RB’s Centre for Scientific Excellence
Project: The Centre for Scientific Excellence
Skills: Stakeholder engagement, planning and public affairs, media relations, content marketing
When global health, hygiene company RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser) wanted an agency with its ear to the ground to help with a Hull-based project, their first choice was tprc.
Our brief was effective stakeholder engagement for RB’s £105 million Centre for Scientific Excellence (CfSE) as it passed through the planning process.
We were also required to manage the media launch and subsequent ongoing press interest around the development during the 2.5 year development period.
The CfSE is a state-of-the-art research facility that secured 1,200 jobs at RB’s Hull site as well as creating further high-level roles in R&D. Hull was selected from locations around the world due to its existing infrastructure and the expertise of its workforce.
As part of the campaign, we were tasked with organising an event in which RB’s Senior Vice President for Global R&D, Sharon James, could address an audience of VIPs from the local business community, local authorities and MPs, allowing them further details about the project and benefits it would bring to their city.
To achieve this, we researched, drew up and contacted a list of the region’s top 50 VIPs. We then drafted all the press material, briefed Sharon James on how to handle press interviews and arranged for the media to come down on the morning of the event to speak to the development team, film and take photographs.
Once the press had left the VIPs were escorted to the exhibition where they heard first-hand the extent of development and how it will attract the world’s top scientific talent to Hull.
The event was a major success and the press coverage spanned all local and regional press, including print, broadcast and online. Tprc acted as RB’s press office over the forthcoming days, dealing with all media enquiries and helping to generate excellent follow up coverage.
The event opened up significant dialogue between RB and Hull City Council, the planning body responsible for considering the development.
We also established a ‘roadshow’ around the development, taking talks and exhibitions to influential local groups such as Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, neighbouring East Riding Council, Humber LEP and others, to canvas support for the development.
We used the press to demonstrate this support, all the time putting pressure on Hull City Council to ensure the project was granted planning consent.
The approach worked. The CfSE was fast-tracked through the planning process to achieve consent at the first available opportunity.
This was met with delight from the client, from business groups, and all local stakeholders who recognised what this investment meant for their city.
We continued to work with RB during the construction phase of the development, managing the media, creating content around the development, working with the contractor M+W and helping to ensure sensitive aspects of the development were not reported on.
Our approach had another benefit for RB too. Prior to appointing us to work with them on the CfSE, the company did nothing in the way of local engagement. Our work convinced them of the benefits of this to the extent they created a new role within the company with a responsibility to bring the company more into the local community. Today, RB is as much a part of Hull as other big names in the city such as Smith & Nephew and Siemens.