Isaac Poyser recently joined our team of placemaking, property and destination PR specialists as Junior Account Executive. A recent graduate from Lincoln University, Isaac brings a fresh perspective to our communications strategies.
Here, Isaac discusses how a module in the history of urban planning sparked his interest in the built environment, as well as what he feels are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing placemakers, and the role of communications in addressing them.
What excites you most about working in placemaking PR?
For me, working in placemaking PR is a dynamic way to be involved in the delivery of exciting new spaces, and in enhancing the quality of life for communities. At university, I studied a module exploring the history of urban planning and the development of towns and cities – something that really sparked an interest in placemaking and the built environment. Having a physical place as the focal point of communications allows me to have a tangible marker of success, as you get to experience first-hand how local people and visitors engage with those places now and in the future. This is hugely motivating for me, as communicating and engaging with these audiences, and supporting placemakers in attracting the right investment that will help areas best serve their communities, is fundamental to thriving neighbourhoods, towns and cities.
Having the opportunity to work with a wide variety of clients and places means no two days are ever the same.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing placemakers, and what considerations should be given to their communications considering these?
The last few years hasn’t been kind to businesses and individuals alike. Looking ahead, there’s the continued post-pandemic recovery, the cost-of-living crisis and major economic uncertainty, all combined with an ongoing climate crisis, which means that placemakers are facing a triple threat when it comes to delivering new destinations and supporting communities.
Whilst hope for a better future is important, placemakers can’t ignore the fact that, for many, the immediate is far more pressing. If communications fail to understand this, developers risk seeming tone-deaf and out-of-touch.
It is at times of adversity that we often see the most exciting innovation. But it is not only placemakers that should be driving innovation in the built environment, it is our responsibility as communicators to ensure our PR, marketing and engagement strategies are as innovative and inclusive as possible. The built environment needs to become (and is becoming) more human-centric, and communications has a vital role to play in this.
What three things would you most like to see placemaking PRs do better / more of / less of in 2023?
From both a developer and PR perspective, I’d like to see even more emphasis on people. This means more research and more substantial engagement to understand what audiences and communities really need – as ultimately the aim of placemaking and redevelopment is to serve the groups that live, work and socialise in these areas.
Also, social media has become so commonplace in our day-to-day lives that PRs must utilise it to its full effect, from both a B2C and B2B perspective. It is still so often an afterthought, but it is a mistake to separate the physical from the digital, especially when you consider that Instagram is the most popular source of news amongst 13-17 year olds.
I’d also like to see a higher level of engagement between PRs and the designers and architects behind new developments. Their insight into how macro shifts and trends have impacted the creation and design of the space or spaces is invaluable to telling the most interesting stories.
What are you most looking forward to next year?
I’m excited about the development and future of my career at Coverdale Barclay and as a whole, there’s so much to learn in both the PR industry and the wider built environment. I’m excited to get to know Coverdale Barclay’s clients even better, and visiting the projects and places they represent – and to help in the communications delivery of some inspiring destinations.