Hitachi Intercity Express Programme

[Agency: Havas PR UK]

Challenge: To create a positive media environment that enables the success of Hitachi’s project to build the U.K.’s next generation of Intercity trains. This includes media relations support during government tender and negotiations, site selection for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) factory and release of details of the train design, against the complex and politically charged backdrop of the rail industry.

Actions: Havas PR UK developed a series of succinct messages on the economic, technical and environmental benefits of Hitachi’s Super Express trains and regularly updated these messages and associated Q&As with Hitachi as the IEP project progressed. We created local and national platforms from which Hitachi communicated with key stakeholder groups. We conducted an ongoing media relations program designed to counteract negativity around Hitachi as a “foreign” supplier and promote positive messages around key milestones in the IEP project. Finally, our agency provided ad hoc crisis communications support on local and national levels.

Results: After several years of government negotiations and hundreds of pieces of positive media coverage across broadcast, national and local press, in 2011 Hitachi’s bid to produce the Super Express train in the U.K. was finally approved. Havas PR UK continues to support Hitachi’s IEP project with strategic recommendations, media relations activity and events during its next phases.