PR campaign for Owen Williams achieves record levels
Owen Williams (now part of Amey Plc) was a £45million multidisciplinary consulting engineering company. Their key audiences were aware that they worked across property, rail and highways, but few were aware of the company’s service capability.
When they approached Fabrick to work with them, they were clearly successful, but they wanted to elevate their external profile to a new level and also overcome internal resistance to publicity. They felt the industry had a poor understanding of their brand and its capabilities so asked Fabrick to help them rectify this.
Fabrick’s first step was to work closely with Owen Williams to gain a thorough understanding of their business and company objectives. We then devised a PR campaign that focused on creating opportunities that would raise their profile across its three core sectors – rail, highways and property. A key party of this was delivering thought leadership pieces aligned to the different services they offered within each sector, such as railway electrification design and structural assessment.
We knew that for the campaign to be successful, we needed the support and buy-in from their senior management team so this was sought early on in the process.
We also identified important projects that could be used for journalist visits. Given the nature of what Owen Williams did, Fabrick felt they could offer journalists something they may not have experienced before – such as access to bridges, tunnels and the engineers themselves. This resulted in visits to a number of complex projects such as the high-level inspection of the Royal Albert bridge, which spans the River Tamar and is one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s most iconic structures. Other site visits included the high-level bridge in Newcastle, the Severn tunnel and Tinsley viaduct in Sheffield, a two-tier road bridge that carries the M1and the A631.
As part of the process, we identified suitable publications for these projects to feature in and used our considerable press contacts to secure features and articles. Fabrick took the lead in organising the journalist visits, often liaising closely with the key clients (including the Highway Agency, Network Rail and numerous county councils) and the wider supply chain including main contractors and other consultants.
Fabrick managed all aspects of the visits, from briefing employees to arranging health and safety inductions and staff briefings. Although we encountered initial resistance to publicity from the clients’ professional engineers (who often didn’t want to showcase their work as they didn’t appreciate the value), the Fabrick team worked hard to communicate the benefits of positive press coverage and by undertaking a hands-on approach demonstrated to the engineers what could be achieved.
We secured a wide range of press coverage for Owen Williams and also used these opportunities to secure coverage for their clients and partners that helped to further raise brand awareness and improve public perception.
1 Their objectives were achieved! Key audiences had a better understanding of their service capabilities and their external profile reached record levels.
2 The benefits of well-managed and positive PR campaigns were clearly demonstrated to employees, resulting in negative internal opinions on publicity changing to positive ones.
3 The size of their projects and the extent of their specialist skills were illustrated through extensive exposure in key industry and sector publications.
4 The PR coverage secured also led to positive exposure for Owen Williams’ key clients and wider supply chain.
5 Fabrick delivered a fourfold return on investment in terms of PR value.
6 Excellent relationships were built between the press and Owen Williams.