Categories
Blog

Don’t get left behind: the importance of communication

Why do some property and regeneration projects succeed while others fail? According to analysts Gartner, the main reason for a failed architecture project is lack of communication. Projects sank as stakeholders misinterpreted the designers’ ideas, and the vision was not successfully communicated to the potential buyers.

For those projects that do get off the ground, lack of communication often leads to trouble down the line (see our blog on the subject).

So communication – internal as well as external – has a critical role to play.

To get a project off of the ground takes effective communication between everyone involved: developers, contractors, engineers, planning consultants, agents, environmental consultants, the list goes on. If the project is to be a commercial success, there are the end users to think about, as well as the wider stakeholder groups, including the site’s neighbours and, of course, the planning authorities.

Ideally, everyone involved will be united behind a clear vision.

One crucial aspect of this is in the management of public relations and marketing communications around property developments and regeneration projects. There are often issues with individual parties doing their own thing and minor partners in projects often feel they are left behind when the lead partners go public. This is not only unfair, it’s bad for business. Just as you should want to encourage and promote the people who work for you, so it makes sense to give everyone involved in a project their moment in the sun. Do this well, and the reach of the overall PR and marketing effort can be extended across a wider variety of media and other channels than is the case when one partner goes it alone.

So how do you coordinate PR around a property or regeneration project?

There needs to be an initial briefing stage at the beginning of the project, for everyone involved. For this to be effective, you need to establish who will lead on PR. Good PR means that everyone will be represented, from those in charge of the project to those playing a supporting role. A stumbling block that many new projects face is getting approval for press releases and other content, and keeping track of what has been published. A system must be put in place whereby all draft content can be approved quickly and efficiently. There also needs to be a crisis plan for dealing with any negative situations that may arise.

Consider involving a PR and communications agency. We are experts at communication. We know how to communicate with people at all levels to keep them informed and win support. A lead agency for your project can coordinate with all the partners’ own PR teams to ensure messages are consistent and everyone has an opportunity to benefit from the success of the project.

From the initial consultation, through the planning process and into the marketing of the finished development, a good PR agency takes the pressure off you, keeps stakeholders together and smooths the path to a successful outcome.

If you need help getting your project off of the ground, give us a call today on 0116 254 4472.

Categories
Blog

Tell your story or someone else will do it for you

Like nature, the media abhors a vacuum.

 

The Guardian’s Nils Pratley sympathises with Sir Philip Green’s grumblings about the unrestrained conduct of MPs grilling him over the collapse of BHS, but he also feels Sir Philip could have waged a smarter PR campaign in the wake of the department store’s downfall. Pratley says the retail tycoon should have moved quickly to give his version of events, but instead his claim to have sold BHS to a credible buyer has slowly been eroded by other witnesses.

 

Few individuals in business or the public sector face the same kind of media and political scrutiny. Nor do they neatly fit into a vogue theme stereotype (in this case ‘fat cat boss’), but that doesn’t mean they can afford to ignore the media (including social media).

 

If you do not build and manage your reputation in the media and online, someone else will likely do it for you.

 

Organisations in the property and regeneration sector – private and public – frequently get into scrapes by proposing schemes without properly planning for the PR scenarios that will unfold when they go public.

 

This means that the news reaches affected communities as a surprise, and the shockwaves can quickly turn into an organised opposition campaign. I have heard tales of this happening, even when the planned development was overwhelmingly a good thing for the local area.

 

In one London borough, social housing residents were to be relocated before being rehoused in brand new homes in the same place that far exceeded the specifications of their existing flats and houses. There was a furore but as soon as they understood what was really happening, it died away. The communications campaign that eventually solved the problem should have been done ahead of time. It would have avoided the unpleasantness that manifested itself after residents tried to work out what was happening without the full knowledge they needed. In the absence of facts, they filled in the gaps with conjecture and misinformation, and the whole sorry story unfolded.

 

It is important to properly manage stakeholder engagement and prepare the ground before conducting a genuine public consultation, rather than a box-ticking exercise. Ensure the media are professionally briefed to that they are fully informed with the thinking behind any development.

 

Doing this well can not only avert a potential crisis but also smooth the path through planning consent as well as commercial and broader PR success as new developments and urban neighbourhoods integrate successfully with the wider community.