Battersea Power Station | Pagefield

A new lease of life for a London icon

A new lease of life for a London icon

The iconic building, decommissioned as a power station in 1983, had been seen as a ‘white elephant’, with numerous failures to develop it ever since.

Battersea Power Station was acquired from its administrators by three Malaysian companies (Sime Darby, SP Setia and Employees’ Provident Fund) with the promise of redevelopment, the co-funding of an extension to the Northern Line and a new tube station at the site.

The new owners recognised that being well prepared for potential media criticism was essential.

Pagefield was appointed by the new owners in July 2012 to undertake a communications risk assessment, as the preliminary stage to the creation of a full-scale crisis communications strategy. We also delivered media skills training for key senior Executives, handled all media enquiries on behalf of BPS and managed the international press launch.

As part of the preparatory work, we identified all the main communications risks associated with the plans for BPS, producing a detailed report, which also informed our strategic approach to the messaging, materials and logistics for the press conference.

From a practical level, the number of stakeholders within the business (operating from a different time zone) meant that timely and accurate internal communication was difficult in the initial stages. Pagefield developed and implemented an internal communications protocol, designed to make the decision-making process prompt and efficient. This proved effective.

The launch press conference proceeded smoothly, with all difficult issues handled comfortably thanks to advance preparation, including rehearsals with the key spokespeople. Analysis of the coverage conducted by Pagefield showed that arguably 94% of the articles and broadcast pieces were positive, and 90% contained at least four of the possible six positive messages.