The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster

The brief 

The exam questions from Visitor Services and the Public Information Department at The Palace of Westminster were: Who are the British Public today? What are their Political Engagement levels? Who are our Visitors? What are the motivations to visit us? What do they experience when they visit Westminster Palace?  And, finally, what can we learn about their channel habits that will help us to engage with them better going forward?

Our approach 

So, no mean task with an 8 week lead in and a budget that would reflect real value for money for The Palace and of course those of us who pay our taxes towards its smooth running.

We knew from the start that we would need to identify and interrogate vast amounts of data. So we secured the assistance of our strategic partner Experian to help us and to be kind in their consideration of fees.  By using their strong MOSAIC groupings as a starting point on which to overlay data around voting sensitivity from a variety of current sources we felt we could get to a point of answering the first two questions. We also had to hand around 100,000 ticketing records from the Visitor Attraction, which were thankfully postcoded, enabling us to take them and overlay them against both MOSAIC and voting data to give us a strong picture of the state of the proverbial Nation.

With all of this to hand, we then needed to understand more about the Visitor experience from point of consideration to departure from the building. We are of course a social business so we try to ensure that every single thing we do has social value. Having agreed that 500 Exit Interviews were going to give us a statistically rich seam of information, we decided to make this element of the work the one that had social value built in. We recruited a team of young people under 21 years of age from deprived areas of London to deliver our exits. We then put them through free training with our field research partner MPE Europe. Not only did they do a fantastic job for our client, they also were paid above the minimum wage for their efforts and left the job with a new skill on their CVs.

Finally, we conducted 20 face to face phone interviews with couples post their visit; talked in workshops to over 40 staff on the front line of both Visitor Services providing public information, and reviewed over 10 years of earlier extant research reports to add some past learnings, and also to ensure that everything past and present was collected.

The deliverables were: a picture of the British Public today; evidence based segmentation of their interest in engaging with Parliament and with the Visitor Attraction; insight around barriers and motivations to both engagement and visiting; intelligence around channel sensitivity of audience segments and finally a suite of 15 deep, rich personas  against which to plan brand and marketing activity. Messaging priorities were also suggested, as were how audiences and messages could be aligned across the work of The Palace as a whole.

As a small company it’s been a huge privilege to have been able to work with the country’s most famous National Institution. We hope that our work will provide true guidance to Parliament as it moves forward with its plans.

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