National Publisher & Ethical Enterprise: WhatsOnUK/CityGuides

Friendly Creatives’ Ian Kennedy worked as Projects Manager for WhatsOnUK in 2008-9, achieving widespread media exposure for their ethical campaigns, creating a Business Plan and funding application, and helping the company relocate…

WhatsOnUK publish high-quality annual and monthly publications targeting the youth demographic, and after being introduced to the company and working with its advertising sales department in 2007, Ian’s first contribution was to propose a new integrated sales and accounts system to modernise its operations that could significantly increase its productivity. As a result Ian was taken on as Projects Manager by the parent company, CityGuides, which also ran the ethical venue cafeOne.

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Save Five Ways Campaign

When the company and its neighbours were faced with the sudden closure of their premises to make way for redevelopment, Ian took the lead to help a series of small businesses, venues and community venues to protect themselves when developers landed them with imminent eviction from their premises. Ian launched the campaign and provided it with a clear sense of purpose and much of the publicity work it required. The campaign included:

  • A campaign name and logo.
  • An information leaflet with petition attached, which was widely distributed in the area, resulting in hundreds of signatures of support.
  • Press releases which resulted in appearances in Channel 5 News, BBC WM, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, and Birmingham News.
  • A 500 word article and sub-feature by Ian for WhatsOnUK’s major publication, exploring the ways that diversity is being squeezed out of our city centres by redevelopment and rising land values.
  • Proposals to set aside and refurbish an area of Birmingham City Centre to accomodate and promote independent businesses, venues and community interests.
  • Weekly meetings with all affected parties.
  • Meetings with the developers’ representatives.

The campaign succeeded in raising awareness of the plight of independent businesses and venues and community projects in our city centres. With the support of leading local politicians including Clare Short, the companies affected secured an extension to their tenancies to help them survive.

Succeeding in gaining widespread media coverage (Channel 5 News, BBC WM, Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Birmingham News, and WhatsOnUK’s publications including a feature written by Ian) and supported by politicians including Clare Short, the campaign succeeded in gaining an extension to the company’s tenancy and raising awareness of the issues facing small businesses in our city centres.

Later, Ian also made a Business Plan to enable the company’s relocation to boost its business, and prepared a funding application to help the company make this possible. Ian also provided other snappy content for WhatsOnUK’s publications.

Click here to see WhatsOnUK’s website.

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