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North East LEP takes its brand and digital presence to new heights

17 May 2015

Horizonworks has been supporting the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) in strengthening its communications and marketing activity, with results including a refreshed brand, creative design work and a new, responsive website. Here, we focus on our work for the organisation…. and how we’re helping to promote the North East area in the process.

The North East LEP is responsible for delivering the North East Strategic Economic Plan, bringing investment into the area including the £330 million Local Growth Deal and championing the North East nationally and globally, to influence and shape the continued economic growth of the area.

Covering the local authority areas of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland, the North East LEP is business-lead, with its board including representatives from private businesses, higher and further education and the leaders and elected mayor of the seven local authority areas.

Its North East Strategic Economic Plan – which sets out a clear strategy for a stronger North East economy – is at the heart of the North East LEP’s work and Horizonworks is now playing a key role in supporting its delivery, bringing to bear our vast experience of working with the public and private sectors and our expertise as a full service marketing company.

Commissioned by the North East LEP to refresh its brand, including creative design work, and develop a new responsive website, our work also included working with local SMEs and key stakeholders to develop a better understanding of the issues and potential of LEP communications activity, and using this research to create a stronger and more holistic brand and visual identity for the North East LEP.

One of the most important aspects of our work with the North East LEP was the design and build of a new website to champion the North East to national and global audiences and convey the LEP’s strategic objectives, capabilities and support for businesses.

The website, www.northeastlep.co.uk, creates a clear, accessible and comprehensive view of the breadth of work that the North East LEP is working on to improve skills, encourage innovation and support business growth and better infrastructure. It is helping to build the profile of this work with local businesses and organisations.

And we have also designed a portfolio of visuals that support and amplify the LEP’s messages, focusing on the ambition of delivering more and better jobs for the region, and delivering the North East Strategic Economic Plan.
A series of photographs were commissioned to showcase companies and organisations in the North East LEP area – these support key messages and provide imagery for the creative campaign and website.

In addition, Horizonworks is developing one of the projects included in the North East Strategic Economic Plan – an online Apprenticeship Hub for the North East LEP, which will act as a focal point for employers, with information on apprenticeship schemes and support.

We’ve drawn on many of our core strengths whilst working with the North East LEP, from our creative flair and digital marketing know-how to our ability to engage with stakeholders and use research findings to inform messaging and brands. And we’re proud to have helped promote the North East to audiences near and far.

Commenting on our work, Helen Golightly, Chief Operating Officer at the North East LEP, says: “Our mission is to create strong, long-term growth for the North East economy.

“Building up strong relationships and networks across sectors and industries is essential to achieving this, so, it’s vital that our messages are communicated clearly and consistently to all our partners. With the new website and creative work, Horizonworks has helped us to achieve this aim.

“Working with Horizonworks is helping to support our delivery of The North East Strategic Economic Plan and the new website forms a core communication tool for stakeholders, investors and potential investors based around the world. Through better communications we can continue to strengthen our partnerships and deliver the Economic Plan – together we can achieve a stronger future for the North East.”

Samantha Davidson, managing director of Horizonworks, adds: “We share the North East LEP’s vision of building a stronger economic landscape in the North East and we have developed a visual style, website and creative campaign which will help to communicate the organisation’s role, activities and objectives.

“With our roots firmly based in the North East and a proven track record for delivering results and maximising return on investment for our clients, it is a privilege to be using our marketing strengths and experience in both the public and private sectors to promote both the work of the North East LEP and the region as a whole.”

For the last five years, Horizonworks has been working with organisations like the North East LEP and companies from sectors including engineering, manufacturing, biotechnology, professional services, renewable energy and technology in developing their brand and communicating their messages across traditional and digital marketing channels. And we’ve made a major impact for our clients by doing this.

“Working with Horizonworks is helping to support our delivery of The North East Strategic Economic Plan and the new website forms a core communication tool for stakeholders, investors and potential investors based around the world. Through better communications we can continue to strengthen our partnerships and deliver the Economic Plan – together we can achieve a stronger future for the North East.”

North East LEP

Q&A With Helen Golightly, chief Operating Officer, North East LEP

What factors lead to the North East LEP implementing a review of its brand and digital presence?
In March 2014 we published the North East Strategic Economic Plan. This marked the beginning of a new phase for the North East LEP, moving focus from strategic economic leadership to being responsible for the delivery of the plan, the success of which will be driven by businesses and organisations working together in partnership to achieve a common goal. Marketing and communications plays a central role in achieving this as well as delivering elements of the plan itself. It is essential that our communication channels are fit to support this – that we have a brand that people can relate to and understand, and a digital presence that provides a platform for us to communicate clearly and concisely about the economic plan and its themes.

How important is it for the LEP to communicate clearly and effectively?
One of our priorities is to work even more closely with partners and businesses as the greatest success will only come with a collaborative approach. Clear and effective communication is central to this – raising the North East LEP’s profile, building relationships with businesses and business leaders across the North East, and delivering elements of the plan itself.

What did Horizonworks bring to the project?
Horizonworks helped us create a strong contemporary and professional brand that is adaptable and fluid, reflecting the culture and values of the North East LEP. They provided an outstanding service from the outset, understanding our ambitions and vision for where the brand needed to be. Through a responsive, proactive and creative approach they brought experience and knowledge to ensure both the brand and the website maximised its potential, whilst providing value for money to ensure a holistic approach to our marketing and communication needs.

What has been the feedback to the brand, website and marketing materials – both internally and from external stakeholders?
We’re delighted with the creative, and have had really positive feedback from all partners, particularly around the website. The site has created a really intuitive overview of all our work – which encompasses a great range of information on business support, innovation, skills and connectivity. It has been built in a way that will allow us to continue to grow and develop this information, which we are looking at over the coming months. The brand work is a significant part of the site as well, it has enabled us to clearly define and promote our key messages, and through strong and supporting images, visualise the strengths of the North East – its people and its growing sectors.

Where will the brand and digital presence take the LEP?
Over the coming years the North East LEP has one clear priority – to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan and deliver more and better jobs for the North East. The brand and digital presence is an important part of achieving this as it will enable us to provide clear, concise, accessible and engaging communications that will encourage greater collaboration and develop a stronger understanding of our work, as well as the challenges and opportunities that come alongside this.

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