Spotlight on our work with Weston BID

Weston-super-Mare’s Business Improvement District (BID) is entering the final phase of its first five year term which began in April 2012. The BID’s purpose is to raise the profile, improve the perception, and increase trade, in the town centre. Over the past 5 years Weston BID have invested over £1m directly into the town centre, which has benefitted businesses, residents, employees, and visitors and has had many successes – detailed information on the successes can be found here.

In November 2016 businesses will be invited to vote to continue a BID for another five year period from April 2017 until March 2022 inclusive. With the end of the first term looming, Plum were approached to help with the communications & PR. A successful campaign should help achieve a YES vote and enable BID to continue their work, as well include additional projects, to strengthen the local economy.

The task
Plum devised the communications plan for the consultation and voting process in the run up to the renewal decision and has also executed a number of the communications tactics throughout the campaign.
The key focus for the campaign is to raise awareness, create interest and motivate BID businesses to take action by feeding back their priorities for a new term and voting YES for renewal. As a result, both phases of the campaign need an integrated approach using a variety of communications activities and tactics.

Integrated communications
A key tactic was to create a dedicated website as a hub for all the information regarding the renewal campaign. This was complimented by;

  • a monthly newsletter, sent in both hard copy and e-versions
  • regular updates on social media (Twitter and Facebook)
  • the recruitment of BID business ambassadors
  • public and media relations, and
  • dedicated consultation activities including survey questionnaires, consultation events and face to face interviews.

Plum designed and created the content for the website as well as updating and maintaining content throughout the campaign. In addition, we have been responsible for the public and media relations, all social media activity, and recruiting the BID business ambassadors creating a suite of champions on the website.

Building on successes
Steve Townsend, Town Centre Manager, said “Weston BID ensures town centre businesses are represented and have a genuine voice in issues affecting the area and shaping the future of the town centre. In the last four years Weston BID has attracted thousands of visitors to the town through many special events, reduced shop theft for many businesses by up to 30% year on year, helped keep children safe through the child safe wristband scheme, cleared tonnes of rubbish, jet washed two acres of the town centre each year and been three-times Gold Winners of Britain in Bloom, and a whole lot more.”

“It is important to the BID that every penny we spend is well invested within the town. Although Plum are local, this is not the only reason we chose them. They are also experts in our industry and are always available with excellent advice and provide a great service and we look forward to our continued relationship.”

“The communications plan Plum has put together has allowed us to deliver effective communications and ensure we understand what Weston businesses priorities are for improving the area even further. We can also rely on Plum to deliver the tactics we need help with. We are excited about the renewal of Weston BID for a further five years and look forward to the results in December.”