Questions from the delegates:
- How can a museum be re-positioned as a successful visitor attraction?
- How can a mussels (shellfish) business exploit its unique location - Holy Island (aka Lindisfarne its Celtic name) - located off the Northumberland coast?
- How does a country house offering self-catering accommodation target the corporate market?
- How do country sub-brands such as regions, counties and cities develop within the hierarchy of a destination brand portfolio?
Alan: The short answer - Co-branding with a new, emerging category will generate exciting big brand ideas. Better still, create a new category and let your brand lead that category into a sustainable and prosperous future.
The long answer - Continue to look for opportunities to co-brand with complimentors, competitors, celebrities as well as other products, partners, publics (via media), and most importantly, places and their peoples - in other words, a cultural co-branding strategy.
Q asked by Alan: In just one word or short phrase what is your perception of Northumberland County?
A: Unspoilt - Castles & coastline - Great outdoors - Tranquility - Friendly - Stunning views - History - Culture - Open spaces - Passionate people.
Alan: With such a variation of responses, and a perception as one of the least visited counties, Northumberland needs to find a focus - a new destination category - to build a unique position for itself rather than try and 'be-all-things-to-all-people' which most macro destinations - countries, regions, counties and cities - are guilty of doing primarily to satisfy their armies of stakeholders.
But after a virtual immersion into Northumberland, some interesting possibilities for a new destination category have emerged:
- Northumberland has more castles (13) than any other English county - built to fight wars over centuries between Scotland and England. The county's ownership, as part of the larger historical Kingdom of Northumbria, has changed hands several times over the years.
- Hadrian's famous Wall was built by the Romans to keep the invaders from the north out of England.
- Finally, after hundreds of wars and skirmishes, the English and Scottish crowns were united in 1603.
- 'After-war-make-love' which is why Northumberland boasts a vast number of Anglo-Scottish unions, relationships, ventures and partnerships - ancient and modern - from Northumberland's Berwick Rangers football (soccer) team playing in the Scottish league, to the giant Scottish & Newcastle brewery and its world-famous Newcastle Brown Ale.
- Northumberland is the only English county with an official tartan - Shepherd's Plaid - and the only English county with a Bagpipe Museum featuring the Northumbrian Smallpipes.
The historical tensions between the Scots and the English provide a platform for Northumberland as the only English county perfectly positioned to bring the two nations closer together to build a fabulous future - generating tourism, inward investments and exports. With a strategic brand vision: United Clans of the Anglo-Scots, here are just a few tactical ideas to help make that vision a reality:
- The Lowland Games (inspired by Scotland's Highland Games) featuring a mix of Scottish and English competitions - both ancient and modern.
- The Thistle & Rose - a cultural fest of some of the best Anglo-Scots traditions.
- The Andrew-George Awards - a celebration of Anglo-Scottish achievements - at home and abroad.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"Building a unique cultural identity based on powerful cultural mythologies, is one of the best brand development strategies available for products as well as places and their peoples."
Please click here to read Part 2 - The British Riviera.