Cambridge Water plc

Corporate and crisis PR for Cambridge Water

Ensuring that the local message concerning the recent acquisition of Cambridge Water reassured our customers while conforming to the new owner’s corporate approach required skilful negotiation and drafting. Fortunately Phillips Profile has those skills and the local media contacts to enable all our objectives to be met.

Stephen Kay, Managing Director, Cambridge Water PLC

A corporate PR campaign communicating clearly with consumers and building resilient customer relationships

Client

Cambridge Water plc is responsible for supplying drinking water to Cambridge and the surrounding rural areas. As a vital supply centre to the community, Cambridge Water makes clear communication a priority on consumer matters and corporate affairs.

Type

Retainer

Services

Copywriting, Core PR, Crisis PR, Design and print management, Event management, Exhibition management, Internal affairs, Planning and strategy, Proofreading

Brief

As a local, monopoly supplier, Cambridge Water was keen to build positive relationships with both customers and the local community and to foster understanding of the need to conserve a precious commodity. Phillips Profile was asked to devise a PR programme that would achieve this and in addition to work with the senior management team to ensure that corporate matters of importance to customers, such as the sale of the company, were communicated clearly through press and radio. Our work for Cambridge Water also encompassed crisis PR.

Result

  • Producing a quarterly newsletter for customers containing information on a range of water-related topics including Cambridge Water’s network and plans, for example, to introduce water meters, advice on how to conserve water and a customer prize draw
  • Working with Cambridgeshire Police and a local primary school over a campaign to raise awareness amongst the elderly of the dangers of bogus callers.(Such callers often represented themselves as being from the water company).Children were asked to design a card for their grandparents illustrating what to be wary of and how to check that callers were who they said they were. Advice from Cambridge Water and the police was printed on each card and a calendar of the best entries was distributed to the elderly in the local area
  • The Village Life Fund, created and sponsored by Cambridge Water, in conjunction with the Cambridge News, awarded grants to help fund village activities and projects and the Cambridge Life Fund, similarly offered grants to fund community events in Cambridge city
  • A watercolour painting competition open to both amateur and professional artists with the prize of a watercolour painting masterclass and winning entries displayed in a public exhibition in Cambridge
  • Co-operation with other local businesses. For example, Scotsdales Garden Centre helped mount an exhibition stand showing examples of plants suited to dry weather to encourage people not to water their gardens
  • The well-thought-out approach to communicating the news of the company’s sale to customers, approved by Cambridge Water and HSBC the new owners, made clear what was happening through radio interviews and local press articles. Estimating beforehand what the customers would be anxious to know, the press release made it clear that no job cuts were planned, nor any increase in bills. The announcement of the sale was well received by reassured customers.