I READ with interest the debate in Mark Shaw`s Creative Nottingham column about the `branding` of the city and was heartened to learn that at last there seems to be a recognition that having a brand is about a lot more than just a graphic image and a slick logo.
But what cannot be ignored is that Nottingham already has a globally recognised brand in its association with the Robin Hood legend – an international brand that fulfils and delivers on every single criteria in any classic marketing textbook.
It has been tried and tested over many centuries and still embraces respect, power, justice, unity etc and achieves the holy grail of marketing – the impact of instant recognition and brand credibility. It also comes absolutely free with no consultancy fees.
Nottingham can never shake off its Robin Hood connections – and why should it? Other cities pay consultants thousands of pounds to come up with a brand-awareness factor – Nottingham has one of the most iconic brands on a plate. The rest of the world wonders why the city seemingly fails to capitalise on the benefits. Too often the message reflected is that Nottingham cannot be as switched-on as it claims or that it doesn`t really care, and you can imagine the damage that perception does to the city`s reputation.
Nottingham`s strength has always been its diversity. Robin Hood is not just a tourism brand and over the years the city has adopted various strategies to promote its appeal. A brand as big as Robin Hood needs to be creatively managed to work alongside Nottingham`s other attributes, addressing such issues as inward investment, education, culture, community and environment etc. Nottingham`s frequent indifference to its Robin Hood connections is the city`s Achilles` heel that often undermines all the positive efforts being made.
Based on 12 years of its own market research experience, the internet-based World Wide Robin Hood Society is compiling a Robin Hood Marketing Guide to help solve the problem and we are also aware that a lot of effort is being made on various other fronts to address the issue.
The clock is ticking on the ten-month countdown to the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the Robin Hood statue on Castle Road. The statue was financed by a local businessman, Phillip Clay, to provide something tangible for visitors to see about Nottingham`s folk hero. Imagine the embarrassment if, 60 years on, the city has nothing more to show.
Bob White - Chairman
See the original letter to the Nottingham Evening Post.