We create communications solutions for organisations that have a positive social impact on our everyday lives
INTELLIGENT, PERSUASIVE
AND BOLD COMMUNICATIONS

About

About IPB

At IPB Communications we have a simple purpose:

Creating communications solutions for organisations that have a positive social impact on our everyday lives through their work on our infrastructure, in our society and for our environment.

This purpose keeps our minds challenged, enthusiasm fired and business driven.

We typically work in the following sectors:

  • Social housing
  • Social Care
  • Renewables
  • Recycling
  • Infrastructure and property development
  • Sustainability
  • Public sector
  • Energy
  • Transport

IPB Communications is an award-winning full-service PR, consultation, digital and creative agency that has been delivering Intelligent, Persuasive and Bold communications since 2002.

We work with businesses and organisations large and small to help them communicate more effectively.

Everything we do is closely aligned to your objectives. Whether you want to win new business, deliver a project or persuade a key audience, our award-winning work has delivered time and again for our clients.

Our Approach

IPB DNA
We strive to be Intelligent, Persuasive and Bold in EVERYTHING we do. It’s backed up by experience and a common sense approach.
Some of the UK’s biggest brands – including AO.com, National Grid, Barratt Homes, Tesco and Innogy – have put their trust in us to communicate their key messages.
Our approach is based on integrating with your team – working in partnership with you to ensure we deliver a truly effective communications strategy.
Development
House Building
Council Housing
Turbines
Government
Biomass Energy
Pylons
High Speed Rail

What We Do

What IPB do
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IPB PR

We’re here to help you communicate with the audiences which matter to you. We’ll work with you to craft a compelling story – and use all modern communications channels to make sure it reaches the people you want to talk to. But it’s not just about making sure the message gets out there – it’s also about understanding and persuasion.

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In the past, public relations mainly involved using the media. Online and offline publications and broadcasters are still a crucial part of the mix – and we’re experts at making sure the media take notice of your business and its products and services.

But the web and social media have made things much more interesting in recent years. You can now publish your own news online – via your website and using social media channels.

We use all these approaches to shout your achievements from the rooftops and present you as an industry ‘thought leader’ in your sector.

Our team includes former journalists who know the media inside out. We know how to get the attention of the writers and editors who set the news agenda – whether national newspapers and magazines, TV and radio stations, bloggers or online commentators.

We can also help with damage limitation if you find yourself on the wrong side of the media spotlight. We can be at your side to steer you through a public relations crisis. That means making sure your side of the story is heard and understood. We can also provide media training to make sure you know how to handle the tough questions journalists will ask.

Protecting your reputation also means anticipating crises before they happen and making sure you understand any potential risks. We’ll work with you to identify any weaknesses or threats – and make sure they’re addressed before they become a problem.

What we do:

  • Media relations
  • Media releases
  • Strategic advice
  • Crisis and issues management
  • Media training
  • Media awareness training
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IPB Consult

Consultation is about listening as well as communicating. We can make sure your consultation exercise excels at both.

If you’re undertaking a big project which impacts on a local community – whether a housing estate, a new supermarket or an infrastructure scheme – how you approach consultation is critical.

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We can help you build relationships with all the stakeholders involved. Whether it’s those making the decisions (the MPs, planners, government departments and councillors) or those who might be affected (pressure groups, residents, community groups and customers). We use a mix of tried and tested methods tailored to your circumstances, including public events, political briefings, social media and bespoke websites.

We can also help you to mobilise the silent majority – the people who may often support your plans but might be reluctant to speak out in public. Identifying this group, listening to them and giving them opportunities to contribute can mean the difference between success or failure for a major project. This approach can also support decision makers to feel comfortable that they have made the right choice.

Consultation exercises require an ability to operate effectively at many different levels – and our team has the know how and experience to do this. They are as comfortable out on the street or in a community centre as they are in the board room or a council chamber. Consultation has to happen in the places where the people who matter go – whether it’s market day or a pie and peas supper.

We pride ourselves on doing the simple things well: whether it’s an engaging local exhibition, a persuasive leaflet, eye-catching infographic, a compelling video or an imaginative social media campaign.

What we do

  • Consultation strategy
  • Consultation delivery
  • Political liaison
  • Event management
  • Collateral design and production
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IPB Digital

Social media and the internet presents a massive opportunity – and one of the biggest challenges facing organisations today. There are millions of people out there online talking about you, your company, its employees and its products and services. They might be saying you’re the best there is – and they’ve loved the experience working with you. But we all know they could also be critical of you – with seemingly little or no comeback.

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We’re here to help you make sense of it all, and thrive, in the digital world we find ourselves in. And because the internet never sleeps we can work to ensure your social media profile is protected and enhanced around the clock.

We were there right at the start of social media – delivering PR campaigns which incorporated this critical communications channel back in 2006.

Our creative social campaigns have delivered time and again for clients including Tesco, Innogy, housing associations and consultancies.

We know how to make sure your social media campaigns promote a better understanding of your products, services or projects. They can help you start a conversation with seldom heard or hard-to-reach groups. And we can show you how to use social media and the web to mobilise support, lobby decision makers and find and empower local brand ambassadors.

What we do:

  • Social media planning
  • Social media day-to-day
  • Social media audits and review
  • Social listening
  • Website management
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IPB Creative

The image you present to the world is crucial to your organisation’s success. Whether it’s your brand logo, the look of your website, your social media video or the marketing materials you send to customers – it’s essential that you look your best.

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We have a team of skilled designers, creatives who can deliver high-quality design solutions quickly and effectively. They’re experts at using the latest methods in design, print, branding, video, animation and photography to showcase your organisation, and its products or services, in the best light.

Here’s what we do:

  • Collateral design and production
  • Video production
  • Photography
  • Exhibition material
  • Website creation
  • VR and augmented reality
  • CGIs
  • Print management
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IPB Engagement

There are three key elements to IPB Engagement; Community Engagement, Public Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility.

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Community engagement

Keeping things simple and to the point is vital if you are to get the attention of a local community. If announcing a change that could create uncertainty or even resistance then the message has to be straightforward. People want information in easy-to-understand bite size chunks – free from jargon.

For many years we have been talking to local communities and the key influencers and decision makers that live within. Our work demonstrates that complex issues can be effectively communicated to audiences made up of a variety of backgrounds.

By using plain language and a simple and direct style we can present the right messages in the right language and an accessible manner.

Our strength lies in taking message out to the grass roots, spelling out the facts, answering questions and concerns, tackling misinformation and rumour, and providing opportunities for feedback.

Public affairs

Getting your message through to the right audiences can be a hard slog, especially for organisations who want to have their voice heard with key decision makers in government, both at a national and local level.

We have vast experience of working with the public bodies on a wide range of projects for clients keen to have their point of view put across.

We understand how public bodies work – and we work with clients to define and focus their messages and build effective relationships with politicians, the civil service, government bodies and agencies, and sector regulators.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Doing the right thing is no longer just the right thing to do. It’s vital to the health – even survival – of your business.

Managing and communicating the message in the right way is crucial too – the consumer lobby, online influencers and employees can sniff out convenient half-truths, weasel words and hypocrisy in an instant.

Today reputation management has never been more important – witness the way that messages are spread globally, instantly and unchecked via the internet and social media. The public is demanding that the companies and organisations they deal with and the brands they buy come with impeccable ethical credentials.

Reputation management – auditing the situation, creating a better way forward and then closing the gap between reality and perception – is our remit. We make sure that a business gets due credit for its actions, deals with misconceptions or harmful and deliberate attacks, debates the consequences of a business plan or certain course of action

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IPB Crisis Support

We help with damage limitation if you find yourself on the wrong side of the media spotlight. We can be at your side to steer you through a public relations crisis. That means making sure your side of the story is heard and understood.

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In addition to providing crisis and issues support to our retained clients, we recognise smaller companies and organisations simply don’t have the resources in-house to deal with the reputational risk that comes with a crisis. The cost of employing a full-time communications specialist is prohibitive and agency retainers are also often out of reach.

Our crisis reassurance scheme provides an affordable solution and peace of mind that support is at hand to protect your reputation if you need it.

Get in touch for more information crisis@ipbcommunications.co.uk

Our team

IPB Team

Our people have the wide-ranging skills and experience you’d expect. Former journalists, in-house communications managers, public affairs experts and social media geeks – they’re all here to help you maximise the opportunities presented by the media and the web to make your voice heard. The team is led by the founders with more than 40 years’ experience.

So let’s talk … and let’s get the world talking about you.

The Leadership Team

Stewart Pimbley

Stewart Pimbley

Stewart spent seven years working as a newspaper journalist, including time as a local government reporter, before making the switch to PR. Skilled in communications, media relations and consultation, Stewart worked on the team which promoted the development and launch of the Lowry theatre and Imperial War Museum in Salford.

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Clients in local government, social housing, renewable energy, environmental and regeneration have all tapped into his expertise and skill at implementing and delivering a successful communications campaign.

He is able to draw on an impressive contacts list in the media, trade sectors, local and national government and across the public sector.

Career highlights include:

  • Leading IPB’s support on the major consultation around a new Mayoral Combined Authority in the Sheffield City Region
  • Pendleton Together Regeneration Project: from the bid stage to implementation
  • In-house full communications support for various organisations
  • Account manager for leading UK housebuilder Keepmoat
  • Working for several international clients on the promotion of UK investment projects
  • Developed and implemented successful communications strategy for several major renewable planning applications
  • Working with local authorities on communications campaigns to support devolution agenda
  • Leading more than 10 award-winning campaigns and projects

Stewart says: “The real skill in communications is to make sure everything you do links directly to an organisation’s business objectives. You also have to build strong relationships with each client – working in partnership with in-house teams and senior management to ensure you understand the business inside out and what it wants to achieve from communications activity.”

Steve Fox

Steve Fox

Steve’s background is in the public sector communications. Before helping to set up IPB Communications, he worked as a senior manager for a housing association, ensuring effective consultation to support a multi-million pound regeneration project aimed at delivering improvements to homes and communities.

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Through his work with IPB Communications, Steve has provided strategic communications consultancy to a wide variety of organisations, including local authorities, housing associations, regeneration bodies, Local Enterprise Partnerships, blue chip companies and energy providers across the country. The work has ranged from day-to-day media support to consultation on major infrastructure projects.

Steve is a skilled communicator, project manager and consultations expert.

Career highlights include:

  • Supporting RWE Innogy with the development and implementation of a national Community Engagement Charter in response to the localism agenda.
  • Account manager for National Grid providing community relations and engagement in support of infrastructure project delivery.
  • Community consultation campaigns for housebuilders Barratt Home and David Wilson Homes
  • Account manager for Sheffield City Region, developing and implementing communications campaigns around HS2.

Steve says: “Success in communications means having an intimate knowledge of the pressures and challenges which your clients face. You need to know what it’s like at the sharp end of many of the projects they are delivering. Understanding project planning and timescales is critical to the work I do with IPB clients – as is the need to respond to demands for a quick response and the ability to meet tight deadlines. You find yourself becoming part of the client’s team and that’s how you really add value.”

Case Studies

IPB Case Studies

AO.com

AO.com, the online electrical retailer, invested in a state-of-the-art recycling plant to process fridges and appliances collected from customers on delivery of new items, as well as from third-party sources. They are the first retailer in the UK to make such a move.

The brief

We have had a multi-purpose brief:

  • Work with the in-house team to announce the launch of the new plant to key stakeholders, the recycling sector and potential third party customers.
  • Work with government and key industry stakeholders to raise standards in the recycling industry and increase the amount of waste electricals collected in the UK.
  • Demonstrate and reinforce that AO is a responsible and caring business with sustainability at its heart and a willing operator in the circular economy.

What we did…

Launch of new plant

  • Produced communications strategy.
  • Delivered key elements of strategy
  • Media training and crisis and issues training.
  • Organised and managed the launch of the plant by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey.

Public affairs

  • Produced public affairs strategy.
  • Set up and managed conference and speaking opportunities.
  • Managed social media content and implementation.
  • Produced key consultation document for submission to Government.
  • Trade media relation
  • Developed key stakeholder relations e.g. Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, WRAP etc.
  • Produced a series of thought leadership articles and managed online distribution.
National Grid image

National Grid

The client

National Grid

The brief

Provide community relations and engagement support to National Grid to support the delivery of infrastructure projects.

The audience

Communities in the North of England, local stakeholders including councillors, MPs and community groups.

The message

National Grid is responsible for key infrastructure repairs and improvements to ensure the successful operation of the UK power network. This includes overhead powerline refurbishments, gas holder demolition, clean-up of land and transformer deliveries. Delivering this vital work requires communities are kept informed and given opportunities to provide feedback and ask questions.

What we did …

IPB provides ongoing communications support to ensure all those impacted by National Grid’s work are kept informed. We draft and send information letters and leaflets, provide community liaison with politicians and residents, organise community meetings and operate a freephone helpline service.

Windmills

Innogy

The client

Innogy

The brief

Renewable energy specialist Innogy turned to IPB Communications to build community and stakeholder support for its planning applications to build wind farms. The client wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of renewable energy, and its own schemes, and provide community reassurance about its proposals.

The audience

Communities where Innogy is seeking planning permission to build renewable energy projects; local stakeholders including political leaders.

The message

Renewable energy schemes such as wind farms can have a range of benefits for communities and the environment. Innogy seeks to foster support for applications by building relationships with the local communities where it operates. The company is keen to ‘give something back’ to the areas where it builds wind farms – through generous community investment programmes.

What we did …

A variety of communications tools were successfully deployed to achieve the client’s objectives including media and social media campaigns, consultation roadshows and newsletters. We arranged and convened meetings between the Innogy team and local councillors, MPs and council officers to build support. We also developed relationships with local community members and businesses to establish a network which was enthusiastic about the schemes.

Lincoln home

Barratt and David Wilson Homes

The client

Barratt and David Wilson Homes

The brief

Ensure effective and meaningful consultation to support the delivery of housing developments in Yorkshire.

The audience

Local communities in Yorkshire where Barratt and David Wilson Homes is building new housing developments.

The message

Barratt and David Wilson Homes is committed to building the new homes the country needs, but takes care to consider the needs and opinions of local communities first. The company aims to listen to residents’ views and ensure the supporting infrastructure is in place to make new housing developments a success.

What we did …

Supported more than 30 pre-planning consultations across the county which have included public exhibitions and information materials sent to residents’ homes. Campaigns are backed up by online and offline media and social media activity. IPB also supports Barratt Homes during the planning process through the production of Statements of Community Engagement.

Teeside

Tesco

The client

Tesco employed IPB to carry out consultation campaigns to engage with local communities and stakeholders, and maximise support for new  store developments across the UK. We provided support for more than 40 projects, from convenience to Extra stores.

The audience

Communities where Tesco was seeking planning permission to build new stories, including local stakeholders such as councillors, MPs and local businesses.

 The message

With clear and concise key messages – job creation, employment training, investment and shopping choice – we explained a complex planning and design process to the local community.

The audiences

Communities where Tesco was seeking planning permission to build new stories, including local stakeholders such as councillors, MPs and local businesses.

What we did…

IPB developed an integrated consultation campaign, involving media relations, community events, drop-in sessions, social media and political engagement. The aim was to get local people to drive the consultation, sparking local interest in the proposals and mobilising a large groundswell of support. Key to the success of the campaigns was providing residents with social events and links to employment opportunities. We involved local community groups, schools, libraries, health centres and large employers. In addition we gained political support by involving local politicians in the development of our community engagement programmes.

 

Lincoln City Council

The brief

We were appointed by the council to undertake a consultation exercise with the 400 plus residents of its sheltered housing schemes. The consultation was to gain residents’ views on a series of proposed changes to services and staffing.

The audience

Sheltered housing residents

What we did

The council set a target of consulting 60% of residents, a target they freely admitted was challenging given the vulnerable nature of many of the residents and the fact their previous consultation had reached 49%. We achieved a 79% response rate. This was achieved by using home visits as the primary methodology along with close liaison with council staff and relatives of residents. We had weekly progress calls with the council to monitor progress, identify any barriers and ensure that the consultation timetable was adhered to.

Ordsall

Salix Homes

The client

Salix Homes

The brief

Provide full service pr and communications consultancy.

The audience

Salix Homes customers and stakeholders.

The message

Salix Homes is a leading provider of social housing, community and regeneration services in Salford, Greater Manchester. Every day, this innovative social business works to improve the housing options and quality of life for thousands of people across the city.

What we did …

At short notice we were able to provide all the services demanded of a busy communications team of a large social housing provider. This included proactive and reactive media relations, social media management, video production and photography. IPB consultants provided office and out of hours cover and drafted two press releases per week which were sold in to local and national media. We also ensured effective crisis and issues management, and identified and promoted feature opportunities to position Salix as a ‘thought leader’ in the sector.

Sir Bobby

Pendleton Together

The client

Pendleton Together

The brief

IPB was recruited by the Pendleton Together regeneration project to publicise its work to improve housing and life chances for local people in a disadvantaged area of Salford. The £650 million project is the country’s biggest PFI regeneration scheme.

The audience

Local residents in Pendleton and key local and national decision makers – MPs, housing sector leaders, councillors etc.

The message

Pendleton Together is transforming the neighbourhood of Pendleton: building 1,600 new homes and giving 1,250 a makeover; job creation and training; and business creation. It’s creating a fantastic place for people to live with new parks and open spaces, new streets and footpaths and even a city farm.

What we did …

IPB Communications used the web, advertising, social media, events, video and the press, TV and radio to shout from the rooftops the achievements of Pendleton Together. Our work with Pendleton dates back to 2005 when we helped the team with its initial bid for funding from the government. We also supported Pendleton Together to deliver meaningful consultation to truly involve local communities in the regeneration of their neighbourhoods. Our efforts also focused on ensuring local politicians and decision makers were kept updated on the progress of the project. We even got football legend Sir Bobby Charlton to name a street after one of the Busby’s babes.

Panel

DTP

The client

DTP

The brief

Social housing consultancy DTP has commissioned IPB Communications to raise its profile in the sector in order to secure new business and grow its team.

The audience

Decision makers in the social housing sector – chief executives, finance officers, senior management.

The message

DTP is a ‘thought leader’ which is able to offer insight into industry trends and critical analysis of the major challenges and opportunities facing social housing providers. Its team of consultants have extensive knowledge of the issues and problems facing registered providers including mergers, financial pressures, governance and regulation.

What we did …

IPB Communications works across all channels to build and enhance DTP’s reputation in the social housing sector. We produce a range of content for the web including blogs and comment articles which are shared via social media channels and key industry publications. We also support the business at industry conferences such as the CIH Conference to network with senior industry professionals and market the business and its services.

Sheffield people

Sheffield City Region Devolution

The client

Sheffield City Region Devolution

The brief

Get the message out to businesses and residents in Sheffield City Region about devolution – and gather local views on how to make it work.

The audience

Local residents and businesses in the Sheffield City Region.

The message

The deal struck between SCR and the government will give the region control of a £1.3billion budget over the next 30 years. The new powers and funding will help SCR to deliver improvements to infrastructure, transport, skills and housing and boost the local economy. The views and ideas of local residents and businesses will be vital to making devolution a success.

What we did …

IPB ran a series of nine consultation events across nine local authorities over one month. The events were supported by strategic media activity, a social media campaign, an infographic animation , a business liaison strategy and opinion polling.

SOCIAL HOUSING

Local authorities

The client

Local authorities

The brief

We have worked for more than 90 local authorities and regeneration organisations, primarily providing consultation and communications support on major housing investment projects. This has involved a considerable amount of work around housing transfer consultations involving the transfer of homes from local authorities to newly-formed housing associations. These particular projects involved winning the hearts and minds of tenants to vote on the proposal. We know how to engage tenants, leaseholders and stakeholders – demonstrated by an average turnout of 70% in transfer ballots.

The audience

A mix of stakeholders had to be consulted on the housing transfer work, primarily tenants and leaseholders, followed by council employees and local politicians.

The message

The messaging was primarily about the additional investment and service improvements possible in homes and communities with a successful ballot. It also focussed on measures to secure the long term future of social housing provision for local communities.

What we did…

We helped the councils to take the campaigns directly to tenants, using a wide range of methods. Key strands of activity included:

  • Tabloid style newsletters and publications delivered to every home. Bright, eye-catching and written in a language that tenants could understand.
  • Video, presented by a local celebrity and featuring interviews with tenants and housing staff.
  • Support for council staff who had face-to-face contact with tenants.
  • Freephone advice line
  • Roadshows: toured local estates, with staff answering tenants’ questions and distributing literature.

Our Clients

IPB Clients
  • AO.com
  • National Grid
  • Innogy
  • Barrat Homes
  • David Wilson
  • Tesco
  • Lincoln City Council
  • Salix Homes
  • Together
  • DTP
  • SCR
  • Ventient Energy
  • Sheffield City
  • Dobbies
  • Smyths

Our Latest Blogs

IPB Clients

Video – keep it simple

Written by Stewart Pimbley|18th July 2019

We’ve talked before about how effective video can be in terms of getting your message across. Shoot on an iphone, this 5 second clip of AO Recycling’s millionth fridge being processed has notched up more than 16k hits on LinkedIn – keep it simple when telling the story.

[read more...]

Identify the risks to your reputation

Written by Stewart Pimbley|10th July 2019

A question every organisation needs to ask is “what measures do we have in place to protect our reputation?” But before you answer this question, you need to identify and understand what the reputational risks are to your organisation. The risks can be split between internal and external and then between incident-led and issues-led. Internal

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Contact

Lodge House, 144 Woone Lane, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 1BX.

T: 0161 976 1414

E: postmaster@ipbcommunications.co.uk

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