As we slowly emerge into being able to meet in real person, it will be interesting to see how the balance of real life and ‘digital’ interactions evolve. Of course, certain things work best face to face, but we’ve all I’m sure appreciated the time, personal and environmental benefits of doing at least some of our meetings remotely as well!
We take a look at the trends in different forms of communications and their role both now and moving forwards…
How might we engage and consult with people with our
Events & Exhibitions – new technological routes have allowed so many events to be held digitally and provide new audiences. For example, younger people tend to engage more with this medium i.e they might comment on an online exhibition, rather than turning up to a Parish Hall meeting. Tracking data in terms of numbers, reach, logging/responses to questions, demographics, has been invaluable.
The new technologies available will form a significant element of the manner in which engagement on planning applications take place going forward. There will always be the role for physical events, but the breadth and scope of the means by which to engage, provides a new and interesting diversity to how such events take place moving forwards…
Newsletters – Working from home has contributed to a definite increase in residents’ interest in their immediate environment. This is of course due to the fact that people are spending longer in their neighbourhood and are noticing more! Newsletters have played an important part in keeping everyone up to date with what’s happening in their neighbourhood – online and in hard copy. Teams and Zoom, two things we rarely had anything to do with pre-lockdown, have come into their own with resident liaison group meetings. Whilst face to face communication is always best, it’s so easy to jump online – as long as you have access of course – and it will be interesting to see what methods of communication people will prefer as we familiarise ourselves with our new found freedoms..
Socials – well inevitably these will still need to take place in the same room. A glass of wine online is not quite the same as having a drink in person! Virtual coffees however seem to still be popular and effective means by which to network and start to generate new business relationships. We look forward to such gatherings becoming more commonplaces with clients current and new….
Websites – whether a tailored personalised website created specifically for a consultation activity, or a landing page hosted on your planning consultancy’s web site, there are a vast range of options (and prices) to achieve the messaging that you seek to deliver. We’ve found our clients preferences vary, but logically in line with the nature and scale of the development proposal envisaged.
Design Code Consultation – a new one which might evolve given the departure of Andy von Bradsky as Head of Architecture at MCLG, but still likely to be an increasingly important one given the recent changes to the NPPF emphasising design quality, and as we move towards the Autumn and the anticipated Government response on the Planning White Paper consultation.
Community Activities – Indoor/outdoor, these have certainly seen a comeback with many events now being organised for the last quarter of 2021.Permitted outdoor events through the lockdown allowed the longed-for potential for engagement that so many sought. For example, outdoor markets continued throughout, community keep fit stepped up a further notch as everyone was desperate to get outside and maintain their health. Consultations were still able to take place outside on relevant topics, e.g public art With Autumn Covid constraints on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the balance of real life and digital projects evolve and how the different demographic groups prefer to engage.
If you have a consultation or engagement project you would like to talk to us about, do get in touch: