West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) exists to grow economies in the West Midlands, investing in projects across areas such as transport, skills and wellbeing. Measuring and improving brand awareness was critical to their mission.

WMCA aims to build a better connected, more prosperous, fairer, greener and healthier West Midlands. WMCA makes the region a better place to live and work, requiring strong brand awareness and a positive brand image.

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WMCA was at the beginning of addressing its brand challenge. To do this, WMCA wanted an audit to assess the impact of the current state of brand awareness on their  ability to deliver and the benefits of investing in brand awareness campaigns in the future.

The brief was to review and anaylse brand tracking data, then conduct a thorough research phase including a literature review and qualitative interviews with multiple WMCA stakeholder. This was followed by a written brand audit document and presentation with strategic recommendations and a timeline for building future brand awareness.


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WMCA has many 'category entry points' and may touch residents at different times for different purposes, however brand awareness is low, often because programmes and campaigns are not delivered by WMCA itself, but by partners.

Having seen the brand tracking data, we needed to understand the landscape from a stakeholder perspective.  We interviewed representatives from The Mayor's Office, Growth Hub, Customer Relations, Design, Public Affairs, Environmental Behaviour Change, plus the Strategy Comms Managers for the four 'Directorates' (Transport, Health & Skills, Housing and Net Zero).

We also spoke with two other Combined Authorities to create a comparative benchmark to assess brand awareness levels.

WMCA serves all people across the West Midlands for different purposes. Although advertising works best by reaching a broad audience, we knew we couldn't possibly reach everyone with a
'one size fits all' message. We needed to segment the audience against each of the four directorates to look for commonalities, so we could focus efforts and get more 'bang for our buck' in building brand awareness. The following segments were created:

  • Internal WMCA colleagues
  • General public
  • Education
  • DWP
  • Businesses

After reviewing the matrix against the four directorates, the priority segments were chosen as:

  1. General public
  2. Businesses
  3. Local Authorities, Councillors and MPs
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We then created a comprehensive brand awareness strategy including:

  1. Audience profiling, segmentation & targeting to understand what is brand awareness for each group
  2. Mapped CEPs (category entry points) to increase brand awareness at key touchpoints
  3. Message house to define the core brand purpose and brand narrative
  4. Message strategy to build brand awareness through consistent brand positioning and brand personality
  5. Brand tracking improvements to better measure brand awareness over time using brand awareness metrics like brand recognition, brand sentiment, brand search volume, and share of voice
  6. Channel recommendations to achieve the objective of increasing brand awareness through an integrated brand awareness campaign leveraging paid and earned media
Sahar "I really enjoyed working with Leopard on the WMCA brand audit. Their strategic recommendations provided us with invaluable insights and a clear roadmap to enhance our brand awareness. The team's in-depth research and approach have helped us on our mission to make the West Midlands a better place to live and work. We look forward to continued collaboration." Sahar Siddiqui