Liverpool businesses wanted to get the city’s case for a High Speed Rail connection heard in the right places. With the city excluded from the original HS2 proposals, it was important that fresh and unexpected voices were harnessed to underscore a political argument that had failed to engage the key decision-makers in Government and HS2 Limited. The key challenge was to change the tone of voice for the campaign from a plea for additional investment, into a confident assertion of Liverpool’s role as a vital hub within the vision for a Northern Powerhouse.
We worked with a small group of campaigners and business-leaders initially to develop a brand that would emphasise the relatively small ask and the enormous benefits from an extension to the proposed HS2 network. 20 More miles of track would connect the project to the city that invented inter-city rail, and that was still the nations’ major west coast trading gateway.
Following a successful media launch and business networking event, we were able to help 20 Miles More secure the funding needed to engage influential think tank, ResPublica, to produce a major report to underscore Liverpool’s case for a direct HS2 connection. The campaign took Liverpool’s case to each of the big three party political conferences and delivered a proactive engagement with media, local stakeholders and politicians over the next 12 months.
The 20 Miles More brand has become the shorthand expression for a campaign that has continued to make Liverpool’s case culminating with the publication of the ResPublica report at the House of Commons in March 2016. The campaign gained new momentum with the unique offer, originally articulated by 20 Miles More, for the city to part pay for the link through a highly innovative local funding mechanism.