The HS2 interchange is set to be a world-leading station and an investment in Britain’s future. It will unlock value across the West Midlands, transforming Solihull into a civic destination hub, driving job creation and wider economic growth, and levelling up the region. A partnership of two internationally renowned construction and civil engineering companies, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, and one of the world’s leading professional services firms, WSP has formed under the name Unity, to deliver the world’s first BREEM validated station. We were tasked with developing a web presence to position the partnership ahead of the bid process for Interchange.
It was vital that decision-makers had confidence in those potentially delivering Interchange and that information was available quickly and easily. The website also needed to provide an anchor point for bid-related marketing activity.
The breadth of expertise within the partners is significant so we set out to emphasise its credentials as well as inspire confidence in the partnership itself by highlighting past collaborations. Given the audience, we also made a conscious decision to keep the website to key pages only, with an accessible design.
A partnership between our creative services and construction team, we developed key messages and content, including case studies to demonstrate competence, experience and excellence. To bring the team’s value to life, we created an icon style and a series of other graphics that underlined the collaborative approach to the project.
The website received positive feedback upon its launch.
The Towns Fund is at the heart of the government’s ambition to levelling up places which have historically lacked investment and opportunity, enabling economic growth and regeneration. To support towns with securing and delivering the Town Deals, The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) appointed a delivery partner. It also represented a new way of working for government that of itself would help inform the shape of future funding delivery models and programmes.
The Towns Fund Delivery Partner is a consortium of six private sector organisations working as one with each fulfilling distinct strategic functions and bringing specialist expertise. Arup as consortium lead and with a multi-disciplinary role across the programme and service delivery, was supported by: Nichols Group leading on management and operations; Copper Consultancy as communications and engagement lead; FutureGov, learning and experience, governance and leadership lead; Grant Thornton, funding and investment, monitoring and evaluation, data insight lead; and Savills providing specialist place-based expertise.
Putting the town’s needs first was key. Based upon a town-centric and continuous learning approach to understand towns’ challenges, what they needed and when, the Towns Fund Delivery Partner was able to design and refine the support it offered as the programme progressed. It delivered advice and support at a range of levels that aimed to add value rather than duplicating resources already available to towns.
Working alongside the Towns Fund central team and Cities and Local Growth Unit Area Leads, the Towns Fund Delivery Partner was committed to the principle of co-design and co-working with Government. The Towns Fund Delivery Partner’s insights gleaned through its bottom-up approach, helped DLUHC develop its guidelines and requirements, identify the level and type of support provided to help towns that needed it most, and allowed for continuous improvement in delivery. A Total Towns Outcomes Framework questionnaire also gained understanding of towns’ longer-term priorities and desired outcomes.
We have been an integral member of the Towns Fund Delivery Partner’s strategic leadership group as lead advisor on its programme communications, working alongside the consortium team to deliver timely communication about the Towns Fund Delivery Partner’s services and support to towns. An ongoing commitment to understanding and anticipating both towns’ diverse needs and priorities, and in interpreting DLUHC’s requirements of towns in securing and delivering Town Deals, has been a necessity to manage a complex programme where towns are at different stages on the journey. We established and led the Communications and Messaging Working Group to facilitate a joint approach between the TFDP and DLUHC over the duration of Towns Fund Delivery Partner’s involvement in the Towns Fund.
Our expertise in effective community and stakeholder engagement, market positioning, brand development and use of social and other media has been drawn upon heavily by towns, firstly in developing their Town Investment Plans and then during early-stage Business Case development. This has been achieved through the creation of bespoke Towns Fund resources either as online guides, blogs and webinars or through one-to-one advice and coaching, Check and Challenge sessions and learning programmes such as Place Leadership and Making Connections Count.
Between May 2020 and November 2021, the Towns Fund Delivery Partner helped towns across four cohorts to develop a vision for their towns, produce Town Investment Plans to secure Town Deal offers and provided early-stage support to develop Business Cases for agreed projects. At its height, the Towns Fund Delivery Partner had over 260 team members representing 13 disciplines and 16 topic areas across the breadth of the country.
Worth more than £2.4 billion, all 101 towns that were selected for the programme received their Town Deal offers, paving the way for the delivery of nearly 800 projects across England.
Copper has recognised the significant impact that outstanding design can have upon infrastructure brands and the projects they deliver. The infrastructure industry is information rich, but that is all too often presented in ways that are hard for people and stakeholders to engage with. Copper is keen to drive the continued evolution of our sector, using digital techniques and rich engaging content to bring organisations and projects to life.
Both Alexandra and Laurie bring a wealth of experience from high profile consumer brands, and public institutions, enabling our clients to think differently about their brands and the ways that we can engage influential audiences.
Discussing the establishment of the new team, Annabel John, Director of Communications and Engagement said: “The infrastructure industry is critical to all our lives and the future of the UK. But it can seem distant, technical and very difficult for people to engage with. We are determined to help change that using outstanding design and world class content to bring the projects we work on and our clients’ ambitions to life. Alexandra and Laurie are already playing a critical role in that ambition.”
Copper’s capabilities in creative design, content creation and digital communications include brand creation and strategy, video and animation, web-design, social media management and print production. Examples of our work are available here.
As a specialist communications consultancy that’s dedicated to infrastructure, we have a unique opportunity to become involved across the whole development lifecycle. We have a role from policy development, through planning, construction and eventual operation of everything from roads, to windfarms to schools and hospitals.
Despite the brief hiatus caused by Covid-19, we are enormously optimistic about the state of our sector. The UK has faced numerous challenges for decades, from imbalances in the economy, to low levels of productivity and poor connectivity, to the looming need to decarbonise energy generation and transport.
These problems have seemed insurmountable. But that may just be changing.
There has been an acceptance across all levels of government that things can and must change fundamentally if we are to establish a successful net zero economy. That change will be all pervasive, impacting our working, as well as domestic lives, and it is inspiring an infrastructure revolution.
The outcome is that the infrastructure sector is booming, and Copper is growing fast to help accommodate and support it. We have expanded substantially in recent years, increasing the number of projects we are working on, the sectors we support and the services we offer. We expect to continue that growth in years to come, and see that our partners across the infrastructure sectors are experiencing the same increase in opportunity.
The biggest single thing that we need to capitalize on that opportunity, and to enable the change to UK infrastructure that’s needed, is to boost the availability of great people.
We have worked enormously hard to attract people into Copper, but more broadly into the infrastructure sector. We recruit at all levels, from those beginning their working life, to experienced seasoned professionals, and we are continuing to do so.
But the whole industry needs to capitalize on our moment in the spotlight, not to achieve short term growth, but to revitalize our offering to the people we work with and ensure that we are able to attract the brightest and the best people, from all walks of life.
We can offer a career path that provides rapid development, but perhaps more importantly enables people to make a tangible difference to the country. We cant promise an easy life, as infrastructure projects are complex and frequently demanding, but we can promise a job with an enormous amount of satisfaction and sense of achievement.
But that must be matched with offering ways of working that are compatible with modern family life, that are flexible and that trust people to work how, when and where will deliver the best outcomes, rather than forcing people to comply with outdated office-bound structures.
In our own really small way we are trying to take a lead in this area, enabling a completely flexible working arrangement, and allowing our highly capable team to work in ways that are right for them. People at Copper can work from any of our three offices in Bristol, Birmingham and London as suits them, but also remotely, and to decide how they structure their working week.
We support a wide range of working arrangements, with a number of our team choosing to work part time to support family commitments or academic studies.
We also offer an increasingly flexible range of benefits, including a fitness fund to support wellbeing and a flexible training fund to support personal and career development, in addition to on the job training and support.
We are far from a perfect employer and we are continuously striving to do better, with our dedicated People and Culture Director helping to ensure that we do everything we can to attract the very best people from across our industry and beyond, and to demonstrate the wonderfully fulfilling career that infrastructure can offer.
In response to increased industry demand for branding and design services, Copper Consultancy is now leading the way in constructing creativity following the launch of its Creative Services practice.
The launch of the Creative Services practice comes at a time when clients and projects are increasingly looking to tell their story in a visually stimulating way that is easy to understand and demonstrates their identity and ambitions to key stakeholders.
Our expert team of creatives are well-positioned to portray this narrative to diverse audiences through visual cues. Such visual assets can work as standalone storytelling devices or to give a project greater sway and help communications cut through with target audiences.
The specialist branding, strategy and design team will draw on the skills and talents of Peter Chan (print and digital designer) and Valerie Adams (brand materials specialist). Collectively the Creative Services team has over 40 years of experience between them having worked on major projects such as the London Resort and Cardiff Hendre Lakes.
Copper’s design and branding services put stakeholders at the core. From the logo to the colour palette, the agency’s work helps brands differentiate themselves in a way that establishes buy-in amongst stakeholders and drives positive recognition of projects.
The Creative Services team will offer bespoke services in the branding and strategy arena that breathe life into your vision including brand workshops, brand creation, perception audits and brand positioning.
The agency’s expert designers will work with clients to bring their brand to life and offer them an opportunity to tell their story through custom website design and build, digital public consultations, social media assets and traditional media such as booklets and leaflets and roller banners.
Each asset is bespoke to a client or project’s needs and designed to put communities and customers at the heart of development in a manner that establishes local, regional or national stakeholder buy-in. The Creative Services team are adept at making complex projects easily digestible without losing sight of the people who are at the heart of the development story.
Commenting on the launch of the Creative Services practice, Alexandra Hardwick, Head of Creative Services said: “Stakeholder journeys are increasingly becoming dominated by what they can see, be it social media assets or a project logo. Copper recognises the importance of bringing brands to life through creative solutions that are effective in setting the experiential standards that take stakeholders on a unique journey that establishes buy-in.
Want to hear about how our creative team can support you? Get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a free discovery call on 07715354380.
This week we received the terrific news that Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Windfarm has been granted consent by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
Copper has been supporting Vattenfall with stakeholder engagement and project communications in the lead-up to this positive decision. This key milestone ensures we are a step closer to ensuring the local and national benefits of this nationally significant infrastructure project become a reality.
With an installed capacity of 1.8GW, when operational Norfolk Vanguard will provide the equivalent electricity needs of 1.95 million homes per year. The project will help to cement and maintain East Anglia as a UK powerhouse, and put the region at the heart of the national transition to a low-carbon economy. It will also support hundreds of local jobs directly and through the supply chain.
As they have evolved together as coordinated projects, we are now keeping our fingers crossed that its sister project Norfolk Boreas, which is currently in Examination, will also achieve this milestone. Copper led the statutory consultation on the Norfolk Boreas Offshore Windfarm and continues to provide ongoing support during Examination.
If both Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas were consented and constructed it would mean double the clean energy and double the emissions reductions. These projects would be delivered in a highly coordinated efficient and optimised way, and would deliver greater benefits and economic opportunities to the region.
We would like to congratulate the whole team at Vattenfall for this fantastic achievement. This positive decision shows that the Government is serious about its climate ambitions and about enabling a green recovery as we emerge from the from the Covid-19 crisis. Now and in the future, it is projects like these that will help us get one step closer to reaching the net zero target by 2050.
As part of Copper’s Attitudes series, we asked the public what their views are on the viability of the net zero target and what we need to do to reach it by 2050. You can read more about our results in our report here.