We Cannot Keep Rebranding Plymouth
Read this outspoken response from Richard Smith to our blog post published yesterday [ Why Scrapping the Positively Plymouth Brand is the Positive Thing to Do ] about the rebranding of Plymouth.
I was an outspoken critic of ‘Positively Plymouth’ from its first inception. Despite claims that there had been wide stakeholder consultation there were clearly problems with buy-in…and you quite rightly highlight the issue of the same branding having been initiated in the US some 18 months prior to the Lloyd Northover work being completed.
I always felt that the brand did nothing to advance the positioning of Plymouth. It was confused in its application and unfortunately never had the support or budget for successful roll-out and implementation.
The Ocean City
The oceans and access to the world from Plymouth have been the key factor in our success to date. Certainly the Royal Navy have played a huge role but we have to acknowledge that their presence, and influence, is reducing. The Oceans however remain a key strength, marine and renewables are key to our future success. The proposed rebrand – Britain’s Ocean City – does make some sense but we would have to live up to the name. The City Deal is a major step towards this but we have to do more with any rebrand. All of us who live and work in Plymouth have to buy into it, believe in it.
Open and Transparent
This does rather determine that the process for arriving at the brand proposition is open and transparent. Plymouth in the past has not been good at this but this is an opportunity which cannot be squandered. We cannot keep rebranding, for a start we do not have the money available and secondly who is going to take a city seriously if it cannot decide for itself what it stands for, what it has to offer?
Personally I like the reference to the oceans but how much better would this sit if it was supported by a cruise liner terminal, flourishing renewables (particularly marine renewables) and marine science and engineering sectors? Any rebrand has to shout to the rest of the world that we are clear and confidant about ourselves.
The Visitor Economy
One final point from me relates to the Visitor Economy. Destination Plymouth, currently responsible for super-charging Plymouth’s visitor economy have recently appointed a new Chief Executive. Any new brand has to meet with her expectations and provide a strong hook for any destination marketing plans she might have.