Having the right strategy in place underpins every successful communications campaign on the ground.
As risky as the planning process is because of its political environment/agenda, you can trust in us to implement the right communications strategy to ensure the risk is managed and business moves forward.
Our multi-faceted approach brings a new dynamic to the table and helps invested parties navigate the process with our guidance and expertise.
We have the knowledge and ability to pinpoint who to engage with and how and when to open this particular dialogue, and forge a way forward.
We develop the most compelling key messages.
We determine the best ways to generate balanced and representative feedback.
It is not about ‘who you know’ that will achieve a great result for our clients, it is simply ‘how you engage’.
As we are a political we can work in any authority and across all political groups.
One of our greatest strengths is establishing and maintaining new relationships, where trust has been formed and needs to be nurtured and developed. As such, we have the ability to work with any new authority, where we have not had any previous experience.
Effective engagement with the right parties is pivotal, underpins our communications strategies and is central to the success of the process.
We understand the importance of maximising the opportunities for people to engage with us.
Which means making the consultation process transparent and accessible, so that feedback is wholly inclusive and represents opinions across-the-board.
We engage openly and honestly with communities to build trust and constructive relationships. We understand that people want to engage in a variety of ways so we use a full range of tools to engage with communities. This includes traditional methods such as face-to-face, information brochures, newsletters and meetings; as well as using social media and digital consultation to capture all needs and requirements.
Which means making the consultation process transparent and accessible, so that feedback is wholly inclusive and representative.
Digital and social.
Digital engagement can yield greater levels of participation and representative feedback as it can reach a wider demographic.
Digital and social media engagement is playing an increasingly important role in the planning process. It can open up access to the process for people who would not usually participate owing to lack of awareness, convenience or because of time limitations. Online engagement is a vital part of the community consultation process. It not only widens the reach, it also yields a greater level of participation and representative feedback, as it will reach a wider demographic.
We have created our own digital consultation toolkit ‘Consult With You’ which offers all the tools necessary to undertake thorough and comprehensive consultation online for planning proposals. ‘Consult With You’ offers virtual reality exhibition space, webinars, digital brochures, interactive plans, online surveys, video briefings and more, on one platform. The toolkit fully integrates with social media platforms.
We use ‘Consult With You’ as well as traditional methods of consultation which still plays a critical role in our communications strategies. Not everyone has access to the internet. More importantly, direct engagement - whether face-to-face, on the phone or personalised correspondence - remains a key approach to build trusted relationships and a constructive dialogue.
Local media can play an influential role in shaping local perceptions of development and it is important to ensure that media outlets are handled in the right way.
This can include developing and nurturing relationships with journalists by carrying out face-to-face briefings and issuing releases at appropriate junctures. First and foremost we advise our clients on how to approach media engagement – whether it be proactive or reactive in manner. Our senior team is trained in giving press briefings, radio and TV interviews and can handle the most challenging of conversations.
PR built on awareness and knowledge
Our job is to be informed and aware at all times. Knowing what is being said about our clients and projects by stakeholders and the media is essential. This enables us to make informed decisions and flag any issues as they arise. We have extensive research skills and processes in place to ensure that we can keep our clients fully appraised in an appropriate manner, with integrity and equality.
Design and Visual.
Design can be a powerful visual tool that can help to convey key messages across a range of channels
DevComms can create engaging and impactful visual print and digital content based on the key principles of optimising the level of readership, understanding and the retention of information.
We can create and design content for digital and social media campaigns, brochures, information leaflets, newsletters, exhibition material and corporate publicity material. We can also work with clients to develop branding which will give projects a strong identity.
We also know that video is one of the most powerful means of engaging audiences, particularly on technical and detailed issues. We have the ability to produce video content that can be used to engage with political and community stakeholders on key issues or at important milestones such as briefing planning committee members ahead of determination of a planning application.
Communications doesn’t stop once planning permission is secured, construction is a critical phase and reputations can be won and lost during this time.
We support developers through the construction phase which means we manage the communications with all stakeholders as well as any issues that may arise. This ensures that progress stays on track and is not subject to any unnecessary delays if problems arise and are not handled carefully and correctly.
We have extensive experience of consulting in a way that aligns with the client’s brand whilst protecting their wider reputation and delivering their key objectives.
We are acutely aware of the importance of reputation management when promoting development proposals. Whether it’s a single project, part of a wider plan across a geographical area, or perhaps where a brand has suffered as a result of external factors, we can assist clients through this challenging time. Our team has worked with many large-scale companies with strong brands, such as Sainsbury’s, U+I, Countryside and Taylor Wimpey. Thus collectively we have in-depth experience of engaging in such a way that aligns with the clients’ brand and protects their wider reputation, whilst delivering key objectives.
Helping clients make the right strategic decisions
DevComms advises clients on matters of strategic importance. Take the matter of preparing early-stage reports, for example. Advice on the political and community stakeholder landscape which could be essential to feed into site appraisals or board reports. This will flag up key issues which clients need to be aware of ahead of a site acquisition. We can also advise how to articulate and present a case to Government, as we did for the East West Rail Consortium. How to conduct best practice stakeholder engagement and how to engage certain demographics in the consultation process is also critical advice that we will unpack with our clients. Our knowledge and experience in the field means that we are ideally equipped to help and support our clients when strategic corporate guidance is required.