Changing the story of a place: Nine Elms on the South Bank
Nine Elms on the South Bank is that changing piece of London from Vauxhall to Battersea Park. It’s the largest regeneration story of central London creating 25,000 new jobs, more than 20,000 new homes and only 15 minutes away from Parliament.
While there is a long-term vision that’s carefully considered, there’s also an exciting vibe of things to see and do now. Nine Elms is buzzing – with builders in hard hats yes, but with a new lease of life for the locals too. That’s where we come in.
We were selected by Lambeth and Wandsworth councils in their capacity as the principle partners for Nine Elms on the South Bank to put together a PR campaign for the regeneration programme. Known for its high-priced, high-rise, real estate, the Partnership were seeking a change of tone to the coverage they were receiving. Nine Elms needed to be known for the benefits it was bringing to Londoners – the jobs, the open space, the cultural offer, the shared ownership homes.
We advised them to steer away from a traditional press campaign targeting a cynical press. Rather we would begin a groundswell of opinion change.
So, through a collaborative process with both councils and key stakeholders, we re-engineered the brief: to create a shared narrative that promotes the economic and social benefits as well as improving perceptions of what’s going on in Nine Elms. We identified pitfalls in the conventional media relations approach and proposed a ground-up campaign that taps into the reality of life in Nine Elms today.
This narrative would underlie and underline the communications about the area and come to life via a new digital platform: a repository for all the stories and happenings in Nine Elms. The existing website for the regeneration area was rooted in a consultation site; think vision statements, CGIs, and anticipating what Nine Elms would look like in 2020.
We agreed with the team to rebuild it completely, bringing into line with other destination-focused websites. The new site would be all about the here and now: somewhere that features the old, the new, the fancy and the fun. A place to find out what’s on, where you can learn about the history and get excited about the future.
But most importantly, a place about the community. To hear about new business launches, foodie favourites, stories of new residents and seasoned locals too.
We conducted an in-depth process of research, interviewing stakeholders and developers, holding creative workshops and examining the history of the area. During this process, we developed an authentic narrative that recognises the hostilities of a development site, but unearths the benefits – social, cultural and environmental – that Nine Elms brings to local people and to Londoners.
We designed and built a bespoke destination-led website that brings Nine Elms to life. A place for stories that showcase the sights and sites of Nine Elms: the fun outdoors, rich arts & culture scene, trendy businesses, rich heritage, and delicious food.
As Nine Elms comes to life, so is the story around it.