Placemaking: ‘Post’ development challenges & considerations

March 15, 2018 • 3 minute read

As part of our ‘Placemaking: Buzzword or Brand builder?’ campaign, we are exploring the role of Placemaking brand and communications through the lens of the traditional development process – from planning permission through to legacy.

In our final chapter, we examine the top four brand and communications and challenges in the ‘Post’ development phase:

  • Communications does not just mean ‘sales’: Too often, Placemakers do not begin to think seriously about brand and story-telling until the marketing phase of a project, as they seek to engage with buyers or tenants. This is a risk. Communications plays a vital role in driving ‘sales’, but this should be part of an ongoing conversation with key stakeholders and audiences from the outset of a project. Building and enhancing a brand and its value proposition is not a bolt-on.


  • The brand balancing act: The multiplicity of stakeholders can complicate the placemaking process even after construction has finished. For instance, when looking at a mixed-use scheme or a wider urban development, a balance must be struck between a place’s identity, the vision and brand of its Placemakers, and the brands or identities of end-users, from commercial brands to residents. Collaboration and local partnership working is key to ensuring this melting-pot environment is a driver of shared success.


  • Placemaking in the fourth space: Tech-driven convergence between people, places and culture is the next horizon for Placemaking and a critical communications factor for all Placemakers to consider. Communities need to be cultivated and engaged both online and offline, including as part of an ongoing conversation that creates and curates a shared sense of place. Communications strategies must mirror this, seizing the opportunities that tech solutions provide – from Augmented Reality to social campaigns – and addressing the needs and habits of digitally-native audiences.


  • Reputation and legacy: A place’s brand, identity and supporting communications will inevitably evolve over time, as issues emerge to impact its reputation. Meanwhile, technology and public attitudes towards transparency are empowering communities to play an increasingly active role in the scrutiny of place’s legacy, assessing its impact against its stated vision. Reputation management requires a considered and holistic approach, building in various elements from social responsibility to crisis preparedness.


At the same time as navigating these issues, Placemakers also need to be savvy to the role of the media. Here’s our ‘Media Watch’ top tip for the ‘Post’ development phase.

Are you launch-ready? While brand, communications and public relations should be embedded at the start of a project, it is invariably an afterthought, addressed too late in the day when a development is ready to be launched to end users.

As part of the wider marketing mix, media profile can play an incredibly important role in reaching target audiences, lending third-party validation to a place’s offering. Media interest can be cultivated through a variety of tactics, from launch stunts and promos to creating stories that latch on to current affairs and market developments.

Click below to download the full report ‘Placemaking: Buzzword or Brand builder?’

Download Placemaking report