By James Knight.
Has poor PR in town centre contributed to the so-called demise of the High Street?
The rot was setting in long before Covid, in many instances, a number of retailers sat back on their counters believing they were King Canute, that the water would never rise over them. Well, the tide has come in.
Online shopping has charged into battle to capture credit cards, using PR to change our shopping habits.
Did local councils react in trying to adapt town centres? Not really. And greedy landlords seemed to think it was a cash cow that would never end.
Losing many shops, a change in shopping patterns, parking, and busy time was the start of the change then came Covid and lockdown.
Covid, I believe, brought the change 5 years earlier than it might otherwise have been. We must now get a balance.
There are councils who have worked with business, Staines, for example, has an excellent development of shops and plenty of parking. I am all for local shops being involved and other amenities to make our high streets be alive.
Areas need to be built so events can be held, another area is Sloane Square in London, with great development of traffic free areas.
Pavilion Road in Sloane Square has a mixture of restaurants and shops with no cars, it’s a delight to visit.
Also in London, the annual Chelsea in Bloom event, where shops in the area have eye-catching flower displays, is organised to coincide with RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
They have also encouraged art shows and children’s events. Yet other areas of South West London councils and business have not worked together.
Together we can compete with online with positive PR from all concerned.
Professor James Knight is an international businessman, public relations practitioners and academic. He was Fellow of Bournemouth University Public Relations School, guest speaker at Judge Cambridge, Surrey, Bath and Reading, International Mentor for Oxford Brookes on Hospitality. He is a Fellow of CIPR and the Society of Public Relations of America, as well as a fellow of the Institute of Directors.