Retail PR + Marketing

Grand Central Birmingham

Big Cat was briefed to plan and implement an 18 month PR campaign and deliver a launch event for Grand Central Birmingham.

Client

Grand Central is a shopping centre located in Birmingham, and is currently owned by Hammerson and CPPIB.

Objective

Big Cat was tasked to undertake an 18 month media & stakeholder program to drive regional, trade and national awareness in the lead up to the launch of Grand Central Birmingham. The aim was to position Grand Central as Birmingham’s ‘meeting place’, and at the fore of the renaissance of the city.

Delivery

A phased approach was adopted to ensure clear chapters of communication with assorted media, stakeholders, and potential customers. Phase one was about establishing Grand Central and telling the commercial success story throughout the retail and property media, this was to communicate the overall offering, tell the heritage behind Grand Central and explain the overall vision for how Grand Central can knit together the retail tapestry
of the city.

The next phase shifted focus to sustain momentum through consumer media and establish Grand Central as a brand in its own right. This was achieved through the implementation of a busy, proactive and reactive press office. We created our own consumer news stories, underpinned by qual and quant research, executed a series of stunts, profiled retailers, and curated the Grand Central story through a busy social media content publishing strategy.

The final stage was the launch moment itself. Initially implementing new, robust reactive media and issues management protocols and processes as a hygiene factor, we turned Grand Central into a theatre for flashmob dance performances, a live band, and singers performing throughout the day. Combined with this we created a bustling broadcast hub where we hosted 52 journalists, executed 10 live outside broadcasts, 15 pre-record packages, and more than 100 pieces of launch day coverage….all over a 48hour period.

Results

  • Prior to launch we secured 214 pieces of coverage across trade and regional press providing a steady drumbeat of news
  • 95% of retail units were fully let prior to launch
  • During the launch we secured blanket press coverage across print and broadcast
  • 100 broadcast mentions from the launch day, including a live broadcast from Channel 4 news, reaching in excess of 18 million
  • 221 pieces of print and online coverage from the launch day
  • Secured front cover of trade publication, Retail Week
  • Captured the headline from the Independent – ‘Grand Central takes the ‘ming’ out of Birmingham’
  • National press coverage in the Daily Mail, Independent, BBC, Channel 4 news and Huffington Post positioning Grand Central as a ‘New’ Birmingham
  • 52 journalists attended the launch including local consumer, national consumer and trade press
  • 142,000 visitors during the launch weekend
  • It was recorded that 1 million customers came through the doors in the first 3 weeks of opening
  • Over 10,000 likes, 19,000 engagements and 271,000 reach on Facebook during launch weekend
  • Almost 2 years on, we are still working with Grand Central on their ongoing PR and communications projects