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Brilliant marketing from Carswell Gould helps the GO! Southampton BID win through

Set against a backdrop of the failure of the previous BID, Carswell Gould was tasked with the challenge of getting a yes vote for the GO! Southampton BID.

Carswell Gould has been operating out of Southampton for almost 25 years, so we’re well-placed to help influence the outcome of the city’s successful GO! Southampton BID.

We were devastated when the Southampton BID ballot in 2009 failed to gain the required number of votes to be passed. Southampton is a great city, it’s our home, and we wanted to help it grow, succeed and make new things happen.

We were thrilled then when creative director Ed was asked to be a part of the steering group for the GO! Southampton BID campaign for 2016, and Carswell Gould was tasked with delivering the marketing. We are well linked to what is going on in the city and we support people who are trying to make things happen throughout Southampton, like our work with the ABP Half Marathon and the recent work our intern, Nathan has been doing with ShareUp Southampton.

Carswell Gould was tasked with ensuring that the new BID had a strong, visible and enticing brand. We did this by working hard to define what the BID stood for, its values, shaping the way in which the BID communicated and spoke, designing and coding the website, email marketing, the social media strategy and creative, the brochures and leaflets and our expert advice on PR and communications.


The BID would never have got over the line without a strong brand.

We concentrated on creating a powerful, recognisable brand and clearly defining the objectives of the BID. We created the website and marketing collateral, such as brochures, with a strong dynamic theme in GO! Southampton, along with content that highlighted what the BID was going to do for Southampton.

It was important that business owners could clearly identify any material produced for the BID as part of the GO! Southampton campaign. The work we put into creating the website, brochures, email marketing and creative artwork for social media all linked together and made GO! Southampton a visually striking and recognisable campaign.

We created a simple but powerful design that incorporated two bold blocks of colour that are synonymous with Southampton and could easily be represented on different collateral. We had to make sure that it was a youthful, dynamic design that outlined GO! Southampton as a strong, energetic organisation.

We took all the key outlets for the brand – the brochures, the website, social media graphics, email graphics and posters – and made sure they all aligned in a clear, bold and distinct way that made them instantly recognisable to potential voters.


As an employer in the city centre, we believe that it’s vital we encourage and keep great staff, and most of the voters agreed with us. If people feel unsafe or uninspired, or find the city dirty or unappealing, it’s hardly going to help us all as employers. The BID focused on trying to make sure that businesses are in a safe, clean and well-marketed city.

It was vital that voters knew why they were voting for and eventually paying into it. We conveyed this by working with place-making consultancy, The Means, that led a feasibility study, engaging with over 100 local businesses through face-to-face interviews and a large, well-attended event to discuss a future vision for the BID.

We made sure that all the collateral we produced clearly showed off the benefits to voting yes. By listening to potential voters, the BID steering group was able to propose objectives that truly mattered to them, which we then clearly communicated in our work.

Communication and marketing is everything. It was a big ask and a complex issue for people to get involved with, but thanks to great design, clear layout and choice of presentation we made it easier for people to buy into it.

The outcome

We were thrilled to learn the BID had been passed and are looking forward to seeing it get to work. Like many important votes this year, the results have come down to a small margin of just a few percent. The BID must now prove to the people who said yes that they did so for the right reasons, and prove to the people who said no or abstained that it will deliver on its promises and help all businesses in the area.

GO! Southampton will now set up a separate business, and is looking for a CEO and team to run it so that it can get to work on its objectives and putting the money paid in by businesses to good use.

Brad Roynon, chair of the GO! Southampton BID steering group, said:

Developing the BID project relied upon the input and support of businesses in the city centre. Amongst those who stepped up to the plate with enthusiasm was Carswell Gould, who created the brand and produced the key assets of the BID brochure and the website. Their involvement and the fact they walked the extra mile was a significant factor in achieving a successful outcome and their input was much valued.


This project was a true collaborative effort, and we loved working with passionate business leaders in the steering group including the chairman Brad Roynon; vice-chairman Tim Keeping; Annaliese Hughes of Delicious Dining; Spencer Bowman of Mettricks; Andrew Millar of Carnival UK; Bob Jackson of Perrys Art Supplies; Andy Collyer of WestQuay; James Gough of Culture Southampton; Denise Edghill of Southampton City Council; Kerry Homer of Cath Kidston; Stewart Dunn of the Hampshire Chamber; Salma Azad of Ikea and Scott Thomas of Boots.

For more information on the BID and its work, why not check out the website

Core Team

Key Points