Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered an Autumn Statement with the upcoming general election very much in mind.

From an infrastructure perspective, there was a clear focus on accelerating the planning process and addressing bottlenecks in the connection of low-carbon energy projects to the electricity grid.

The publication of the Autumn Statement itself was accompanied by the release of important policy papers, including a response to the Winser review and a look at how infrastructure can be delivered more effectively.

Read our in-depth report into the measures announced and what they mean for our sector.

Click here to read our analysis of the Autumn Statement

Joining Copper as a recent graduate

After joining Copper, I was curious as to how my experience would translate into working for a consultancy. A Politics and International Relations degree, has equipped me with the knowledge to understand the pressures that infrastructure faces. My transferrable skills have been beneficial to my role. However, the lack of direct experience in the infrastructure industry hasn’t impacted my involvement with projects.

Would you consider working for a consultancy?  It may surprise you at the approach they take to projects and the variety of tasks they complete. After exploring what Copper do, I took a leap into the world of consultancy. My team have been exceptionally supportive, guiding me through the first steps of my career. There’s no question too small and no problem too complex for my colleagues, who are always happy to support.

 

The most important thing in the eyes of Copper is determination.

Am I able go above and beyond to take on work and complete it to a high standard? Will I support my team with a positive attitude? While expertise and experience are invaluable to delivering projects for our clients, it is equally important to be willing to learn.

 

My first full time role out of University

Previously, having used Microsoft Teams in an academic environment, there are some features and applications which are new to me. Copper also uses other programmes, tools and websites which are part of my learning process.  However, Copper provide accessible guides that detail best practice, this leaves no room for uncertainty. Following a fantastic induction, I felt very welcomed by the team at Copper.

The element of my degree that I most enjoyed was research and presentation. I value the opportunity to create compelling arguments based on examination and analysis of sources. My current role allows me to improve those skills further. I have been able to work on a variety of projects from sustainable road and rail infrastructure to sky gardens. I balance a diverse workload with competing deadlines, and understand how to meet and surpass stakeholder expectations. In a very short time here, I have enhanced my own administration and public relations skills more than I ever imagined with guidance and support from the Copper team.

 

What drew me toward Copper

In addition to Copper providing a supportive working environment, Copper provides access to a huge range of e-learning tools on their Learning Pool platform. To support my personal development, I am able to undertake e-learning modules which encompass topics such as: GDPR, leadership development and health and wellbeing.

When you complete your three-month probational period, you are even given access to a personal development fund to be able to undertake training to pursue your own personal goals. The options are endless, colleagues have utilised this fund for courses such as sailing lessons, dog first aid training and much more.

Copper are committed to helping the UK meet or surpass its Net Zero emission targets through their project work. Every project Copper is involved with prioritises providing both positive social value to impacted local communities and contributing to a sustainable future. These are both issues that I feel passionately about and I am proud to contribute towards.

 

You can find out more about careers at Copper here

Scope out our current vacancies by checking out our LinkedIn page here

 

 

 

Sheridan Hilton, Senior Account Manager in the Construction Practice, recently attended the Social Value UK Conference 2023. He gives his thoughts on what he learnt and what is next for social value.  

In 2022, the UK celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Maximising the social impact of every pound spent is now firmly entrenched within industry, but as was discussed this week, measuring meaningful social impact is not always clear cut.

At this year’s Social Value UK ( SVUK) Conference, attendees heard from a range of experts, including Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, who gave an impassioned keynote speech about the need to engage at all levels. Cllr Craig argued that if social value is to truly transform places in a meaningful way, it requires cross sector partnership working to deliver better outcomes for local communities. A point echoed throughout the day.

This absolutely echoes Copper’s views on the matter, specifically, on the importance of understanding the communities that we want to support, and reaffirmed our belief that these improvements to collaboration and information gathering are the building blocks of successful social value delivery.

Matthew McKew, Advocacy and Communications Lead at  SVUK, was emphatic when he said that ‘valuation enables decision making’. This was also a point which Erik Bishard, Director at RealWorth, was keen to reinforce: Social Return on Investment (SROI) provides real worth to social value activities, and should be used to help inform decision making.

They both make a very valid point. Only by understanding what has changed for the communities, can we establish the impact created. Once captured, we can then make decisions on how we act on the impact generated.

 

Weighing Up What Matters

Referring to this impact, it was particularly interesting to hear Adrian Ashton, Enterprise Consultant, suggest that whilst measuring tools such as TOMs and HACT are useful for valuing social impact, they do not necessarily represent the whole story. Equally, if not more important is ensuring the needs of communities remain front and centre of any social value activity. Kate Graefe from ProSustain reinforced this point when she spoke about the need to understand what is truly important to our communities, and  explained the need for ‘nuanced data capture to understand local need.’

Capturing the data is clearly important, and Adrian and Kate reminded listeners that we should use data values as a hook to get the conversation started, and not let that be the end of the story. Delivering social value in partnership helps to ensure it remains relevant to the community, and allows each partner can play to their strengths, bringing something distinct to support communities which the other cannot.

 

Leaving a legacy to support sustainable change          

Ultimately, everyone agreed that organisations and social value practitioners should always want to do better, by  pushing forward with opportunities for industry to support new and existing communities, leaving and ultimately leaving a lasting legacy.

By its definition, sustainability suggests ‘continuing indefinitely into the future.’ If social value delivers what communities need and expect, then there is a strong chance a real legacy will be created.

 

The last piece of the jigsaw      

Whilst there are many opportunities to harness the benefit of sustainable impact, some challenges remain. Not least the struggle, by many, to understand the concept of social value. Copper’s newly published Social Value Attitudes Report, highlights that while the sector has been getting increasingly strategic about the way it gives back to communities, the public’s understanding of all of that work hasn’t always kept pace.

This reiterates what came out so strongly at the conference – the need to understand what is truly important to our communities, and how to best use data to capture it.

Finally, it is also fair to say that a lack of a standard definition is not helping to clear the fog of confusion. It was fantastic to hear Social Value UK announce their Political Manifesto at the conference, and meeting their ambition to get the industry to settle on a standard definition will be pivotal. Copper looks forward to working with SVUK on developing this manifesto further and ensuring that our industry and beyond work collaboratively to deliver on the needs and priorities of our communities and stakeholders.

 

Do you need help with writing bids, local insight gathering, developing social value strategies or community engagement? Get in touch here.

In the built environment we have gradually become more and more accustomed to the term ‘social value’ or as we showed in an earlier Copper Industry Insights Report, another term that expresses the same thing, community investment, CSR, social impact, ESG, etc.

Given the challenges around consenting major projects, this points to a greater role in improving the understanding of ‘added value’ that can be derived and delivered to audiences that currently don’t recognise these benefits. Effective, well-tailored social value can be transformative for community/stakeholder relationships, particularly with those who have just been focusing on concerns like construction-stage impact and only expecting detriment.

To read our report, on public attitudes to social value click here.

Copper Consultancy welcomes Scott McLeod, Account Manager 

 

Working within the Strategic Communications practice, Scott joins Copper from Weber Shandwick, where he worked as a Senior Associate. Scott brings a breadth of knowledge and experience working across traditional, digital and social media platforms. His experience covers a range of global corporate clients including Equinor, Jotun, Offshore Energies UK, and DLA Piper.  

 

Scott’s multi-sectoral experience includes energy, maritime, petrochemicals, technology, professional services, and infrastructure. Bringing with him over seven years of experience in media relations, technical writing, and strategic communications. At Copper, he will join a growing team of skilled communicators, creative content creators; and media relations, digital, and stakeholder engagement specialists. 

 

Having spent most of his career in the north east of Scotland, Scott has witnessed the energy transition first hand. Playing an active role in helping several oil and gas operators and supply chain companies diversify and cement their position in the renewable industry.  

 

Commenting on the appointment, James Hillier, Head of Data Insight and Strategy said: “Scott’s experience and knowledge of the renewable energy industry and technologies makes him an excellent fit for our team. His proven track record of supporting multinational and specialist organisations – across the corporate and industrial sectors – in addressing complex communications challenges will be a real asset to our business.” 

 

Find out more about Copper Consultancy’s strategic communications offer here. 

 

You can also find out more about careers at Copper here or visit our LinkedIn page for current vacancies. 

Reaching your target audience can be a challenging task at the best of times and becomes even more difficult when your target audience is considered traditionally hard-to-reach‘. 

Hard-to-reach audiences refers to a group of individuals who are difficult to engage through traditional marketing or outreach efforts. This varies but could be individuals who have limited access to technology, speak a different language than the majority of the population, live in remote areas or potentially individuals with a disability that makes it difficult for them to interact with certain types of content. 

To communicate effectively, it’s important to build a deeper understanding of your target audience. Your strategy may require a unique approach, one that mirrors their needs and desires will help maximise engagement.  

 

1.Unearthing audience insights 

Understand who they are, what they value, and how they engage with digital channels. Be sure to take onboard their side of the story. 

Gaining intel on your audience can be achieved in a number of ways. This could be through conducting surveys, or through third-party results such as census data and attitude reports. 

Using social media and website analytics can provide a wealth of data to understand your audience’s interests, behaviours and preferences. For some projects it may be worth conducting focus groups to gather qualitative data. Are you unsure if you’re effectively reaching your audience? Using digital analytics to identify gaps in your data can show areas where you are not effectively reaching your target audience, using this information can help to inform a need for an alternative method, such as face-to-face events.  

Remember that finding audience insights for hard-to-reach audiences requires patience, creativity, and persistence. By utilising a variety of tools and approaches, you can gain a better understanding of your target audience and create more effective marketing strategies. 

 

2. Tailor your messaging  

Use the information you have about your audience to tailor your messaging. Centre your campaign around a compelling message that resonates with them. Speak their language, address their pain points, and offer solutions or ways to add value specifically designed for them. 

With projects where another language may be spoken, it’s important you consider this in your communications. For example, we work with a number of projects that operate in Wales and therefore ensure materials are available billingually.  

As we also mentioned the importance of accessibility, when creating materials, it’s important that factors are considered such as: 

  • Utilising camel case in hashtags on social media.  
  • Adding captions or subtitles to video content.  
  • Provide alt. Text with images to allow accessibility programmes to acces the intel.  
  • Use a clear font and avoid underlining, italics and upper case as much as possible.  
  • Consider the colours used in graphics. Contrasting colours are typically more accessible. 

 

3. Utilise the power of social media  

Social media platforms provide a gateway to a vast array of audiences, making them invaluable for reaching hard-to-reach groups. However, ensuring that you select relevant platforms is a fundamental step in successfully reaching your target audience. Remember, social media should be a two-way communication, not a brand monologue. Fundamentally, social media is socialising in the digital world and interactions are key to building relationships virtually.  

However, in the instance that your audience is not on social media, whether that’s due to demographics or whether they have access to technology, then it’s vital to find the right channels to communicate with them such as more traditional forms of marketing including elements such as in person events and print materials.  

 

4. Take a holistic approach to all digital communications  

When using multiple platforms to engage and facilitate dialogue with community members and stakeholders, remember that some individuals will see all communications and others just one. Each method of communication needs to stand alone, but also work alongside other communications. Your audience does not want to receive the same content in four different formats.  

 

5. Leverage influencers to gain advocates 

Collaborating with influential figures in your industry or community can help bridge the gap between your brand and hard-to-reach audiences. Influencers can command the attention and trust of the very audience you’re targeting. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and have a demonstrable impact on your intended audience. When thinking of our projects, examples of influencers could be local businesses, MPs, community or religious groups, schools, etc. 

 

If you try to please everyone, you will please no one.

Tackling hard-to-reach audiences can be a daunting task, but if you invest time in generating audience insight, and building a careful execution plan, you can reach those hard-to-reach audience groups and hopefully gain some advocates for your campaign 

 

If you’d like to find out more about how Copper can help with your communications strategy get in touch today.

Feel free to reach out to Hannah Jarrett, our Digital and Social Media Manager to discuss improving your digital communications approach.

 

Challenge

HyNet North West is an innovative low carbon and hydrogen energy project that will unlock a low carbon economy for the North West and North Wales and put the region at the forefront of the UK’s drive to net zero.

As the project moves towards a more public-facing stage, we were tasked with evolving the HyNet North West brand and creating a series of assets to explain the project.

Website

We developed the UI designs and redeveloped the HyNet webite, simplifying the navigation and streamlining information. We created a series of graphics and assets that could be utilised across multiple channels, as well as on the website.

Consultation hub

Sitting alongside the website, we developed a consultation microsite to support the first consultation on the HyNet North West project. The look and feel reflected the overarching HyNet brand.

Social

We develop social graphics to support HyNet’s key messages, encourage engagement and explain complex concepts to stakeholders and the public.

Animation

HyNet North West is made up of several different projects, the first of which is a carbon capture pipeline. We designed and delivered an animation to help explain key elements of the project in an accessible way, enabling people to easily respond to the project’s public consultation.

Challenge

Powering up a ‘green’ design for RSK’s new electric vehicle fleet.

RSK Group approached our design team requesting a fresh and appropriately ‘green’ design for the livery of a new electric vehicle (EV) fleet. The aim was to develop a slightly modified version of the existing RSK design to make the new EVs stand out. This would help raise public awareness of RSK switching to EVs and reflect the company’s commitment to sustainability, caring for the planet and tackling climate change.

The main challenge was creating and adjusting a design that would suit various vehicles in the fleet, given the differences in vehicle size and shape. This involved manipulating and rearranging the various elements of the design to fit accordingly. As part of the process, our designer visited the company that applies livery designs to vehicles. Seeing the designs brought to life at full size was very different from the challenges of creating them on a small screen in the design studio.

Challenge

Content and Creative has designed and delivered a range of marketing support material, including exhibition stands, digital publications and product information sheets, for a new client in the aquaculture industry. Innovasea provides end-to-end solutions for fish farming and aquatic species research, including equipment, consulting services and innovative platforms and products.

One of our tasks was to improve an existing e-book design and create a more sophisticated look and feel for a new digital publication. The e-book described the pros and cons of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), examined the costs of building and operating these facilities, and detailed the typical return on investment for two typical farms: one raising freshwater Atlantic salmon and the other raising saltwater red snapper. Promoting the e-book would enable Innovasea to showcase its expertise in this area and underline its credentials as a knowledgeable and trusted source of information.

CS-Insight-v2

Insight

The Content and Creative design team focused on creating a design that presented the content in a clear and simple way, and developed a set of thematic icons that represented each section in the book. One of the main challenges was finding accurate imagery for this fairly specialised subject area. Searches of commercial image libraries did not yield suitable images, so the job had to be put on hold while the right images were sourced. As the e-book would be available from the Innovasea website, our designers chose a simple landscape format for the layout that would be ideal for online viewing.