A personal PR touch for housebuilder, This Land
Housebuilder, This Land, was relatively new to the housing sector when it was given planning consent to build 350 new homes in the village of Burwell. Such housing schemes will always divide opinion and communities; more so when people aren’t overly familiar with the housebuilder brand.
As part of the planning consent, This Land was required to undertake an archaeological dig (as the site was potentially a Bronze Age settlement), prior to work commencing on site. This was seen as an opportunity to engage positively with the local community, raise This Land’s profile and address the previous PR coverage that highlighted a lack of financial returns from This Land (owned by Cambridgeshire County Council).
Working with contractor, Oxford Archaeology East, Fabrick and This Land devised a plan that saw the archaeological dig open day extend to include a series of stakeholder events that would allow This Land to communicate with as much of the village as possible:
- Local residents
- Parish Council
- Local school
- Local archaeological group
- Local museum
- Local press
The aim of the events was to build rapport, trust and understanding with the local community, so Fabrick suggested an innovative approach to the marketing that would allow face-to-face engagement – send personal invites to all stakeholders.
Each stakeholder group was contacted personally and directly, using different methods, and asked to book their place on a tour. It was important we got them on to the site and communicated with them directly so they had a full understanding of the housing scheme.
With social distancing still in place, and needing to keep a working archaeological dig operating, we agreed on 30-minute tours of 10 people a day held over a two-week period.
The media, and all other stakeholder groups, responded very favourably to their invites.
1 179 people attended the events. This included 61 pupils from the local school, 12/17 members of the Parish Council, six members of the Burwell Museum Board, nine members of the local archaeological group, 85 people from Burwell village and many from the local press.
2 The media responded very favourably with the BBC picking up the story for its online news pages and a regional BBC radio Cambridge interview (lasting 30 minutes) on site with This Land’s Chief Executive, David Lewis.
3 Media outreach was 182,000 for printed and online media with a further 88,000 potential listeners on BBC radio Cambridge – Burwell has a population of 6,000.
4 We succeeded in reaching and communicating directly with as much of the community of Burwell as possible.
5 PR was estimated to be a value of £545,386 (based on AER) excluding the BBC radio interview
6 We successfully engaged with and influenced all stakeholder groups. They are now fully informed.
7 The project reached the final stages of the 2021 Construction Marketing Awards for the Best use of Press and Public Relations category