CHALLENGING NEGATIVE PERCEPTIONS
Before appointing PLMR Birmingham, Lidl undertook a traditional public consultation which included a public exhibition and leaflet drop. The immediate reaction was extremely negative, and residents were principally concerned about traffic. To counter the objections and prevent them undermining the planning application, PLMR Birmingham sought to change the approach and reach out to those most likely to use the new store.
A DIGITAL APPROACH
Typically, with planning consultations, those who support development often struggle to engage with the process. PLMR Birmingham delivered a project website with a petition form and online poll designed to appeal to people who were supportive but often time-poor. The website was promoted using innovative and targeted Facebook advertising. Using this approach, we effectively targeted those demographics most likely to be supportive, using our key message: 40 new jobs, a multi-million-pound investment and a cheaper family shop.
Overall, the Facebook post was viewed 23,000 times and having approached those most likely to approve of the proposals we captured support through the petition and online poll. Overall, we were able to demonstrate to councillors that 80% of respondents supported development and over 350 had signed a petition of support. This was vital in re-balancing the argument as officers and councillors had previously only heard the objectors.