DD2318 Royal Docks Marketing, Communications and Engagement

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
12 February 2019
Decision by: 
David Lunts, Executive Director Housing and Land and Interim CEO of OPDC

Executive summary

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m, for the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone (EZ) Delivery Plan (Delivery Plan) to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegates authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land, to approve through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m expenditure budget envelope. Business rates collected within the Royal Docks Enterprize Zone are retained and reinvested in the local area. The investment requested in this DD will be wholly funded through the Enterprize Zone and business rate income.

This Director’s Decision (DD) provides more detail for several projects under the Promotion strategic objective of the Delivery Plan and requests approval to support an Interim Marketing, Communications and Engagement programme for early 2019. This will help to facilitate and encourage active engagement and participation from resident and business communities in the Royal Docks as well as increase investor, occupier and visitor interest. These projects were endorsed by the Royal Docks Officer Level Programme Board on 19 December 2018.


That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Up to £495,000 of revenue expenditure from the Delivery Plan Promotion budget to fund a Marketing, Communications and Engagement programme for early 2019.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

MD2338 approved expenditure of up to £212.5m, funded from business rates retained within the Royal Docks EZ, for the Delivery Plan to deliver an integrated and catalytic package of projects that are identified under the five strategic objectives of Place, Connectivity, Economy, Activation and Promotion. The MD delegates authority to the Executive Director of Housing and Land, to approve through Director Decision forms, the income and detailed spending proposals for each project that is to be funded within the initial £212.5m expenditure budget envelope.

Over the past 6 months, the Royal Docks Team has been working with place brand specialists, Dale Nazzari & Company Ltd, to develop a clear place brand strategy and platform for the Royal Docks. Place branding is a process that brings a range of business and residential stakeholders together to understand, define and communicate the key aspects and purpose of a place to achieve a set of aims. The Royal Docks place brand strategy provides the basis for activities that will help to attract investment and businesses to the area – which in turn will increase business rates. All stakeholders have now signalled their support for the place brand and so the next stage is to translate this into a wide range of campaigns and events, across a variety of digital and physical channels, so that the Royal Docks Team and partners are able to promote the area and communicate the benefits and impacts of investment.

A key priority for 2019 includes the launch of a new Royal Docks website and social channels. The website and other channels will be clearly co-branded to represent the joint initiative between the Mayor of London and Mayor of Newham. Other priorities include the production of several publications including an updated and publicly accessible version of the Delivery Plan. It also includes the development and delivery of several marketing campaigns, and the appointment of an interim communications and engagement resource to ensure we are effectively promoting the area and enabling effective engagement with local people.

The following projects have been identified as critical activities to not only meet the objectives of the Promotion strand from the Delivery Plan but also to support work across the 4 remaining Delivery Plan strands (Place, Connectivity, Economy and Activation). Further detail on each is outlined below:

Consultancy and Research (£75,000)

Dale Nazzari & Company Ltd and the Royal Docks Team have engaged with a wide range of key stakeholders and the local community over the last 6 months. Clear feedback from business stakeholders has highlighted an urgent need for more insight and intelligence into prospective markets and audiences for the Royal Docks; be they potential occupiers, investors or visitors etc.

Early in 2019, the Royal Docks Team will use the allocated budget to procure a consultant to undertake the initial phases of market and audience research, leading to the development of a marketing strategy. The Royal Docks Team will consult with TfL Procurement to identify a suitable procurement method. The budget will be used to fund the consultant to:

• Produce the framework for partnership working and research;

• Undertake high level desk research to review Royal Docks positioning within competitor landscape; and

• Undertake initial refinement and validation of Royal Docks positioning with small group of strategic partners.

Based on shared business objectives and directly informed by the initial research, Place Brand Strategy and Delivery Plan, further detailed research will be undertaken, and a marketing strategy will be developed that will define the long term - and short term - strategic objectives of marketing and promotions activity related to the Royal Docks. Separate approval will be sought for these further phases of work.

Marketing Campaign, Development and Delivery (£150,000)

This includes the development and delivery of bespoke strategic campaigns aimed at communicating the values and proposition defined in the Royal Docks Brand Strategy, and meeting the objectives set out in the Delivery Plan. Examples of the breadth of campaigns delivered under this programme include brand campaigns e.g. campaigns to promote the essential purpose and values of the Royal Docks (e.g. innovation, experimentation) and targeted marketing campaigns (e.g. campaigns to attract specific occupier or investor interest).

Most pressingly, the Royal Docks Team are working closely with TfL on a significant recruitment campaign. The Royal Docks Team will substantially increase in size over the next 12 months. A well planned and targeted campaign with an appropriate budget will ensure that these new opportunities are made available to the widest pool of appropriate candidates.

On the advice of the GLA’s internal HR team, the Royal Docks Team will procure the services of TMP Worldwide through the GLA/TfL shared procurement services arrangement (Contract: TfL 94338) to access a range of additional advertising methods that are not available through the GLA’s own recruitment process. This will enable the recruitment advertising campaign to utilise a range of methods including tours, digital advertising and targeted social media content to attract a diverse range of candidates that reflect the diversity of the local borough (Newham).

The Royal Docks Team is also planning an extensive programme of activation for 2019 that will support place-making in the Royal Docks and generate local, London-wide and international excitement and interest. An events marketing agency will be procured to develop marketing campaigns and materials aimed at attracting a large and diverse audience, drawing footfall into the area, increasing local spend and raising awareness of the Royal Docks as a vibrant and exciting destination. Campaign planning needs to begin in earnest with procurement and planning underway by February 2019.

Costs relate to fees, creative production and spend on print and digital media. The Royal Docks Team will seek budget efficiencies by focusing on owned (website, social channels, apps, Royal Docks newspaper) and earned (social shares, word of mouth, editorial and blog posts) channels. The team will also seek to leverage the collective promotional influence of the GLA, Newham Council and the Royal Docks marketing partnership to maximise engagement and reach e.g. ensuring content is featured in relevant publications and social channels; securing physical ad space (e.g. posters on the Excel estate, screens at Westfield, London City Airport, and advertising on the TfL estate) and digital space, for example the Advanced Business Park (ABP London) website. Paid media will be used to provide additional value and presence - particularly for international focused campaigns. Additional cost value will also be achieved through the selective use of automated tools. The Royal Docks Team will use existing TfL/GLA frameworks to ensure best value.

Interim Communications and Engagement Resource (£50,000)

To help shape the Royal Docks brand positioning and identity - the Royal Docks Team and Dale Nazzari and Company Ltd engaged with a wide range of key stakeholders including the local community. Activities included face-to-face interviews, a short online survey, visioning workshops and onsite engagement and outreach. These sessions helped the team to develop a shared understanding of what makes the Royal Docks compelling and unique; which is now feeding into the development of marketing and communications collateral and campaigns.

2 new community posts and 1 communications and liaisons officer have been identified for the expanded team which will help to design and deliver a robust community engagement and communications strategy and programme for the Royal Docks. As these posts will not be filled until the summer 2019, the GLA has identified a gap in staffing resource that will need to be covered, in advance of permanent recruitment. Therefore, an interim community engagement and communications resource will be needed to help the team meet early outreach, engagement and communications priorities.

The interim staffing will lead the development of clear principles and standards for communications and engagement activity and the creation of a framework for co-ordinating and overseeing all engagement and consultation activity across the Royal Docks – whether that is led by the Royal Docks Team or key partners. Costs for room hire, catering and materials to support consultation and engagement activity have also been included within the allocated budget.

Editorial and digital channel management (£100,000)

Early visibility for the Royal Docks Team will be achieved through a new website that is being designed and developed by Dale Nazzari and Company Ltd. The new website and social channels will form the important function of providing clear, compelling and accessible touchpoints for the public, local business, and potential occupiers and investors to reach information and narratives about the Royal Docks. Editorial objectives include:

• Help define – and increase recognition – of the Royal Docks;
• Support wider marketing, promotion and communications activity;
• Attract new, and support existing business;
• Encourage return visitors; and
• Support local participation and civic pride.

This budget allows the Royal Docks Team to research, commission and publish original content as well as produce film and audio and manage digital channels effectively. Wherever possible we will engage and commission local voices, for example, student photographers from UEL or journalists from across Newham. In this way, editorial spend provides additional value by providing economic opportunities for talented local creatives and content producers in the Royal Docks and Newham. Editorial and digital channel management was included in the scope of works as part of the TfL framework 81055 GLA Place Branding. Services will be commissioned through this framework.

Industry Event and Sponsorship (£45,000)

An extensive programme of trade and industry events is required over the next five years to help showcase and position the Royal Docks as a unique and significant business destination. In collaboration with key stakeholders and partners, the Royal Docks Team will curate and deliver an ambitious and responsive events programme (internationally and nationally, through to city-wide and local) to help showcase and signal the area’s transformation and the opportunity that this presents for investors, developers, occupiers, businesses and talent.

Events will range from trade missions and familiarisation tours through to exhibitions, conferences and business seminars. Some of these will be designed and delivered in-house by the Royal Docks Team whilst others will be external events where we secure a presence (either as partners, speakers, exhibitors or delegates). The team needs to be responsive to opportunities that provide a platform to engage with key individuals and organisations and communicate the emerging narrative of the area. This includes event sponsorship and the production of materials to target key sectors and specific audiences. An early priority for the team will be supporting ABP London, through sponsorship, with a fringe event in the Royal Albert Dock, as part of London Tech Week in June 2019.

The first phase of ABP London’s Royal Albert Dock development will launch in summer 2019. This will be the first major commercial development in the Royal Docks and as landowner and partner, the GLA will seek to maximise the opportunity presented by the Royal Albert Dock phase 1 launch to increase the profile of the Royal Docks as a viable location for businesses in key sectors, including tech, in order to attract further domestic and international investment.

Marketing Collateral and Assets (£75,000)

A wide range of branded marketing and communications assets are now required to help promote and position the Royal Docks to support investment attraction and events and activation projects. Early priorities for 2019 include the updated Delivery plan and more publicly accessible short form version; the Place Brand Strategy; Royal Docks visitor Guide, Royal Docks Investor Toolkit; Meanwhile Sites and Hires Brochure, as well industry event materials and exhibition stands. This budget includes consultant fees for copywriting, design, photography, print and distribution. The production of marketing collateral and assets was included in the scope of works as part of the TfL framework 81055 GLA Place Branding. Services will be commissioned through this framework.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the commission(s) are to:

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

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

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

• 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; and

• 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

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and

• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The Delivery Plan projects are aimed at implementing a number of the Mayor’s strategies and policies such as the London Plan, A City for All Londoners, Healthy Streets Approach, Culture Strategy, London Housing Strategy, Transport Strategy, Social Integration Strategy and is aligned with the Mayor’s Equalities Framework to consider the requirements of relevant equalities groups.

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 Newham Council’s Convergence objectives. Equalities considerations will also be taken into account by the GLA in connection with all work procured. All recruitment will fully comply with the Equality Act 2010 and fulfil the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty as set out in the section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.

Other considerations

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.

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 to accelerate development and communicate the wider opportunity of the Royal Docks EZ 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.

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

Key stakeholders including development partners and relevant marketing and communications teams 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
  1. This decision requests approval for up to £495,000 revenue expenditure to fund an Interim Marketing, Communication and Engagement programme. The expenditure is forecast to be split as follows:






Consultancy and Research




Marketing Campaign, Development and Delivery




Interim Communication and Engagement Resource




Editorial and Digital Channel Management




Industry Event and Sponsorship




Marketing Collateral and Assets









This expenditure will be funded from within the £212.5 million approved delivery plan budget confirmed in MD2338.

Activity table



DD Approved

February 2019

Delivery Start date

February 2019

Delivery of Projects:

February 2019 to June 2019

Delivery End Date:

June 2019

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