Tackling Cost of Living comms

By Andy Allsopp, Chair of LGcomms

Here are the top three take-aways from September’s joint seminar with JCDecaux in London on communicating in the cost-of-living-crisis.

  1. When times are good, you should advertise. When times are hard, you must advertise.

As earlier in the year, our friends from JCDecaux and Chris Felton, JCD’s Director of Data and Insight,  were reminded us that even though times may economically challenging (that goes for councils as much as individuals) its important to see beyond the here and now and into the longer term.

There is more optimism among consumers/residents than earlier in the year – and spending on luxuries is increasing – but the tough conditions remain. Average income will still be impacted by high utility bills this winter, potentially more expensive than last year now the Government’s £400 support per household isn’t there.

If your council is supporting families this winter and wants to encourage take-up, out-of-home advertising remains a top option –

2. Cost-of-living campaign should begin and end in communities for maximum credibility and impact

When Essex County Council launched its first 2 Community Supermarkets last winter – offering affordable food to neighbourhoods impacted by cost-of-living pressures and spiralling food prices – it put the community itself, volunteers, food producers and suppliers at the heart of its plans.  Nine months later, shoppers have flocked to the first 2 shops in Jaywick and Laindon, and the council’s ambitions have stretched to opening a community supermarket in each of the Essex’s 12 districts. Patience and perseverance is required on comms and marketing, and maximum flexibility on timing – but the reputational capital, and community benefits, are pure gold.  Find out more here:

3. Embracing diversity and inclusion isn’t an add on, it’s central to campaign success

No change here from the Spring. Nearly 80% of residents want to hear messages from public services on-street, according to the JCDecaux’s research from 2020. Over 60% are more likely to engage with advertising which is tailored for “me”.

The take-away here is obvious, but to stay effective, engaging and relevant, councils need to target messages toward specific ethnic communities within their areas. Brands and businesses are already doing so to great effect. Out-of-home-advertising is a great route – ubiquitous, democratic and open.


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