Activate destination marketing boosts South Street Capital retail parks

Working across four South Street Capital-owned and Workman-managed retail parks, Activate has boosted social media engagement, and worked with the owner to support footfall, sales, and customer engagement, aiming to enhance the local visibility of the retail park.

Emma Henson, Place Marketing Manager at Activate, Workman’s Placemaking team, said: “We have seen positive outcomes over the past 18 months, and are excited to collaborate with the client and Workman property managers at South Street Capital’s retail parks to generate a consistent level of engaging content, through special promotions, seasonal offers and unique initiatives.”

South Street Capital has instructed Activate to provide destination marketing activity, which encompasses seasonal giveaways throughout the year, promotes local events and those of retailers on site, and uses updates on the parks’ social media channels to increase awareness and reach. To deliver this, the Activate team also utilises paid media to increase audience reach, resulting in a wider base for retailer content.


What’s the impact so far?

Activate’s Destination Marketing service has positively impacted the South Street Capital retail park portfolio to date, with a combined digital reach of 211,680, engagement of 20,424, and 10,190 website visits.

Broken down at each of the four sites, here’s what’s been achieved:


The Peel Centre, Bracknell

Reach: 31,102 people in 2023

Engagement: 974 engaged users on social media content – liking, sharing and reacting to posts.

Followers: 637 across social media channels

Website visits: users increased 66% over the past quarter and continue to rise.


Ashton Retail Park, Ashton Under Lyne

Reach: 12,000 people in 2023

Engagement: 600 engaged users on social media content – liking, sharing and reacting to posts.

Followers: 200 across social media channels

Website visits: users increased 23% over the past quarter and continue to rise.


Skegness Retail Park

Reach: 17,231 people in 2023

Engagement: 1,070 engaged users on social media content – liking, sharing and reacting to posts.

Followers: 135 across social media channels

Website visits: users increased 66% over the past quarter and continue to rise.


Blyth Valley Retail Park, Blyth

Reach: 17,915 people in 2023

Engagement: 1336 engaged users on social media content – liking, sharing and reacting to posts.

Followers: 181 across social media channels

Website visits: users increased 16% over the past quarter and continue to rise.



What’s next?

The Activate team have planned giveaways on social media during 2024 to raise awareness of the retail parks’ social media channels, where regular retailer content is posted to promote occupiers.

Throughout the year, one of our Activate team will be visiting each retail park, as we continue to promote local events to create community-led social media accounts, increasing our follower count and reach of occupier brands.


Read more about the Activate service here.

St Christopher’s Place is a vibrant urban quarter, featuring high-street and independent boutiques as well as eclectic dining options. Discovered via a narrow alleyway off Oxford Street, the piazza and its surrounding streets are full of shops and restaurants, with a buzz that’s more local than tourist. Close to Selfridges, it is perhaps London’s best-kept secret, and benefits from a busy West End.

Under Workman’s property management since December 2022, the onsite team has now expanded to deliver the scheme’s marketing programme in-house.

Our team, led by James Wall, General Manager for St Christopher’s Place, and new addition Marketing Manager Kate McDonald, supported by Activate and Emma Henson, Place Marketing Manager, will develop the yearly strategy for the scheme and roll this out across web, digital, PR, advertising, and enlivenment.

Working closely with occupiers, cultural partners and the wider West End stakeholders will be fundamental to their approach. By bringing the management of the marketing programme in-house, Workman’s team will be responsible for the 360-delivery of the activity, with the addition of on-site resource to drive this forward.

James Wall, General Manager at St Christopher’s Place, said: “With a busy year ahead, collaborating and working in partnership with experts is a key part of our scope of work. This allows us to create impactful content, showcasing why St Christopher’s Place is a must-visit for consumers in 2024. Ultimately our focus is on increasing footfall, dwell time and spend for our occupiers, while of course maintaining the profile of St Christopher’s Place for Londoners and also those visiting the capital this year.”

Kate McDonald, who recently joined the team as Marketing Manager for St Christopher’s Place, said: “I’m fortunate to have joined the team at such an exciting time, and to be the first on-site marketing manager. Working with Activate and the wider Workman team will bring a tremendous amount of industry experience to how we deliver the marketing activity, especially given the full team of digital and marketing professionals who will be supporting me with strategy and delivery. I know that our one-team-approach will reduce costs and increase the efficiency of what we can deliver, supporting the activity we have planned for the year, while allowing me the time to focus on engaging with the brands and wider stakeholders on a daily basis.”

The team is particularly focused on building greater connectivity with office workers located around the scheme, and developing a community offer for the scheme’s residential occupiers. These were two objectives to emerge from the most recent occupier marketing meeting, and the team is keen to develop this with them over the course of the months ahead.

With the sparkle season upon us, St Christopher’s Place has undergone a magical transformation into St “Christmas” Place – organised with the oversight of the Activate team – with retailers joining in the festive fun.

A chic corner of London, just off busy Oxford Street, St Christopher’s Place is filled with artisans and heritage brands. More than 80% of the scheme’s retail and leisure occupiers are collaborating with the scheme’s festive destination marketing campaign.

From special seasonal menu items at Hoppers and Harry’s to Christmas shopping and prizes to be won at the likes of Christy’s, Whistles, and The Body Shop, St Christopher’s Place will also be hosting a series of complimentary live holiday performances.

The timetable includes performances from The Samaritan’s Choir London, The Groove Chorus, The Jazz Dukes and Catie Mayne.


Our James Wall, General Manager at St Christopher’s Place was recently interviewed on BBC Radio London‘s Breakfast Show with Salma Al-Wardany as part of the programme’s Advent Calendar series, spotlighting free things to do and see this season in London.

James Wall,
General Manager,
St Christopher’s Place

In the interview, James said:

“For the second year running at St Christopher’s Place we have launched St Christmas Place. As well as the vibrant light display, we’ve got these amazing coloured disks that pour across the charming streets and then illuminate at night as the light bounces off them.

“To add to that this year, we wanted to really activate the space. So, as well as eating, drinking, coming together and doing some shopping, we’ve put some free activations on for the customers to enjoy, so on a Thursday and Saturday for the past month, we’ve been hosting various live musical performances: a jazz choir, a quartet, and we’ve even had The Groove Chorus, and the wonderful jazz singer Catie Mayne.

“One other thing we’ve done to layer on top of our live performances, is that we’ve brought snow to the whole event. We’ve got two wonderful snow machines and we flood St Christmas Place full of snow, to bring that real magical wow moment, which as you can imagine has gone down really well with everyone.

“Earlier this week, as an added bonus, we were able to invite a group of children from St Vincent’s Catholic Primary School to perform just after school, and it was wonderful to see them with all the parents and loved ones singing away. Again, we were able to create that wow moment for them by just covering them with snow, which they weren’t expecting, so it was really special.”

Listen to the interview here: BBC Radio London – Salma El-Wardany, 14/12/2023


Read more about the Activate service here.

Andrew Sparrow, Director of Placemaking at ActivateWorkman Placemaking, spoke to Tracy West at Retail Destination, for this feature about how his team of experts is making a difference in the retail space, and rapidly increasing effective enlivenment and destination marketing services within offices too.

Read examples of Activate’s work at chic retail destination St Christopher’s Place, London, as well as enlivenment at Grade II-listed, modernist office building, Smithson Plaza.

It’s all about expertise, says Andrew:

“Over the past four years, we’ve been able to build an expert team. We’ve got marketing people, we’ve got a lot of PR skills, we’ve got event management. We’ve got strategy and planning. It’s quite a broad church of experience, and on any project – whether it be a shopping centre or an office – we could take it from strategy, all the way through to delivery, and everything in between.”

Read the full feature below, or visit Retail Destination here.

Retail Destination interviews Andrew Sparrow, Director of Activate, Workman’s Placemaking team

For more information on Activate’s services, get in touch here:

Contact – Workman Activate (activateplaces.co.uk)

Activate’s onsite activities are focused on key objectives, whether supporting increased customer spend and driving footfall at retail and leisure assets, or increasing use of a space and engaging with occupiers at an office or business park.

Our approach to onsite activation helps build a sense of community among visitors, occupiers and stakeholders: bringing people together and making buildings central to the local community.

For our Activate Placemaking & Destination marketing team, the strategic importance of onsite activities cannot be overstated.

Over the past few months, the team has delivered a series of events at multiple destinations, here’s a round-up of just a few…


Moretown gets moreish

As part of the Activate team’s placemaking programme at Moretown London, a scheme managed by Workman’s Welcome Offices team, a monthly market, Wellness Wednesday, Summer Socials, Family Fun Day, and Live Music every Thursday in August, and visiting Food Trucks have all made for a very moreish foodie summer. At the Summer Social events, occupiers at the St Katharine Docks site were invited into the courtyard to enjoy giant games, live band, pizza truck, a pop-up bar and a caricaturist to encourage people to socialise.

Moretown Summer Social

Smithson Plaza aces Wimbledon

Smithson Plaza occupiers and visitors relished the chance to watch tennis and enjoy Wimbledon-themed refreshments at the central London pop-up, project managed by Activate. “Summer Is Served” featured deckchairs, a large screen, a choice of food and its own Wimbledon signature cocktail. Open daily throughout the tournament (3-16 July), it created a unique atmosphere, surrounded by tennis-inspired installations at the property, which is managed by Workman’s Welcome Offices team.


Towerfields catches Barbie-mania

At Towerfields Leisure Park in Huntingdon, the Activate team capitalised on the buzz generated by the Barbie Movie, taking a creative step by bringing Barbie and Ken to life.

Actors dressed as the two characters strolled through the retail spaces, sparking memorable interactions and taking selfies with both retailers and visitors alike.


Putney Exchange goes green

London’s Putney Exchange offered a space during the school holidays for families to visit to take part in a range of events, featuring various on-site activity publicised through digital campaigns to engage with followers. Activate hosted a green-fingers workshop on site, where children were invited to create flowerpots and received a factsheet about growing plants at home. This provided a space where families could shop and browse, while providing school holiday entertainment. There was also an interactive juggling event, keeping shoppers engaged.

The Activate team has promoted retailers’ events, hosted within stores to encourage visitors to take part. The team also launched a back-to-school competition, giving followers the chance to win and providing another push for retailers. The Activate team is working with popular local magazines and local community groups such as the BID to organise further community-wide activations.


The Springs Shopping Centre joins the circus

Meanwhile, at The Springs in Buxton, a circus workshop drew families into the centre.

This activity was very successful, with reports of some groups staying at the centre for well over an hour longer than their usual dwell time, while enjoying the entertainment.


The Foundry & Marshalls Mill hold a fiesta

The Spanish fiesta-themed social at the Marshall Mills and Round Foundry Estate in Holbeck Urban Village attracted 100 people from the occupier workforce at the Leeds office scheme. Occupiers’ employees were invited to sign up for the event, organised by the Activate destination marketing team.

One of the scheme’s restaurants, Bomba, provided tapas and drinks, which were accompanied by themed entertainment and music to add enlivenment. Many attendees stayed for the full three-hour event, saying they loved the community spirit it gave to the scheme, and that the event brightened up an otherwise dreary lunchtime.


Manchester Fort goes wild for a weekend

There was onsite activity every weekend in August at Manchester Fort, with workshops, a petting zoo, bug hotel and wildlife trail. Activate’s workshops focused on woodland crafts and pinecone making, inviting families into the wooden chalet to interact with the bug hotel. The petting zoo allowed visitors to stop and meet a selection of small animals, interacting and holding them over the course of the day.

This proved a popular month-long event, where the Activate team was able to reach a new audience through ads in the Manchester Evening News and social media posting around each event.


St Christopher’s Place celebrates summer

The Summerscapes destination marketing campaign at St Christopher’s Place – organised with the oversight of Activate – marked a six-week celebration of the summer season heralding new dishes, offers and shopping experiences, as well as the opportunity to get creative with lunchtime art classes.

A chic corner of London, just off busy Oxford Street, St Christopher’s Place is filled with artisans and heritage brands. More than 70% of the scheme’s retail and leisure occupiers collaborated with the destination marketing campaign.


Find out more:

Read more about Activate’s Destination Marketing & Placemaking services.

Read more about our approach to Building Community across our managed portfolio.

As part of Activate’s Placemaking programme at Smithson Plaza in the heart of London’s St James’s, the Wimbledon-themed “Summer Is Served” pop-up opened this week, featuring deckchairs, a large screen, a choice of food and its own signature cocktail.

Opening daily throughout the tournament (3-16 July), it’s designed to create a unique atmosphere, set to become a destination to ace the tennis in style, surrounded by tennis-inspired installations at the property, which is managed by Workman’s Welcome Offices team.

The Wimbledon-themed event – part of a calendar of seasonal experiences to be curated by Activate at the scheme – is designed to help to establish distinctive and attractive business destinations, while enhancing occupier experience and that of the wider community.

With the event open to the public, alongside Smithson Plaza occupiers, Activate will look to host community groups from the West London area. Having identified a number of organisations working with disadvantaged groups who support young talented tennis players to achieve their potential, they hope to provide them with a fun day out in London, across the two weeks of the tournament.

Smithson Plaza, a Grade II listed, modernist icon completed in 1964 by celebrated architects Alison and Peter Smithson, regularly plays host to a bespoke rolling arts programme. Having reviewed the current occupier services available, the Activate team will add value by meeting and communicating regularly with occupiers to shape the future placemaking activity, while engaging with wider stakeholders to create partnerships and collaborative networking opportunities.

Meanwhile, the Activate digital marketing team will lead on content creation and engagement to promote the new programme of events, services and activities to occupiers and the public.

Andrew Sparrow, Director of Placemaking at Activate, said: “As specialists in the development of occupier engagement initiatives, Workman’s growing Activate team is excited to bring this experience to Smithson Plaza.

“Our aim is to bring people together across commercial property through stimulating, social environments that support employees’ and customers’ physical and mental wellbeing in environmentally responsible ways.

“Our team knows that a sense of place and togetherness creates community within buildings, supporting key asset management objectives around increasing tenant satisfaction and retention levels.”

Find out more about Activate’s Placemaking and Destination Marketing services here.

The first Summer Social event kicked off last week as part of the Activate team’s placemaking programme at Moretown London, a scheme managed by our Welcome Property Management team.

Occupiers at the site, which is located near to St Katharine Docks, were invited into the courtyard to enjoy giant games, live band, pizza truck, a pop-up bar and a caricaturist to encourage people to socialise.

The event marked the first event as part of this year’s schedule for Moretown, with the next offer being monthly wellness sessions, starting this week.

Find out more about Activate’s Placemaking & Destination Marketing in workplaces and retail spaces here.

Destination marketing for workplaces has never been more crucial for building community than in these post-pandemic years, writes Emma Henson, Place Marketing Manager at Activate.

Now that more and more occupiers are returning, while still flexing their in-office days post-pandemic, it’s vital that time spent in workplaces is as valuable and meaningful as possible.

Activate’s destination marketing programmes not only increase attendance rates; our enlivenment strategies also help create communities that teams want to be a part of, with events they don’t want to miss.

With fluctuations in the working week and unpredictable numbers of people coming to the workplace on any given day, the regular calendar of events and activities organised by an onsite property team now requires a greater cleverness and creativity than ever before, to appeal to staff that may not need to come into the office.

Today, a vital strategy in the destination marketing toolkit is to integrate events online or via an app so that IRL activations perform across both physical and virtual settings; seamlessly combining the home and workplace audiences as they move between locations.

One example of this integrated approach is the recent flower wall activation at Breakspear Park, a Workman-managed business park in Hemel Hempstead set in 16 acres, offering over 300,000 sq. ft of indoor space, with 1,300 employees across multiple international and local companies in a variety of sectors.

The flower wall activation was onsite for four weeks, accompanied by a campaign encouraging occupiers’ employees to take a selfie, upload it to Instagram, and tag #BreakspearPark for a chance to win a four-month subscription to Freddie’s Flowers. In addition, a free Green People organic sunscreen was on offer via QR code to those who downloaded the new Breakspear Park App.

Building workplace community: a feeling of togetherness

The event was designed to drive uptake of the app, encourage engagement with other staff members, to make people smile, capture a moment with colleagues, and bring that feeling of togetherness back again post-pandemic.

Elsewhere, Activate was recently appointed to deliver destination marketing and community engagement at two significant office locations: Spark Foundry, part of the Newcastle Helix tech and science community in Newcastle and the Round Foundry Media Centre including Marshall’s Mill in Leeds.

To get started, the Activate team ran a Spanish Fiesta-themed social at the Marshall’s Mill workplace, which attracted 100 people from the occupier workforce at the Leeds office scheme. Occupiers’ employees were invited to sign up for the event, organised by the Activate destination marketing team. One of the scheme’s restaurants, Bomba, provided tapas and drinks, which were accompanied by themed entertainment and music to add enlivenment. Many attendees stayed for the full three-hour event, saying they loved the community spirit it gave to the scheme.

During the pandemic, people were starved of human interaction, especially in the workplace. Now people are excited to get people back together, so that when they are in the offices, they are learning, developing, and collaborating again, which can have such a positive impact on mental wellbeing.

Activate’s destination marketing programmes form a cornerstone of workplace community-building that extends beyond the professional into the social, and helps people find even more reason to return.

Find out more:

Read more about Activate’s Destination Marketing service.

Read more about our approach to Building Community across our managed portfolio.

Workman has expanded its Activate team with new hires, as demand for Destination Marketing and Placemaking services grows, as reported by Retail Destination.

Specialists in Placemaking and Destination Marketing, the team welcomes Emma Henson in the newly created role of Place Marketing Manager.

Having spent the past 10 years working in marketing within retail property and hospitality, Henson will lead Activate’s Destination Marketing team and develop the service to support Workman’s clients’ destination marketing objectives in the future, across offices and business parks, as well as retail and leisure spaces.

In addition, Tia Gowing joins the Activate team as Marketing Events Administrator, and will support the team’s service and growth, focusing on client reporting and liaison with on-site teams.

Emma Henson, Place Marketing Manager
Tia Gowing, Marketing Events Administrator

Activate celebrates fourth anniversary

Now celebrating its fourth anniversary since launch in 2019, the growing Activate Destination Marketing team manages a client marketing spend in excess of £1.2m.

Producing and publishing more than 3,000 pieces of social content every month, the team generates website traffic of in excess of 1.5m visitors each week. A key focus of the team has been to drive social value benefits to clients through their destination marketing activations on site.

Emma Henson, Place Marketing Manager at Activate, said: “I’m delighted to be leading the Activate Destination Marketing team to the next stage in its evolution, supporting our clients as they look to provide valued places for people, especially as we face the pressures of the continued cost-of-living crisis. In today’s market, where office and retail destinations must not only compete against one another, but also against homes and the screen in everyone’s pocket, I believe that places have a crucial role to play in building community – and uniting people in a common vison.”

Andrew Sparrow, Director of Placemaking at Activate, said: “We are aiming to support asset management objectives by increasing occupier satisfaction and retention levels. There is a competitive market in terms of where businesses now take space, so occupiers often question the added value of each site, and what they and their employees stand to gain from it in terms of community, sustainability, and wellbeing.”

Summerscapes: more than 70% of retail and leisure occupiers at St Christopher’s Place sign up to 6-week destination marketing push.

With glorious weather and a steel band for good measure, the Summerscapes destination marketing campaign – in partnership with Activate – marks a six-week celebration of the summer season welcoming new dishes, offers and shopping experiences, as well as the opportunity to get creative with lunchtime art classes. A chic little corner of London, just off of busy Oxford Street, St Christopher’s Place is filled with artisans and heritage brands.  More than 70% of the scheme’s retail and leisure occupiers have collaborated with the campaign this year. Visitors can toast the blue skies with Cote Brasserie’s summery new floral cocktail, the Fleur Spritz, complete with St Germain elderflower liqueur. Or they could shop ‘til they drop to complete their perfect holiday wardrobe at Platform and Whistles.