National Grid wanted to create a positive relationship with its 40,000 grantors – landowners who allow the Grid to run pylons and pipelines across their land. These grantors are critically important when it comes to ensuring the power we all take for granted continues to reach our homes and businesses safely and effectively.
Engineers occasionally need to gain access to grantors’ land, sometimes at short notice – which demands the immediate help and support of grantors. There was also a need to heighten awareness of the dangers of digging or working near the assets. So Gridline magazine was born.
To create a newsstand quality publication with a traditional Sunday supplement feel, that has National Grid’s safety and communication messages subtly woven into the fabric of the editorial.
First and foremost, we wanted to create a magazine that grantors would actually want to read, so we started where we always start… with the audience. Most, but not all, were rural, fairly affluent and frequently looking for innovative new uses for their land.
A key part of the challenge was to make grantors more aware of the work National Grid does. Another objective was to give grantors a greater understanding of the necessity for sometimes complicated and long-running upgrade projects near their land.
We felt that giving a geographically diverse group of grantors a reason to connect with developments on major refurbishments, innovative new projects and (relevant) internal National Grid news would bolster that community feel.
Initially we focused on the resonance of the countryside with the readership, and decided that compelling human interest content and powerful photography should be the mainstay of the title.
We wanted to help make connections between grantors as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland, so trawled National Grid’s grantor database for businesses that might interest us.
Searches for strawberries, microlights and breweries (one of our favourites!) provided some interesting leads that we developed into features, but always with a best practice or diversification message at their heart. We also interviewed grantors such as Adam Henson and Kate Humble of BBC Countryfile fame, and now find that Gridline stories make their way onto the television several months later.
To build a community we strive to find ‘like me’ information that resonates with other grantors and use landscape photographers to capture the ever-changing British countryside.
Reader feedback 2015/16
- Eight out of 10 grantors read all or most of the magazine, with 97% admitting it provided them with a better understanding of National Grid’s work.
- Just under 80% of grantors said Gridline helped them to feel more included in a national community of like-minded landowners.
- More than 85% of grantors described Gridline as good or very good, with 13% rating it as an excellent read.
- We’re proud to say that many of the topics covered in Gridline appear on the BBC’s countryside programmes a little while later.
Since 2013, Gridline has won many IoIC Awards of Excellence including Best Photography, Best Stakeholder Publication, Best Editor and Best Feature-led magazine.