Placemaking at Castle Quarter Norwich

The Challenge

Castle Mall was challenged by the changing face of retail, shopping habits and fierce competition resulting in many vacant units. Perceptions and performance were poor.

As a result, the centre started on a path of evolution both in terms of what it was physically as a product and how it was perceived, the intention to become ‘The number 1 mixed-use destination for Leisure, Entertainment and Shopping in Norwich’, in short, ‘The Heart of Norwich’. The journey built momentum in 2019 culminating in a rebrand as a mixed-use destination and change of name to Castle Quarter in September 2019.

The Solution

It was important when rebranding CM that the new brand showcased everything available at the centre, but equally as important to create a place that people want to visit and to be a part of.  It was essential to build an emotional connection with the place itself, helping to create acceptance and moreover likelihood of regular visits, use, enjoyment and advocacy. As the audience is diverse the message needed to be adapted to ensure everyone felt part of the new place.

The How:

New Brand

The new Castle Quarter brand creative utilises the Q shape from the logo to create a speech bubble device. The design is clean and simple with strong emotional images of key target customers.  The four quarters – Shop. Dine. Watch. Play have been introduced to complement the existing #alwaysareason which is still very much relevant to the message.

Launch Party

The launch party needed to stand out, really putting CQ on the map as the place to visit for entertainment in Norwich, it was, therefore, important to go big and be fun for the whole family.

The Theme

Castle Quarter Party 2019 to launch the change of name from Castle Mall to Castle Quarter.

One of the new entertainment facilities to open at the centre was Retro Replay, which provides a nostalgic trip to the arcades.  A very unique offer and an attraction that appeals to both young and old. Therefore lending itself nicely to a theme for the launch party.

With the retro computer games in mind the classic game Pac-man became a main feature of the party, but with a twist – players donned Pac-man and ghost costumes then ran around a giant maze on the hunt for fruit.   Pac-man and four ghosts became the stars of the teaser video that was aired to promote the party. In the video, the ghosts chased Pac-man around the centre.


Retro arcade games were the inspiration for the launch party creative, using pixels as a background to the artwork and using the bright purple from the new brand.

The Entertainment

Every good celebration needs a disco to get the party started, but when you are trying to appeal to a wide range of people it’s a hard task to get the music right! By using a silent disco it allowed people to choose their favourite genre of music to listen to so that everyone could happily dance their socks off. As well as the giant Pac-Man other party games included giant Tetris, dance mat and ballnado, all branded as CQ.

Keeping with the retro game theme Sonic the Hedgehog made appearances throughout the day inside the newly opened Superbowl UK to promote their SEGA partnership. To appeal to the students of Norwich Love Islands Sam Bird attended the party, posing for photos and hitting the decks. A party would not be complete without cake, party bags and balloons, the first 250 at the party were given a branded brownie, a ‘Heart of Norwich’ bag and balloon.

Make it Measureable 

Objective  Result
Footfall: +2% at launch party +6% increase in footfall at launch party. +2.64% YOY after the rebrand.
Social media followers: +5% +10.11% of total social media followers
Social media engagement: +20% +73.28% total increase in engagements
Increase website visitors: 5% +23% increase in visitors YOY
PR EAV: £30,000 regarding rebrand/launch party £58,818 worth of press coverage regarding the launch party

£69,196 worth of press coverage regarding the rebrand and changes to the centre.

£8,757 worth of TV & Radio coverage received

Engage with over 2,000 students Over 2,000 goodie bags and day passes given out at Fresher than a Fayre
Engage with 50% of tenants via the forums 84% of tenants attended at least one forum
Attract 100 stakeholders to the VIP evening Over 100 business professionals, influencers, community groups and charities attended
Increase the number of people driving 20 miles or more by 5% 19% of the customers are now coming from more than 20 miles away

4.2% of them are travelling over 30 miles