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PR & Reputation Management Company

Social Media Marketing Agency

Property PR: Launching Circle Square


Manchester’s new neighbourhood, Circle Square, needed an announcement worthy of its creative ambition – to be a place where ideas are brought to life and where forward-thinking people to rub shoulders with pioneering businesses.

Built on the former BBC site and a joint venture between Bruntwood and Select Property Group, the £750m development needed a series of announcements as its green space, office space, student & residential accommodation and retail & leisure offering took shape. 

With its B2B PR experience and property PR prowess, Smoking Gun created a campaign that took the media, key stakeholders and Manchester residents along on the journey, communicating milestones, building anticipation and driving awareness of the new destination. 


We developed a key messaging matrix for the various audience segments and developed substantiation points around Circle’s Square’s vision and goals; this became an essential tool across marcomms. The matrix was bolstered with ‘fast facts’ which communicated the scale and ambition of the development in a tangible and engaging way. 

Scenario planning and statement drafting also took place to prepare for potential crisis communications, including proactive comms to neighbours of the new site. 

We announced the masterplan for the site and subsequent phases of development, including investment and construction milestones, through headline-grabbing media stories and social media content

The Manchester Evening News was a key title to reach our audience, so we developed an exclusive content series with the title, giving it access to regular drone footage captured as the site took shape. We coordinated hard hat site tours for other key writers and organised interviews for the Circle Square team with trade journalists at events just as the BCSC retail conference.

Smoking Gun announced Circle Square’s landscaping plans with a pop-up flower stall on Manchester’s Oxford Road, where plants and flowers set to grow in the new neighbourhood were given away to surprise and delight passers by. Their reactions were captured in video to share with a broader audience across social media channels. Bouquets were delivered to key journalists to spread our message further and nurture key relationships. 

In a second creative stunt and to underpin Circle Square’s commitment to arts and innovation, we joined in the city’s Literature Festival, distributing free books signed by festival authors both to the public and to workers on the construction site. This created a killer press shot of a workman suspended on scaffolding against the Manchester skyline, reading his book. 

Finally, to engage the national property editors, we developed angles around the hot-topic Northern Powerhouse and sustainability themes. 

Our campaign successfully launched Manchester’s new neighbourhood, building relationships with key influencers and stakeholders who would continue to follow Circle Square’s progress. 


50+ media hits

communicating key messages in titles including the Manchester Evening News, Property Week, Place North West, North West Business Insider, The Sunday Times, The Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Express

High profile social media engagements

from the likes of The Sunday Times homes editor, Manchester Evening News diary editor and Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce 

Influential buy-in

Our Literature Festival stunt was attended by author Lemn Sissay – official poet of the 2012 London Olympics and former chancellor of the University of Manchester

Engaging digital content

Social media content achieved an impressive engagement rate of 8%, exceeding industry standard

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