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.

Social
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.

Animation
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.

Outcome

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.

Challenge

Long-standing client CK Delta (data specialist and part of CK Hutchison Holdings) wanted to enhance its reputation as a data insight specialist in target sectors, in particular trade media publications and third-party organisations. It wanted to build on its corporate reputation to increase engagement with thought leaders and opinion formers to drive future business growth.

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Insight

While CK Delta has a portfolio spanning retail, utilities, tourism, energy and transport sectors, it wanted to increase its profile among senior corporate decision-makers and industry leaders. CK Delta needed to establish meaningful engagement with opportunities that shifted perception from supplier to industry leader and influencer.

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Strategy

We proposed a three-phased approach to deliver the most impactful engagement: Listen and learn, strategise and plan, and deliver. By utilising market data, competitor analysis and target audience mapping, we built a communications programme with an in-depth understanding of CK Delta’s business at its core. From this, three workstreams comprising Insight, Expertise and Influence were delivered to maximise the campaign’s coverage and influence.

Amplify

Our Insight workstream concentrated on showcasing CK Delta’s in-depth knowledge through a series of specialist white papers and reports, positioning CK Delta as the go-to commentator on a series of issues. The Expertise workstream focused on PR via trade press and LinkedIn. At the same time, the Influence workstream maintained the momentum of the campaign through a series of webinars, roundtables and events that brought together key targets.

Outcome

The campaign significantly boosted brand recognition for CK Delta, placing the company at the forefront of industry discussion. We actively created opportunities for the leadership team to engage with key clients and prospects, and they continue to receive invitations to participate in industry events. CK Delta’s presence in key trade titles has increased considerably, as has its business growth target results. We are retained by CK Delta on an ongoing basis to deliver corporate and B2B communications.