East West Railway Company (EWR Co.) was formed in 2017 to accelerate the delivery of a new line linking Oxford and Cambridge to support economic links across the Arc and providing better, greener connectivity for intervening communities.
Details of the planned line were not publicly available, leading to incorrect assumptions linked to negative feelings towards the project. Compounded by the competing needs of stakeholder groups, legitimate concerns relating to land-take and livelihoods, and the perceived threat to the environment, it was vital to reverse the distrust associated with other rail NSIPs.
Copper’s approach was to start with communities. This included:
- Building the brand with content to articulate EWR Co’s vision and values, explain project need and benefits.
- Generating grass-root and stakeholder understanding with tailored, ongoing engagement
- Earning trust with proactive community involvement to open and maintain ongoing dialogue.
- Creating positive press relations including interview opportunities with EWR Co.’s CEO and the transport minister.
Copper helped turn the scheme into a customer-facing brand designed to open two-way conversations. As a result, this presented EWR Co. with:
- Clear, consistent information and messaging across a new suite of materials.
- Detailed online briefings for MPs and councillors, as well as parish councils, to align ROA messaging.
- Continual stakeholder, community, and media engagement.
- A series of well-attended events that successfully articulated the need, benefits, and next steps of the scheme.
- This culminated in 80% positive or neutral coverage. The route-specific information is in development and due to be announced at consultation this year.