Howells © Hufton+Crow
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Shaping the future of Birmingham

The brief

For more than 15 years, we’ve worked with Howells to develop and implement a communications strategy that recognises the firm’s role in the rapid development and ongoing regeneration of Birmingham, the city where the design studio started out over 30 years ago.

At the core of the evolving brief is the need to transmit Howells’ crucial role as a designer, city-maker and key stakeholder, to relevant media, collaborators, local residents and beyond.

Birmingham is now the youngest city in Europe, and as one of the UK’s fastest growing economies is experiencing waves of investment across finance, technology and advanced manufacturing.

Key to this regeneration is Howell’s design of the buildings, public realm, and landscape of Birmingham.

What we did

We’ve enjoyed a long partnership with Howells, working as an extension of the in-house communications team and supporting the studio with press relations, project campaigns, and corporate positioning, including its recent rebrand.

Most recently, we identified key projects with characteristics that would help to articulate Howells’ role in developing the UK’s second city and offered narrative devices for framing its work, uniting Birmingham’s cultural and economic landscape with its built environment and architecture.

  • Paradise Masterplan, a new public realm connecting historic squares in the heart of the city
  • The Mercian, Birmingham’s tallest residential tower and a new build-to-rent typology for the workforce of a changing economy
  • Typhoo Wharf, a masterplan to transform underutilised land around the Digbeth canal network into the city’s new creative quarter
  • The launch of Our Future City Plan 2040, the new planning framework for the city

Our strategy was to combine media coverage focusing on these projects with thought leadership articles that expand on strategic messaging.

In support of the press campaign, we also developed and implemented a multi-channel social media content strategy for Howells.

The results

‘We worked seamlessly with our team at Caro and have built up long-standing relationships which have lasted for many years – so much so, that they feel part of our own Howells family. Their unfailing good sense, honesty and guidance has helped us develop as a practice and navigate many PR hurdles including our own recent move to Howells.’

– Dav Bansal, Howells

We secured major coverage for the projects in leading outlets, including Architects Journal, Property Week, RIBAJ, Dezeen, and the Birmingham Mail.

We also secured a regular column for Howells partner Dav Bansal in Building Design, where he writes about the public realm, regeneration, and the empowerment of young people.

The articles strengthened relationships between Howells and both its public and private partners in the future of Birmingham and provided an outlet for critical acclaim of the practice’s work from across the industry, including press and peers.

Video © Greg Holmes

howells-mercian- © Greg Holmes
howells-mercian-2 © Fred Howarth