Liverpool Grand Central is an iconic staple of Architecture in its city. It is recorded in the Natural Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building, and was completed in 1811. It has served as a meeting space for faith, culture and commerce ever since.
Repurposing a space that carries such a rich history, so deeply embedded in the heart and culture of a city, was steeped in responsibility.
A new venture, the Grand Central Hotel, Hall & Food Bazaar opened in that building in the summer of 2018. Prior to opening, they needed an engaged audience, which in turn needed to be assured that this place still belonged to them. Paying proper dividends to the character of the city was a priority. Making it recognisable, appealing and exciting, and doing so to meet a reasonable budget was a must.
Choosing a Website Solution
The new owners of Grand Central reached out to Easytech to help them. We began by developing a mini PR strategy for the openings of their Event Space and Food Hall (a Camden Market-esque enterprise). They left it to us to create and nurture a successful brand personality, on and offline.
Far too often do Small – Medium Retail/Food & Beverage outlets generate hype via word of mouth, freebies and mailing lists, only to fail in capitalising properly on their success. Easytech Solutions built for Grand Central a Web, Marketing and Content Marketing Strategy that would see them through those turbulent first two years.
The First Steps: Generating the Hype and Building a Brand
Grand Central had already begun organising a ‘Grand Opening’ for their event space in the building’s former ball-room. It was a really exciting thing for our team to be jumping on board with! We wanted to generate a party atmosphere – after all it was a great excuse for a celebration – but we also wanted to make sure that the brand was going to be impressing the right people and making waves from there on out. Alongside their Events Management Team, we developed:
- A “Drip-Feed” Social Media campaign backed by Local and National Press: This is the ‘buzz’ about the brand, capitalising on the iconic nature of the building. It was done by involving media in the building process through exclusive invites, interviews and tours of the site whilst building work was ongoing. We fed more and more info to the Press on the project, who would in turn update the public. In some cases we wrote and curated the material ourselves using our trained on-staff journalists.
- Creating Content and “Leapfrogging” the Organic Reach: The Press Engagement and back-links would triple, quadruple and spread even further the Organic Reach of the information we chose to release through Social channels. And of course the positive write-ups didn’t hurt in building hype either. Liasing with the engaged media contacts, we would build an optimised schedule of photo and video content that we produced ourselves or amassed from these external resources. This created engagement from the buzz and had followers excitedly sharing our Creative Content amongst their friends, becoming unofficial “brand ambassadors”.
Taking Shape and Claiming the Space: Creating the Brand Personality, Website, Social Media, and SEO Strategy
- Developing the Brand’s Assets: The Easytech team members with a background in design and marketing performed Market Research and SWOT analyses. This was to establish what language and visuals worked best for the biggest disruptors in the UK Food & Beverage Market. Also taking into account the Gaudi-esque design of the Food Hall’s interior and the historical nature of the building, we developed a typeface and logo for the Grand Central Food Bazaar team.
- Building the Website: From this point on, we built the site. We used the assets and content we had created and built https://liverpoolgrandcentral.co.uk, appearing on the first page of Google. Easytech configured, managed and optimised their SEO, Adwords Strategy, Written Content, Pings and Backlinks, Media Links, Reviews and Appraisals to create a site that lives, breathes and grows with the engagement and feedback they receive (which continues to be overwhelmingly positive).
Making it Work: The Grand Openings
As it’s not currently an official part of our offer, being directly involved in the Event Planning of the Grand Central Hall and Food Bazaar offered a fun challenge for our team to pit themselves against. Most crucial to their success in this aspect, was proper management and negotiation of partnerships.
This was achieved through positive, direct contact with media outlets (including Liverpool Echo, Lad Bible and others), local bloggers and VIPs in the city. We extended the company’s influence by nurturing these relationships closely. Skilled in negotiation, our Project Manager spent some time courting the management teams of The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson, as well as founder of Mowgli Restaurant and TV’s Sunday Brunch chef Nisha Katona. Both were in attendance for the Hall and Food Bazaar openings respectively.
We created further visual, video and written campaigns on the star-studded support that Grand Central received. This added to the wealth of marketing materials that we created for Grand Central.
We are pleased to add that this has established them as a force to be reckoned with in the Liverpool Food & Drink Market.
Our mantra? ‘Great content, in the right place, backed by smart digital strategy, makes all the difference.’ Grand Central is just another example of how effective this really is.