DD2201 Royal Docks Promotion and Investment Activity

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
16 January 2018
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD2049 approved expenditure of up to £3.5m for Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery. The Royal Docks EZ Delivery Team has now been established and discussions with key stakeholders and development partners has clarified the scope and level of marketing and promotional activity that is required throughout 2017-19 financial years to help communicate a strong place brand for the Royal Docks EZ and help to drive early inward investment and business interest in the area.
This Director’s Decision (DD) therefore provides more detail of the marketing and promotional activity element of the programme and requests further approval at director-level for spend of up to £230,000 in this light.  The expenditure will help raise the profile of the Royal Docks and accelerate its successful transformation into a world-class business district and urban quarter. That will include a clear and consistent brand identity for the Royal Docks, as well as a co-ordinated programme of marketing and communications at industry events. 


That the Executive Director for Housing and Land approves up to £230,000 of revenue expenditure for a programme of marketing and communications to help to position the Royal Docks EZ competitively and to advance the development of that EZ.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Mayoral Decision 2049 approved expenditure of £3.5m for the financial years 2017-19 to fund the establishment of the new Royal Docks EZ Delivery Team, to enable the preparation of a EZ Detailed Delivery Plan and implement an early programme of regeneration and promotional activity to drive forward the potential of the EZ and, critically, to achieve an early business rate income.

1.2    Early promotional activity has included a feasibility study undertaken by the NLA for a promotional and marketing centre on the Royal Docks, the development of a cultural vision and an early programme of investor conferences and events. This activity has helped to kick-start the positioning of the EZ and spark interest amongst potential investors, occupiers and cultural collaborators. 

1.3    However, the next two years are critical in the 25-year lifetime of the Royal Docks EZ. With the key development sites moving into the delivery phase and a comprehensive programme of placemaking and activation about to be progressed - there is an urgent need to provide a more co-ordinated and consistent marketing effort alongside key development partners.  This will help to communicate the change regionally, nationally and internationally and ensure the proposed growth and regeneration ambitions can be realised.

1.4    Discussions with key development partners and stakeholders in the EZ have identified that a coherent brand identity for the Royal Docks is urgently required; as is a programme of high profile industry events and associated marketing collateral including the production of a website and investment material. 

1.5    The approved indicative budget set for promotional and marketing activity in the MD2049 was £250,000 of revenue expenditure. Previous approval of £20,000 expenditure on ADD2146 was progressed under the authority of the original MD. The promotional project activity request of £230,000 for this approval will come out of the remaining budget as set in the MD. This expenditure will be incurred between 2017-19 financial years.

1.6    This promotion and investment approval request is one of three DDs for which approval is being sought, all of which link back to the MD2049. There is also a DD for activation and events and a DD for estates and public realm improvements. 

1.7    Indicative budgets for each promotion and investment project activity are shown below: 
1.8    Royal Docks Brand Strategy:  a clear and defined identity for the Royal Docks, which sets out its unique position - now and in the future - and enables all partners to promote the area consistently, is a priority. This will include the development of a shared ‘place’ narrative with key messages and propositions that are carefully segmented by the different target audiences and prospects. It will also include an updated visual identity and associated style-guidelines, corporate stationery and templates for reports, presentations, publications and exhibition assets. The complete ‘place brand’ will bring together the individual developments and investments in the area into one coherent and compelling story. This expenditure will be incurred between 2017-19 financial years. (£40,000 revenue)

1.9    Digital Platform and Promotional Materials: a wide range of marketing material and collateral is needed in order to accelerate the promotion of the Royal Docks EZ and showcase its scale and potential. This includes a more compelling, accessible and experiential website that is optimised for mobile and other devices. It also includes a suite of high-quality digital and printed outputs e.g. investor prospectus, visitor guide and exhibition materials. This expenditure will be incurred in the 2017-19 financial years. (£150,000 revenue)

1.10    Industry/Trade Events and Exhibitions: securing a high-profile platform at key industry and trade events and communicating the Royal Docks brand and investment potential is also a key plank in the proposed marketing and communications programme for the next year.  This will be achieved in collaboration with key GLAP development partners to ensure maximum impact and exposure.  It will also include discussions, debates and a series of ‘famtours’ that are directly designed, programmed and hosted by the new Royal Docks team at various sites and locations.  Key events include MIPIM Cannes, London Real Estate Forum and MIPIM London 2018. This expenditure will be incurred between 2017-19 financial years.  (£40,000 revenue)

1.11    Led by TfL, the EZ Delivery Team are creating a single agency framework, with a call-off arrangement, for procurement of services related to the Place Brand strategy. All other services will be procured through existing TfL frameworks.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objectives of the commission(s) are to:

2.2    Help competitively position the Royal Docks EZ and support the wider regeneration and development efforts of key partners and stakeholders.

2.3    Increase investor, occupier and visitor interest in the Royal Docks EZ and help accelerate early business rate income. 

2.4    Increase footfall, dwell times and visitor numbers to the Royal Docks EZ by comprehensively planning and promoting the creative and cultural offer.

2.5    Showcase the developments underway in the Royal Docks EZ and engage local communities in helping to shape and articulate the area’s long-term ambition.

2.6    Principally, the marketing and promotional activity set out in this DD supports the Mayor’s priorities to regenerate the Royal Docks EZ whilst strengthening London’s position as a world city of innovation, business and culture, and will increase sustainable investment in London’s eastern growth area.

Equality comments

3.1    Marketing and promotional activity will reach out to and engage with a wide and diverse range of audiences, which includes local communities, visitors, investors, occupiers, businesses, the media as well as collaborators and stakeholders. Content will be accessible and inclusive and will draw in surrounding communities into the evolving story of the Royal Docks, including work with local schools and community groups to help deliver on LBN’s Convergence objectives. Equalities considerations will also be taken into account by the GLA in connection with all work procured.


Other considerations

4.1    Risks: limited engagement and buy-in from stakeholders and development partners leading to confused and inconsistent marketing and promotional activity across the Royal Docks. This will be mitigated by establishing a quarterly marketing forum and identifying joined up marketing campaigns and opportunities.

4.2    The overall objective of this approval is to accelerate and maximise the regeneration of the EZ. A strong promotional vision is essential for the Royal Docks in order to accelerate development and communicate the wider opportunity of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone beyond each individual development site. Stakeholders and development partners are eager to see a programme of marketing and communications that can amplify the Royal Docks offer and resonate positively with local, London and international audiences. 

4.3    It is not considered that any further impact assessment is required for this specific decision.

4.4    Key stakeholders including development partners and officers at both the London Borough of Newham and GLA have been consulted on the marketing and communications specifications and outputs required through this DD.

Financial comments

5.1    This decision requests approval to expend up to £230,000 for promotional and marketing activity to help communicate a strong place brand for the Royal Docks EZ. 

5.2    MD2049 approved £250,000 for promotional and marketing activity (see section 44, first bullet point, for further details). Subsequently £20,000 of expenditure (ADD2146) was approved under the authority of this MD and this decision will utilise the remaining amount.

5.3    The requested amount (£230,000) is broken down by activities as follows:





Royal Docks Brand Strategy


Digital Platform and Promotional Materials


Industry/Trade Events and Exhibitions







5.4    The above expenditure is available from the Royal Docks EZ Projects Delivery budget within the Housing & Land department and forecasted to be expended over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years. MD2049 (section 56) provides further details around business rates income forecasts.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




Brand strategy developed and launched

April 2018

Production of marketing collateral

Dec 2018-2019

Rolling programme of industry events and exhibitions

Dec 2018-2019


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