Economic Development

With the publication of the ONS figures last week for the first quarter showing a 20% fall in GDP the climb back up the recovery mountain looks daunting. But councils have already set up base camp and have routes to a new summit mapped out.

Shop Local, play local, live local

We’ve helped clients get off the blocks quickly in widening pavements, introducing pop up cycle lanes, implementing social distancing measure in order to support the safe movement of people around areas whilst engaging communities that may be affected by the change.
As the country emerged from lockdown, Westco worked with Westminster City Council on their ambitious plan to help businesses get back on their feet as fast as possible.
The initiative began with a Shop Local campaign, to encourage shoppers to use their local stores once again, and to get people back on the streets safely. This was extended to the redrawing of pedestrian and cycle ways throughout the city, and helping businesses prepare for the reopening of the hospitality sector on 4 July.
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"For such a complex operation, we created a brand that could be applied flexibly to an ever-evolving list of requirements."
This included a logo that embodied the word ‘local’ within a heart, as a way of bringing to life the overwhelming support shown towards Westminster’s communities and businesses during lockdown.
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"The social media campaign used photography to bring images of Westminster businesses and their staff to the fore."
We produced video content telling inspiring stories about the commitment and resilience of businesses throughout lockdown, as they prepared to reopen.
Harry Morgan - St Johns Wood
We developed a comprehensive toolkit for businesses across the borough, providing them with the essential assets they needed to enable them to reopen safely and confidently. This included promotional posters, signage for hand sanitising stations, foot markers for social distancing and window stickers.
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The identity has played a fundamental role in the success of the strategy so far and has received praise from other councils as well as senior cabinet members in Westminster.
We’re continuing to work on new materials as the strategy evolves, as well as integrating the identity into Westminster’s established brand architecture.
We are also helping to drive footfall safely to those businesses opening up through community engagement and marketing campaigns.
Supporting Local Businesses in Wandsworth
Like other boroughs, Wandsworth has rolled out a number of initiatives to support local businesses, pedestrianising areas has been especially successful.
Pedestrianisation in Balham
Traders in Balham’s Bedford Hill say business is booming as a result of its pedestrianisation, introduced as part of the council’s response to the easing of some coronavirus lockdown measures.
It was our most popular tweet in August with 30.5k impressions
Pedestrianisation in Northcote Road
From July 11, Northcote Road became pedestrianised at weekends until further notice – with the empty road space being made available for businesses to use so that their customers could maintain social distancing rules.
The road closure also made the route quieter and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
The launch film showing the Northcote Road closure released on Friday 7 August has been immensely popular with overwhelmingly positive comments. By the following morning, it has had over


views across all channels (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook)






Likes and retweets were received from online users across the UK, Europe and as far as Australia (Melbourne, Brisbane and Yarra) who expressed that they would like to roll out similar initiatives.

Green Recovery

All our clients are reviewing recovery through a green lens. We are helping shape that through conversations across hundreds of thousands of people across our client base. This is such a great opportunity to make sure we deliver on climate change as we rebuild.
MyWandsworth Campaign – Littering and Fly-tipping Interventions
Wandsworth Fly-tip Witness
Behavioural barriers Desktop research combined with a resident-wide survey and focus groups (internal and external) revealed a number of behavioural barriers to littering and fly-tipping, prior to COVID,
• Residents’ attitudes to dumping rubbish
• The emotions at play, do people take pride in doing the right thing, or do they not care?
• How easy is it for people to dispose of their rubbish?
• What’s the social norm? If everyone else fly-tips then why can’t I?
This was followed up by a focus group in hotspot areas, to further refine these barriers,
Convenience – People fly tip because it is often easier and quicker than disposing of waste in a more responsible way.
Visibility – Fly tipping is more likely to occur in locations and at times of day where fly tippers are less visible and less likely to be ‘caught’.
Social reinforcement – Fly tipping occurs more frequently at locations where others have fly tipped before.
Validation – Where the council removes waste from fly tips, those who fly tip find that this reinforces their behaviour.
Behavioural interventions
As lockdown eased and littering/fly-tipping increased, a number of initiatives have been rolled out making used of behaviour change theory - the EAST model (East, Attractive, Social and Timely) along with the COMM-B model (Capability, Opportunity, Motivation and Behaviour model) so interventions are mapped against behavioural drivers.
Caught on Camera videos – asking people to identify litter offenders.
• Targeted fly-tipping letters, use the EAST model to increase the perception of fining
In 2020, more than 80 fines were issued in Tooting and more than 30 in your local area for littering and fly-tip offences.
Wandsworth Caught on Camera Fly tipping appeal
Posters in hotspot areas, to deter offender
The effectiveness of these measures has been evaluated through observation, before and after photos.
Talk Richmond Podcast
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Following an assessment of the Council’s communications over the past year it was found our most engaged residents tend to be aged 55 and over.
We need to find a way to engage young generations (millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha) to increase their involvement with the community and Council and to do this we need to adapt to the way they communicate.
As part of these efforts we are proposing to trial a Council led podcast. A podcast is a series of spoken, audio episodes, often focused on a particular topic or theme.
Edison Research notes podcasting continues to grow with the number of monthly listeners increasing from 21 per cent to 24 per cent of the population over the last year. The audience tends to be younger (18-54). Their socio-economic profile matches those of this borough (69% of Facebook followers are university educated). Podcast listeners will listen to most of the episodes they download and most of each individual episode – so they are likely to hear content which is communicated.
Plans were already underway prior to the pandemic, however we decided to move forward swiftly with the work in order to communicate some of the big, current issues and messages in a more in-depth way. The podcast is hosted by a local ward councillor who is a professional actor. Each edition he meets with one or two people key to the specific theme. So far, the podcasts have included:
Coronavirus: Richmond’s response – a discussion with the Council Leader and representative from the local voluntary sector
Coronavirus: Avoiding a second peak – a discussion with the Director of Public Health
Muggings, Young People and the Police – a discussion with a local police officer, community group representative and young person.
Business recovery – a discussion with a local business and Town Centre manager
The podcast is recorded virtually and edited by the Communications Team. It is available on the Council website, but also to download from usual Podcast apps – including the Apple Store and Spotify.
To date we’ve had over 1.6K downloads and attracted listeners from all around the world including USA, Germany, Australia and Thailand.