Housebuilder seeks comms support with challenging project
A national housebuilder engaged Fabrick to provide media relations and tenant liaison on a highly challenging and sensitive project that would see residents having to move out of their property for a number of weeks whilst a major maintenance & improvement works programme was carried out at one of its sites.
It was anticipated there would be a number of concerns and communications challenges raised by the residents. Fabrick was to manage the communications to keep everyone informed of project updates, to help support the decant strategy, to provide a clear and personal approach to ongoing communications, to address misconceptions and misunderstandings and to manage the reputation of our client.
With a range of different nationalities, ages and property ownership to consider, Fabrick created and implemented a multi-channel communications strategy to ensure the objectives were met.
This involved communication creation (online and offline), the production of residents’ information packs, social media monitoring and liaising with local media. In addition, we coordinated door-to-door delivery of information to residents and planned and delivered a series of open weekends, enabling tenants to come and talk face-to-face with the team.
Fabrick took a phased approach to the communications. Phase one was prior to the works start date and was to provide a comprehensive communications strategy. This was to design and enable us to formulate a strategic approach that all of the team could adhere to, produce a Q&A document and provide briefings for site operatives. It was also designed to collect contact information, encourage tenants and leaseholders to approach us for further information and build trust with the Resident Liaison Officer. It was designed to ensure we were providing residents with answers without causing anxiety or stress to residents.
Phase one was purposely created to be flexible. This allowed us to be agile in the details we were able to provide – e.g. changing start dates and logistical issues around moving tenants out of their properties – without being seen to be unhelpful or allusive. As we moved closer to works beginning we took a much more informative, focused and personalised approach to the communications. This required us to split the strategy in two to ensure that we were able to reach residents on a personal level but also inform those regularly who are not facing imminent works.
These strategies were broken down into:
- Generic development communications (GDC)
- Involved tenant/owner communications (ITOC)
This two-pronged strategy ensured we could communicate more effectively depending on which stage we were at with each individual on the development.
1 We created a clearly defined strategy that outlined our commitment to communicating project updates, supporting the decant strategy, and providing a clear and personal approach.
2 We created a series of tools designed to enable conversation with tenants and leaseholders.
3 We developed a residents’ web portal, including creation of an email address where residents could send questions or concerns. This was staffed by Fabrick with responses, where possible, fed from a pre-agreed Q&A document.
4 We designed a series of site posters, noticeboard announcements, emails and direct mail / newsletters to encourage residents to engage with us directly.
5 We coordinated and managed a series of open weekends to provide residents with an opportunity to come and talk to a member of the team. To ensure maximum residents uptake, we went door-to-door to deliver open weekend information. For some residents one-on-one meetings were arranged.
6 We collated, updated and implemented contact data into a bespoke CRM system to enable a personalised approach to communications when works were imminent. This allowed us to keep a record of tenant concerns so that when it was their time to be moved we had a clear record of what specific requirements they had and what had been agreed.
7 We delivered a dedicated team to work with residents, leaseholders and third parties.
8 Provided social media monitors, seven days a week, along with advice regarding responses and actions.
9 Managed local media enquiries and press statements.