Hi, my name is Tori Hywel-Davies and I’m the Communications and Campaigns Lead with the VRP. My marketing communications background developed in both private and public sectors having also worked in journalism.
Scoping the role to help establish the brand and reputation for Merseyside’s first-ever Violence Reduction Partnership was incredibly exciting, and I have experience in setting up and establishing new departments but it was the ‘reducing serious violence’ from a public health approach, (tackling violence as a public health issue), which really appealed.
It felt daunting, too. We’d have to establish ourselves without, for example, using traditional devices like competitive pricing and incentivisation to muscle into a scene as a trading startup could. Plus, while there is brand parity because we’re unique in what we do, there is so much crossover with others and therefore, scope for confusion, that we knew we’d have to work extra hard at differentiation.
As a team, we worked with an agency (ICE) to develop our brand; the steering group had input too. We agreed it was critical that our commitment to partnership working across Merseyside came through in our brand identity. In our logo, each differently coloured petal represents one of the five boroughs in Merseyside and they all travel in the same direction. The vertical letters in our logo, VRP, are in bold to start seeding our acronym in people’s minds.
To continue building the VRP’s brand, we created our portfolio of communication channels and social media, (please do follow us on Twitter, Insta or Facebook if you don’t already). Working with Mocha Productions and Millmotion, we’ve produced some great films and animations to showcase our ambitions and projects to reduce serious violence in Merseyside; we’ve generated press including this feature about permanent exclusion guidance for education and our campaign partnership with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, and we’ve produced campaigns with the agency, Uniform.
I am proud of how much we achieved in those heady five months, which ended in the announcement of our first lockdown – the same day as the launch of our inaugural campaign EYES OPEN. You couldn’t make it up. And, as you can imagine, the news agenda has frustrated our efforts for some time.
Almost one year on, we continue to seed our brand in the minds of stakeholders, partners and communities with new products like this newsletter and new campaigns like You Know Who. It’s rewarding work and it’s challenging too – partly because we are still a startup, (in human terms we’ve just started to crawl), and it’s a new concept to Merseyside. But with COVID receding slightly and thankfully, another year of funding coming, we intend to strut our stuff a little more. Luckily, we are blessed with outstanding projects, people and partnerships, which makes my job a whole lot easier.