17/06/2020

Create wider support with strong local communication

Neighbourhood communication Reputation management Storytelling

Planning a new real estate project in the city? Already thought about how you will communicate this with the local community? As an expert in neighbourhood communication at Bereal, I help project developers and contractors rally support for their plans. Always bearing in mind that permits will be required from various sources. And it’s much more than just slipping a flyer through the letterbox of the local residents. My tips for powerful neighbourhood communication will help you on your way.

1. Make your communication accurate, complete and comprehensible.

That may sound obvious but what ‘goes without saying’ for your company may be completely incomprehensible to the local people concerned. So make things clear for everyone. And avoid ambiguous terms such as ‘spatial quality’, ‘zoning plan’ or ‘BIM’. Develop a few key messages that incorporate your whole story and focus on these.

2. Give your project a face and show your human side

Introduce the team behind your building project and demonstrate how you will bring a breath of fresh air to the community. Have you considered offering interviews with the construction team to a regional journalist? This reduces the distance between the project developer and local residents and gives the project a ‘face’. You need to involve the public too. This could include a neighbourhood get-together with a hot bowl of soup, or a suggestion box for improving the community together.

3. Let ambassadors have their say.

So-called ‘credible third parties’ will add support to your residential project. These can be experts who offer their stories separately to the project initiators, or local residents, traders or aldermen who back the project, or who are just happy with the new playground. As ambassadors, they persuade others of the initiative’s added value for the community.

4. Break your story to the media too.

Scan brochures, local newsletters or notice boards for stories that are interesting and relevant to the residents and the broader public. Create your own media too: this could be a local newspaper which explains the project, provides information about the site’s history, offers a few interesting facts or shows how you will tackle the temporary vacancy. It’s another way of generating support.

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