About Forestry England

Forestry England (previously the Forestry Commission), is responsible for over 1,500 forest locations nationwide.

Established 100 years ago, Forestry England exists to ensure woodlands are protected and maintained for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone, including future generations.

The organisation continues to play a vital role in promoting the recreational use of forests for health and wellbeing, protecting plants and wildlife, and providing England’s largest source of sustainable timber.

Challenge

As a geographically distributed business undergoing a digital transformation, Forestry England required a clear and coherent digital communications strategy that aligned with the organisation’s medium and long-term goals.

In 2019 we were appointed to review current activity and produce the three-year digital roadmap that would help meet these goals, establishing the new brand on a national level, whilst also providing flexibility for regional adaptation.

The key objectives for this project were:

  • Deliver a digital strategy that will support marketing and business goals through the best use of digital channels, technologies, and content.
  • Identify opportunities relating to key audiences and income streams, exploring how digital could be used to unlock this potential.
  • Advise on the governance, processes and training that will be needed to ensure the roll-out of the strategy is effective.

Approach

Starting with an in-depth discovery phase, we placed emphasis on understanding the behaviours and digital preferences of forest users, as well as gaining a holistic view of stakeholder needs across the breadth of the business.

With so many facets to the organisation, a huge spectrum of audiences, and a multitude of ways that people could use the forests, it became clear that we needed a strategy which would present a unified national brand, but be flexible for marketing teams to adapt to fit regional and audience variations.

During the discovery stage, we used a blend of digital and traditional research techniques to surface insight. These included:

  • Stakeholder interviews and workshops to assess internal requirements and viewpoints
  • Social listening and other online analytics tools to explore how forest users used digital channels and content.
  • An audit of current and historic digital activity (both regionally and nationally), along with competitor benchmarking
  • An assessment of existing and required skillsets across the business
  • A review of the technology stack and customer data being used to deliver digital comms

The insight unearthed during this intensive discovery phase was then used to produce a set of strategy documents to guide the organisation’s national and regional teams.

Outcomes

Forestry England now has a coherent and customer-centric digital strategy, covering use of digital channels, content, and technology, and how activity should be measured against objectives.

The accompanying roadmap provides the business with a flexible framework for rolling-out and expanding digital activity over the next three years.

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