The development of the Suez Canal area as a concept was initiated 3 decades ago, but it only took off in 2014, when the Dar Al Handasah consortium, including CID Consulting amongst other partners was awarded a tender to develop the Master Plan for the “Suez Canal Area Development Project”, now known as “The SCZone”; a project of National pride and international importance.
Targeting the Suez Canal region; the planning phase ran from September 2014 to March 2015, where a Master Plan was developed that entailed all the enabling tools to proceed with effective implementation and achieve the desired vision of being a world-class value-added services hub. The project is aimed to offer enhanced opportunities for investment across all economic sectors including logistics, industry, ICT, renewable energy, business parks and real estate developments, as well as in the development of infrastructure services and transport links.
The scope of work for CID Consulting, as part of the Master Planning of the project, was to act as the project’s sole media consultant, develop a comprehensive Marketing Communications plan, and offer a full-fledged Strategic Impact Assessment of the project’s implementation areas.
The CID Response
A mega project with such a regional impact and international potential requires a sound marketing communications plan to ensure the right promotion to diverse target audiences.
The project also needs to attract international investment while catering to the unique socio-economic needs of the designated area. The Human and Community Development strategy is a key pillar to the success of a national project of that nature. Substantial Resources were required to ensure the accomplishment of the whole project’s Master Planning Phase within six months.
Stakeholders Mapping and tactical engagement plan were instrumental first steps in the mobilization of the project. Engagement was carried out with government ministries, civil societies, community organizations, the business community, international funding organizations as well as the media to ensure engagement and continuous feedback from from key stakeholders.
An in-depth social and economic impact assessment was carried out, highlighting the affected areas and suggesting means to provide a balanced enabling environment through an all-inclusive plan, that focused on; bridging the gap between education providers, the market’s need to create a well-equipped labor force, enhancing the access to quality health care, creating social safety nets through the design of inclusive pension, as well as public health insurance schemes, and ensuring adequate quality housing for all; by availing affordable housing, and access to low cost mortgage finance.
A rigorous competitive review was conducted, followed by a multi phased full-fledged Marketing Communications Plan to establish strong communication platforms and address all target audiences. The team was also given a crisis communication advisory role, and shared details and periodical updates of the planning process with the media and public, given the high interest of both parties.
Media has also been a key pillar to raise awareness on the project, building up to the iconic Egypt Economic Development Conference, where local and international Media followed the reveal of the Master Plan and Strategic Impact Assessment of the Suez Canal Zone. A comprehensive media strategy was developed to be implemented during the master planning phase of the project, in parallel with media engagement activities, managing their expectations of the project, and creating public awareness of the Master Planning phase and what it entails.