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Local Plan: emergency integrated campaign

Guildford Borough Council had asked local people for their views and visions for the future as part of its Local Plan. They needed their thoughts to plan to 2031 for housing development, transport, infrastructure, jobs, the environment, services and more. However, there were only two and a half weeks of an eight-week public consultation period left, but very few people had responded. Most people were either unaware of the Plan, were too busy, or couldn’t be bothered to air their views. Many people also erroneously thought it was a plan to build on green belt. The View was called in to assist in the publicity - and issues management - of this highly complex and potentially sensitive initiative. And fast...

Implementation & results

The View conducted a full situation analysis and consulted on the communications strategy – including agreement and coordination of a few easy-to-understand key messages, rather than ‘council speak’. We then unleashed our education and ‘call to action’ campaign. This included full page print advertising, a media relaunch to promote the initiative and set the record straight. We created ongoing content for a concerted digital media campaign with regular updates on Twitter, Facebook and the website.

To highlight the Plan across the borough and engage with local residents and workers on a one-to-one level, we also mounted a ‘dawn to dusk’ promotional blitz. We leafleted in high footfall areas reaching everyone from commuters to students to grannies.

The activity resulted in a massive upsurge in downloads of consultation documentation from the council website, as well as an increase in queries and responses in time for the deadline. They flowed in by email, social media, snail mail – and in person too.

Over 20,000 responses were received, making this the most successful consultation the council has run.

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