The Brief

We were taken on by Citu to work on the launch of their new mixed-use sustainable development in Leeds, Greenhouse after it had experienced some negative PR and the management team needed a launch campaign to reposition their flagship development, which had been tagged in one media title as ‘The Dustbin of Leeds’.

The PR needed to engage potential buyers in conversations that addressed concerns and shifted opinion to be focused around Greenhouse being a development showcasing market leading innovation and the ambitious innovative creative values of the business needed to be confidently portrayed.

It was also crucial to engage a critical local community as well as a national audience and our brief involved spreading positive messages to local neighbourhoods as well as industry partners and key stakeholders to illustrate the innovation at work within this creative sustainability project and encourage word of mouth buzz.

We were required to create a launch campaign concept, then fulfil management of the project from strategy planning to PR, event management and e-marketing, working closely with the management team as an extension of their business, on an ongoing basis.

“We’ve already generated more interest in 2 months about the development, than we had in the last 2 years, and there’s much more to come!”

Fraser Stride

Director, Citu

The Strategy

Strategy covered researching the target audiences for the commercial, residential, architectural and eco aspects of the development, identifying relevant channels for each interest group, both on and offline.

We were to define the project with a clear identity, using the following straplines to elevate the development to the media and key audiences and stress the impact of the work being done here:-

  • The UK’s most pioneering low carbon development
  • Britain’s greenest high-tech homes and offices

Community Relations 

Initial plans included managing 2 launch events, to unveil the official opening of Greenhouse to regional and national media, local community and stakeholders. Our aim was to create an atmosphere at the events to illustrate inclusiveness, community and fun – key brands values of the business, and essential when trying to combat negative perceptions of it being a ‘gated community’ set to dominate the neighbourhood where it resided. We set about to instigate discussion and bring together those who challenged the development alongside those who supported it. Local events went on to play a major part in Greenhouse’s community PR strategy.

Industry Kudos

Alongside community PR it was important to portray the magnitude of what was being achieved, and attendance at launch by DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn supported us in this. Future collaborations with TV star and architect George Clarke also helped attract national interest from the industry, in Citu’s mission to provide a sustainable community through a regeneration project.

Media Engagement

We worked with Citu to create sustained monthly PR coverage on an ongoing basis. Using our differentiating straplines we found creative ways to communicate these brand messages to them, ranging from creative media mailers and invitations to visit, to interactive events such as The Big Sleepover which saw national journalists spend a weekend at Greenhouse to experience it for themselves and get hands on with the tech available that helps monitor and control energy usage – bringing to life how the sustainable development actually works.

Featured Media

Greenhouse were regularly in regional press but also experienced fantastic exposure in national media and a range of industry titles, highlighting that we captured the imaginations of all audiences. Below are just a handful of titles Greenhouse featured in.

The Results

It was a pleasure to work with Chocolate PR, who supported me across marketing, media relations and community relations. They approached the brief with energy and creativity, showing how property PR doesn’t have to be the same old same old. They’ve got the contacts, but it’s more than that, they genuinely work to engage all audiences from day one – from the media to potential occupants, to the local community.

Fraser Stride

Director, Citu

  • Greenhouse became a multi-award winning development, winning 20 awards we submit it for within the first year
  • Greenhouse, based in South Leeds, attracted national media and government attention
  • Greenhouse became an integral part of the local community which initially contested it so strongly
  • Greenhouse worked to highlight what Citu could achieve with sustainability in property, but also around creating sustainable communities

On the back of the launch event 8 apartments and 1 office space sold, 25 apartments and 3 offices were let. On average the Citu team has received over 20 letting enquiries a week as a direct result of PR coverage. Within a year this resulted in £400K of lettings and £15 million in sales. The value of coverage generated was over 15 times the PR spend and reached an audience of over 10 million in year one. We continued to work on Greenhouse PR until the development was full and are really proud of what we helped the Directors achieve.

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