Everton stadium campaign praised by academics and marketers

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Everton FC has been hailed for its approach in communicating its new stadium complex.

The chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and academics at the Universities of Salford and Liverpool have praised the club’s campaign.

Ahead of the full announcement of the new stadium, it created a standalone brand - The People’s Project - believing that the Everton logo could “present a barrier” to some audiences.

It then held a public consultation in 2 stages, featuring travelling roadshows, using the latest Virtual Reality technology; a downloadable app; plus workshops for fans, residents, civic societies and key stakeholders to test the Club’s approach to the design of the new stadium.

The Club also publicly engaged with national politicians and members of the upper house with a drop-in session at the House of Commons.

"Strong brands put their customer at the heart of everything they do, and Everton's stadium consultation is a shining example of this. The club has not assumed, but asked fans what it is they want, inviting Evertonians and the wider public alike to play a meaningful part in the process,” stated Chris Daly, the head of CIM.

"Its choice of engagement channels has marked the club out as an innovator: incorporating the latest VR technology and recognising the popularity of apps, while not abandoning proven marketing techniques such as drop-in sessions and workshops.”

More than 20,000 people responded to the first consultation. While the second enabled fans to experience a VR fly over and fly through the stadium as well as standing in the centre circle.

“Everton’s consultation and engagement has seen them live up to their reputation as the People’s Club. There has been a real rigour and depth to their engagement over the last two years – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their plans have been received so well,” said Professor Michael Parkinson, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement at the University of Liverpool and an advisor to national governments and the European Commission on urban affairs.

“The Club has acted in a clear and transparent way and genuinely reached out to fans, the business community and local people to ensure that the dialogue around the scheme is meaningful and in-depth. Some of the immersive technologies they have used to bring their plans to life, coupled with the breadth and depth of the engagement activities can provide valuable lessons for organisations undertaking engagement and consultation processes.”

Chris Brady, Director of the Centre for Sport Business at Salford University, as well as an independent commissioner on the Football Regulatory Authority added:

“The terms `engagement’ and ‘consultation’ are often bandied about as soundbites, but Everton have actually taken the terms very seriously in developing their plans for their new stadium. They have involved fans, residents, businesses and even members of the public who have no interest in football but who understand the positive effect such a development can have on the local community. 

“All of the various stakeholders have been made to understand that they are fellow travellers on this arduous journey and that their views and support are central to the success of the project. The credit for this inclusive approach must go to the Club and, indeed, the way Everton have gone about this project could be seen as a model for how such huge civil engineering developments should be approached in the future.”

The results from the second stage public consultation are currently being analysed and fed into the stadium design team. Prior to the submission of the planning applications, the Club will reveal the final designs for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and a community-led legacy at Goodison Park.

These are expected before the end of the year.

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