The Newcastle charity, The Common Room of the Great North Limited (The Common Room), has appointed a marketing consultancy to put in place an updated marketing strategy to support the delivery of its business plan.
Following a successful competitive tender, the long-established Newcastle-based marketing and PR consultancy, Clothier Lacey & Co, was awarded the commission.
Since The Common Room reopened in 2021, following a massive redevelopment programme, the Grade II* Listed building, has faced all the challenges of the hospitality sector in a post covid world, followed by a cost-of-living crisis, as chief executive, Liz Mayes, explains:
“The timing of our refurbishment could not have been more challenging. The building was obviously closed to visitors throughout the pandemic and was ineligible for much of the government grant support available to hospitality and venues. Therefore, ensuring a profitable trading income to our charity, to support our mission and programme, has been a recurring challenge since we reopened in early 2021 when the world was still suffering the last throes of the pandemic.
“Nonetheless, we have established a positive reputation for the quality of our STEM engagement activities, work on diversity in engineering, our meeting space, events calendar, candlelit concerts programme and 5 Quarter Café Bar.
“More recently we have seen several couples tie the knot here and have forward wedding bookings over the next year too, but there is still a need for a refocusing on income generation and fundraising activities – a plan which fully maximises the potential of this amazing heritage building to ensure we have a bright and sustainable future.
“Given the economic circumstances we have been trading through over the last two years, our performance has not been too disheartening, but we can do so much more, which is where Clothier Lacey will be assisting us.
“Their proposals were very detailed and showed a clear understanding of the issues surrounding the brief and our charitable purpose. They are very well connected with the region’s decision makers and we liked the team’s enthusiasm. We are enjoying working with them and hope to have a new plan in place by the end of October, so watch this space!”
Commenting on her firm’s appointment, Philippa Clothier, added: “We were thrilled to have secured this commission. It is a perfect fit for my personal marketing experience, having worked in the sector all my career, as well as our digital skills, which will play a huge role in the marketing of The Common Room’s events and facilities going forward.
“This is a marvellous building, which represents such a huge part of the industrial and engineering heritage of North East England. It is an accessible, inspiring, high-quality space with a mission to use its unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers, so it is vital that its future is secured for the common good.
“It is an exciting piece of work and we are full of ideas, so we are working closely with Liz and Philippa King-Williams, head of trading, with the aim of getting all our thoughts and creativity into one coherent and deliverable marketing plan for implementation by The Common Room’s in-house team in time for the Christmas season.”
The work has been supported through a Grant Increase from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.