Communicating the arrival of a major new presence onto the UK rail supply chain

Freshwater worked as an extension of Stadler’s Swiss head office to provide its first dedicated communications resource on the ground in the UK during an important period of growth in the UK market.

Over a period of 18 months, we developed and executed a detailed public relations strategy to raise Stadler’s profile in a new market, publicise its commercial wins and engage with its domestic audiences with a style and set of messages appropriate for the UK market.


Stadler's first press office

established in the UK

50+ pieces

of positive coverage secured in key titles

Three media events managed

including international site visit and major trade exhibition

Seeking to build on major contract wins in the UK, Swiss manufacturer of rolling stock, Stadler, sought a communications agency based in the UK with leading expertise in the rail sector.

Freshwater’s brief was to create and manage its UK press office, and provide strategic recommendations to help Stadler secure maximum PR value from its commercial gains and establish a long-term communications strategy to support its ongoing activity.

Having been selected by Stadler following a competitive tender process, Freshwater’s team flew out to Switzerland to get under the skin of Stadler, its products, services and culture. This familiarisation process enabled us to put in place the building blocks for a public relations function and strategy that would help Stadler to undertake effective and sustainable UK-focused communications and public relations activity.

This included creating a UK press office, developing a detailed annual plan of recommendations spanning media relations, events, sponsorship and advertising, and providing a daily news monitoring service to keep Stadler’s teams up-to-date with the latest developments in politics, industry and the press.

We oversaw Stadler’s media engagement at major exhibitions, including Railtex 2017, provided advice on the coordination of a press visit to Stadler’s production facilities in Switzerland, and managed the press at a spade in the ground ceremony which marked the official start of work to build a new depot in Merseyside; its first fully owned and managed site in the UK.

Freshwater also provided on-call senior strategic consultancy support spanning competitor and channel analysis, crisis and issues management, stakeholder engagement, and regular assessments of the challenges and opportunities posed by developments in government policy and the wider political environment.

By developing effective relationships with key trade journalists and establishing a dedicated UK press office function, we secured more than 50 positive pieces of media coverage, including in-depth features and front cover appearances, in key titles across online, print and social media. This provided Stadler with the opportunity to be seen more than 900,000 times by readers of its target media titles.

Stadler’s delivery of new trains to serve Greater Anglia, the Liverpool City Region, Glasgow and elsewhere has been well articulated in leading trade publications, including Railways Illustrated, Rail Magazine and Railway Gazette.

Over the course of 18 months, Freshwater helped to develop the foundations to enable Stadler to carve out a greater share of voice and generate lasting public relations and reputational value from ongoing, and future, commercial activity.




Related services

    • Public Relations
    • Stakeholder Engagement
    • Crisis Management


    • Transport