King’s College London (UK) King’s postgraduate marketing students step up to help London’s West End thrive

London’s entertainment and hospitality district is planning its future and King’s Business School postgraduate marketing students have proposed ideas to help the iconic West End thrive in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students on the International e-Services Marketing module have acted as active ‘consultants’ for Westminster City Council. Students were asked to explore three key themes that Westminster City Council could potentially use in its future plans: branding and partnerships, audiences and demographics, and the evening and night-time economy.

Dr Ilias Danatzis, Lecturer in Marketing Analytics and module leader says ‘the module is designed to challenge the way students think about marketing, moving from beyond the traditional selling of products to designing and offering experiences. The students apply the latest scientific service research to help solve real-life challenges that public service providers and the hospitality and entertainment industry are facing today, especially as they bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.’

Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Place Shaping and the Economy, said: ‘One of the great things about having a revered institution such as King’s College on our doorstep is the close working relationship we have to improve our city. Very often students, many of who live as well as study in Westminster, will come forward with projects that are refreshing, because they come from people without preconceived ideas. And by giving real world challenges, the students will gain a lot more from their studies. It’s a win-win-win for the council, the university, and the students.’

The ideas put forward by the students included measures to make travelling and being in the West End safer at night, for example by offering shuttle buses in the area for women and the LGBTQ+ community or 24-hour pop-up stalls that could provide emergency shelter or supplies.

Another group of students proposed a dual-feature app and website approach to marketing the West End. Rather than catering to one single audience the app and website would be designed around the needs of distinct groups, including London residents, commuters, workers and tourists in the area, offering targeted store discounts, networking events, job adverts and store opening information.

Among the other tried and tested and more innovative marketing techniques suggested were brand ambassadors and influencer marketing, as well as the use of geo-fencing so that the deals and discounts on offer would only appear in certain areas.

Ashia Zahran, student on the course, says ‘this project was definitely the highlight of my postgraduate study at King’s College London.

This is the first time that I’ve ever worked with a public service organisation and it was very refreshing. It allowed me to delve into new frameworks and challenge myself with new ideas but also gave me the opportunity to utilise my strengths in creativity, design, and product/service development.’

Another student, Begüm Şamdancı says ‘it was a wonderful opportunity to work in a real-time consultancy project with a highly reputable public service organization. It was very exciting to take part in it starting from the briefing session. As a team, we got periodic feedback and had the chance to guide our project according to our client’s needs exactly like one should expect in real life scenarios. Overall, It was a pleasure and a very educating experience to work with Westminster City Council on a real-life consultancy project’

Given the success of this year’s endeavours, Westminster City Council are looking into exciting new potential case studies to collaborate with King’s Business School students on the International e-Services Marketing module in the next academic term.