The Post Office can fortify the high street

If ever an organisation was well placed to have a view on the future of the high street, it is the Post Office.

Mark Davies: 'Each modernised Post Office branch is a signal of our commitment to the challenges of the modern high street.'
Mark Davies: 'Each modernised Post Office branch is a signal of our commitment to the challenges of the modern high street.'

Our network has been the anchor of thousands of communities for nearly 400 years, and it still is.

The task for our comms team is to show the potential for our business and how, through innovation and imagination - including embracing the digital revolution - the Post Office as part of the high street is evolving.

With 11,800 branches, we are the largest retail chain in the UK. We are absolutely committed to keeping branches on high streets, in town centres and local communities for the long term, helping them thrive.

We are changing quickly to meet the needs of the digital age. Branches are being transformed, with improved customer service and extended opening hours. And we are growing rapidly as a financial services firm.

Each modernised branch is a signal, through support and investment, of our commitment to the challenges of the modern high street.

So we are ensuring our PR and comms approach is closely aligned with our CSR agenda and integrated with internal and stakeholder engagement, building a link between how we promote the business externally and the sense of connection our people - staff, agents and others - have with their local communities.

It is this area where comms can work most effectively to help bring new life to high streets. Firstly by being proactive in telling the story, and secondly by taking a broad view, working together in coalitions with other interested parties - retailers, councils, community groups - to develop the kinds of sustainable high streets local people want in a changing world.

Just as we are evolving, so must high streets. They must be commercially viable, and more responsive to customers, adapting to changing needs in a way that recognises different demands in different areas. As they do there will be an ongoing demand for social hubs that bring communities together. The role for organisations like the Post Office, a commercial business with a social purpose, is to help the evolution take place, and to remain at the heart of these high street hubs.

Mark Davies, comms director at the Post Office

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