Behavioral Influence

Servicing Leiden to park differently

How do you introduce a new parking vision in a major historical city? How do you motivate motorists to park outside the city center? And how do you encourage residents to neatly park their bicycles in a storage facility or rack? What should a campaign entail to achieve this?

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Leiden is a beautiful historical city with a long history, known for its splendid canals and alleys. But for the city to remain livable and economically vibrant, it must evolve with the times. This means that Leiden needs to create space for business, living, greenery, and recreation.

Parking differently in Leiden

Less cars - more space

A significant difference can be made by reducing the number of cars in the city center and educating cyclists. Due to increased mobility, over the past decades, Leiden slowly became overrun with cars and bicycles. A profound new parking vision will change this. Parking spaces in the city center will be reduced, and cyclists will also need to park differently. Change often meets resistance. The challenge posed to New Story is: how can this resistance be prevented and transformed into understanding?

Parking in Leiden
Cycling in Leiden


New Story looked beyond just a campaign. We realized that a campaign alone wouldn't make the difference. We know resistance doesn't simply disappear because of a compelling narrative. Success is truly achieved when you minimize that resistance by making it easier for the target audience to change their behavior. If you're no longer allowed to park in certain areas, what can and are you allowed to do?

Strategic and tactical

When you consider the multitude of diverse stakeholders in a city, each with varying interests and viewpoints, it becomes clear that multiple narratives are needed to convince everyone. All these storylines must be strategically and tactically plotted. To be successful, you must communicate the right message to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right place. Only then can you create the impact needed to raise awareness and influence behavior.

Understand that with this campaign, we need to engage not just the residents and visitors. It goes far beyond that. The restaurateur, the clothing boutique, the doctor's practice, the law firm, the museum, the theater – as well as the public space worker must all be informed and persuaded.

Tailored narrative

To encounter less resistance, we need to foster understanding. "I may not be happy with the measures, but I understand why Leiden needs this." This is the sentiment we aim to evoke if we want people to be open to change. Therefore, we don't just communicate what is no longer allowed and what now needs to be done. Where possible, we explain why we want these changes and what they will bring to both the city and the individual. This narrative framework varies depending on the audience. For example, a young student biking around the city has different concerns than a clothing store owner.

Mapping the audience

In a vibrant city, many different people live, each of whom needs to be motivated in unique ways. To communicate effectively, we need to know where they reside and how they move daily within the city. Only then will we know where and how to best reach them. To get clarity on this, we utilized the BSR model, revealing where each resident type is located. This allowed us to segment the 'resident' audience into six different segments, each with a distinct perspective on mobility and parking. Additionally, we identified and examined all other stakeholders, like business owners and cultural institutions, determining their specific needs and challenges regarding the new parking vision.

Knowing which narrative positively influences a target group is not enough. As mentioned earlier, delivering the right message at the right time is crucial. For example, think of a note attached to the handlebar of a wrongly parked bike: "How awesome that you're cycling! But a tidy city is awesome too. Can you please park your bike in the proper spot next time? The Lorentz bike storage is just around the corner. Take note! From next month, your bike will be removed."

For the city's various users, we've mapped their movement patterns within the city. By knowing who we'll encounter and where, our communication can be more relevant and impactful.

Make room for Leiden

As a creative agency, we love producing beautiful things, but the end goal justifies the means. With a landscape we need to detail so intricately, optimal efficiency and flexibility are essential. To make our campaign stand out amidst other municipal communications, we chose a cut-out-art concept, allowing us to tailor experiences for each audience segment. We anchored everything with the central theme, "Make room for Leiden." It has been implemented at every level, including social media, print, outdoor, street furniture, partner media, and of course a website.

City centre communication

Predictable success

Regardless of how meticulously we researched and developed our plans, we wanted as much certainty as possible about the campaign's effect before implementing it. Therefore, before rolling everything out, the concept was tested with a qualified panel of 1,000 people at SPRINT. The results indicated that we scored above all benchmarks. With this grounded confidence, we began the campaign's production and deployment.


This is a multi-year plan, so the full effect will be seen later. But what we know now: our approach works! The initial resistance has given way to understanding and solution-focused thinking and actions. Notably, our social campaign is performing 200% better than similar campaigns by the municipality of Leiden. This contributes to our mission, but ultimately, the smallest actions make the most significant difference.

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