The Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT) is a community interest company that operates for the benefit of the communities in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.
The team is combined of the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID), the Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage Project (JQTH), the Jewellery Quarter Cemeteries Project and the Jewellery Quarter Neighbourhood Plan.
They work together to oversee and deliver projects that aid the development and progression of the area; implementing improvements for residents, businesses and visitors.
The JQDT came to us in search of campaign support thanks to our successful relationship with JQBID. We have produced its JQ Life Magazine since 2018!
It all started with the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement last year, which rightly put a spotlight on many of Britian’s most prominent historical figures and their links to slave trade and colonialism.
This scrutiny of such individuals coincided with the scheduled refurbishment and reinstatement of the Jewellery Quarter’s Chamberlain Clock. A monument dedicated to Joseph Chamberlain, an often celebrated figure of modern Birmingham, who has also been the subject of heavy criticism given his role as Colonial Secretary and his involvement in the war in South Africa.
Our challenge was to minimise negative press and public reaction around the reinstatement of the landmark, to increase interest in the city’s heritage and educate people about Chamberlain – the good and the bad.
We felt it was vital to lead with honesty and education, therefore we created a comms plan that put this messaging at the forefront. We didn’t want to gloss over Chamberlain’s historical associations as this conversation is an important one for the nation to be having, so we agreed this was the best approach.
Our comms plan included:
- Audience definition
- Messaging for the press release which would announce the removal of the Clock
- A pre-written response to use in the event of negative backlash
- Advice on managing negative backlash from press and on social media
- Considerations and advice for worst-case scenarios
We went on to create a press release which announced the removal of the Clock in August 2020 and its reinstatement during March 2021.
- The response to the Clock’s renovation has been overwhelmingly positive.
- The client felt confident in coping with challenges following our approach and advice.
Honest messaging teamed with JQTH’s 2 Visions 2 Legacies project demonstrated the JQDT’s commitment to investigating the significance of Chamberlain’s life and work with the use of balanced narratives.
“It’s always such a professional experience working with Digital Glue.
It was so important that we got the messaging just right with our communications on this project. Even though the restoration of an iconic attraction is a very positive story, the risk of a negative black-lash was incredibly high. Digital Glue understood our problems, came up with a well thought out solution, and as a result, our feedback from the public and media was 100% positive. We will definitely be working with Digital Glue again on future PR projects”. – Steve Lovell, Communications and Marketing Manager, JQ BID