KC Communications has been appointed to undertake a 12-month marketing, PR, and events strategy for The Round Foundry and Marshall’s Mill estate in Leeds. The aims of the project are to increase tenant engagement, attract prospective clients, and establish the estate with its heritage as a cornerstone of the Leeds community. KC Communications has undertaken a calendar of tenant activities, PR campaigns, and the utilisation of the full-marketing mix to meet these objectives successfully.
The Round Foundry and Marshall’s Mill (TRFMM) is a residential and commercial estate based on the South Bank of Leeds, also known as Holbeck Urban Village. The estate consists of Marshall’s Mill, Marshall’s Court, Dry Sand Foundry, Green Sand Foundry, and Saw Mill Yard. The estate also owns Round Foundry Media Centre, though this is currently leased to Leeds City Council and they undertake their own marketing and PR activity.
TRFMM is rich in Leeds’ industrial heritage, the majority of the estate being built by famous capitalist industrialist John Marshall in the 18th century. The current development has been painstakingly renovated to quirky, modern office space and has cultivated a community of leading creative and digital organisations.
The estate benefits from being a seven-minute walk from Leeds Station, as well as being only 10-15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. Onsite, tenants have access to a range of cafés, pubs, and restaurants including Matt Healy x The Foundry, and the nearby Northern Monk Brewery. There is also a gym located on the estate run by Motive8 North.
Tenants include organisations such as Welcome to Yorkshire, Elmwood Brand Design, MediaCom North, True North Productions, We Are Boutique, Arts Council England, Bert & May, and Tall Agency amongst others.
The estate has the values of “wellbeing” and “placemaking” and was looking for an agency to help promote this through the full marketing mix, including social media, PR, direct marketing, and events.
The estate has a programme of tenant engagement by hosting events, competitions, and other activity to engage current tenants and attract prospective tenants. The previous agency was unable to encourage tenants to join in these events and promote participation. TRFMM reached out to KC Communications upon recommendation by one of their tenants to help prepare a calendar of events and accompanying marketing campaigns for the pre and post-event promotion. The challenge was finding the type of event and the time of day that would suit most tenants.
The estate also looked to expand its brand awareness to cover the city of Leeds, the region of Yorkshire, and nationally through a comprehensive PR campaign. Although the estate was doing many great things and there was a lot to shout about in regard to community news, contract wins etc., they found they were not getting the traction that they desired in the media.
To meet the brief, KC Communications lead an onboarding workshop to establish the objectives for the project which were:
- Establish the TRFMM brand of placemaking and wellbeing, whilst maintaining the values of being a heritage property whilst cultivating a creative and digital hub in the city.
- Increase tenant engagement at activities and events.
- Raise the profile of the estate locally, regionally, and nationally in relative media.
To deliver this, KC Communications put together a 12-month marketing and PR strategy to meet these objectives. The strategy centred around seasonal events, with marketing activity such as email marketing, social media, and creative collateral such as flyers and posters to support the promotion of these. Activities included things such as:
- International Women’s Day panel
- Leeds Digital Festival event at the estate
- Mental Health Awareness Week – relaxation sessions and a nurse-staffed wellbeing stand.
- Tenant summer BBQ with live music on Yorkshire Day
- Local heritage walks
- Estate hosted charity 5k in aid of Leeds Mind
- Halloween – film screenings, ghost walks
- Participation in Leeds Light Night
KC Communications also created a 12-month PR strategy, identifying relevant publications, forward features, property sections, business press etc. The PR activity focuses mainly around pre-set forward features and stories generated from the activity of the estate.
After an initial audit of the social media activity, KC Communications established social media policies and social media schedules differing between the current Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to create brand consistency. KC Communications also created a dedicated LinkedIn page for the estate.
KC Communications has been able to increase tenant attendance to events by over 100% at some events. This has been possible through targeted email campaigns, face-to-face engagement onside and inviting tenants to participate through giving talks and sitting on panels. Aside from attendance, social media engagement by tenants during these events has skyrockets, increasing reach on LinkedIn and Twitter by more than 10,000 month-on-month.
New collateral such as welcome posters, roller banners, and the Circular newsletter were carefully designed to showcase the heritage of the property whilst also incorporate the progressive digital community in place. Events such as those organised for Mental Health Awareness Week, the local heritage walks, Leeds Digital Festival and the proposed participation in Leeds Light Night this coming autumn have all stood to establish the values of placemaking and wellbeing for the estate.
A PR campaign announcing tenant wins, estate news, and regular features has been ongoing, resulting in coverage in the Yorkshire Post, Business Insider, Business Link, TopicUK, South Leeds Life, and more with a view to reach out to national press later in the year.
Along with meeting the objectives, KC Communications has established in person relationships with many of the tenants, which in turn encourages tenants to share news, get involved and trust in the estate to raise their profile as part of their tenancy.
Through thorough reporting, KC Communications have established that traffic to the website has been increasing month on month, with the main percentage change being from social media and email. In light of driving traffic to the website, KC Communications regularly updates the blog, news, and available space. This keeps the website up to date whilst also improving SEO.