It’s the people that make it: how Glasgow positioned itself as a dynamic destination
Glasgow is a city bursting with life, energy, passion and personality. From its world-class universities and internationally acclaimed visual and performing arts credentials, to its legendary music scene, Art Nouveau architectural heritage and retail strength, Glasgow has earned a global reputation for its creativity and innovation.
As one of Europe’s most vibrant, welcoming and dynamic cities, Glasgow is justifiably renowned throughout the world for the friendliness, warmth and humour of its people whose civic pride lies at the heart of the city’s continuing success.
Next year, the global spotlight will be on Glasgow like never before when a staggering audience of 1.5 billion people will focus its attention on the city for the Commonwealth Games – providing an unprecedented opportunity to tell Glasgow’s story to the world.
Glasgow also has bold aspirations for the future – as demonstrated by its successful bid for the 2015 Turner Prize, which will see Glasgow become the first Scottish city to host this prestigious event.
In tandem with its cultural and sporting ambitions, the promotion of Glasgow as a world-leading business city is key to competing internationally and delivering future economic growth.
As such, Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan 2012-2017 and the Glasgow Economic Leadership (GEL) group have identified seven priority sectors for Glasgow’s future economic development, comprising: life sciences; financial and business services; low carbon industries; engineering; manufacturing and design; higher and further education; and tourism and major events.
The development and implementation of a new, compelling and cohesive city brand through which to communicate Glasgow’s key sectors, assets and ambitions to the world.
Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) was tasked with delivering the project to develop an overarching brand strategy that will position Glasgow across national and international markets as a world-class visitor destination and a dynamic business and investment location.
Glasgow City Marketing Bureau undertook a robust, evidence-based approach to this project, employing stakeholder engagement, digital and social media solutions and a comprehensive PR campaign.
In February this year, GCMB appointed Tayburn to conduct consultations with 40 of Glasgow’s leaders from the private, public and academic sectors; drawing on their expertise and experience to shape the development of the Glasgow city brand architecture.
Additionally, Tayburn was engaged to explore the city’s competitor landscape and report their findings and recommendations, which would help to inform the creative strategy.
During April and May, GCMB engaged the people of Glasgow in a month-long conversation, both on and offline, which was built around the question: ‘What makes Glasgow a great city?’
To facilitate this, GCMB worked with Storm ID to design and build the website whatmakesglasgowgreat.co.uk, where visitors could have their say, share their brand ideas, images and video content and explore the contributions of fellow visitors. The site incorporated social media aggregation, allowing contributors to post via their Facebook page, while sharing tools and a newsletter sign-up option were also implemented.
The site employed responsive design to deliver an optimised user experience across phone, tablet and desktop, and content was presented through a dynamic ‘tile wall’, which updated in real time as opinions were added, extending through historical content via infinite scrolling.
Postcards and collection-boxes were also situated in more than 60 locations across Glasgow including libraries, museums, leisure centres, benefit offices, community halls, shopping centres and hotels to ensure as many people as possible could share their views.
GCMB implemented public relations activity during the four weeks of the conversation, targeting print, broadcast and online media across the UK and globally through GCMB’s network of on-territory PR agents in France, Germany, Canada, Australia and the US aimed at maximising awareness and coverage.
During the conversation period, GCMB, with support from partners Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life, reviewed all of the content received to identify the key themes.
Following this, GCMB then worked to capture the spirit of the conversation and translate those themes into a new brand that would deliver a strong, recognisable identity for Glasgow – one that provides a platform through which to articulate the city’s global credentials across its priority growth sectors.
More than 1,500 people from 42 countries shared their views as part of the conversation, with the website receiving nearly 7,000 visits including from across the UK, Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, India and China. Far flung responses were also received from Oman, Egypt, Rwanda, Morocco, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan.
Overwhelmingly, the number one response from contributors was that it’s the people of Glasgow that make the city great, which, ultimately, led to the development of ‘People Make Glasgow’ as the city’s new brand.
Social media activity around the conversation and subsequent launch of the new brand reached a global audience of 1.25 million Facebook and Twitter users – with ‘People Make Glasgow’ trending on Twitter on launch day.
The PR campaign generated more than 80 items of coverage across print, broadcast and online media, representing 95m opportunities to see/hear (OTS/OTH).
“It was an amazing process. No other city has branded itself through social media – this was crowd branding on a global scale”, says Scott Taylor, chief executive, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. “The people of Glasgow are at the heart of our new brand, which presents a truly distinctive identity for the city.”
Glasgow City Marketing Bureau employed Tangent to deliver the creative execution of ‘People Make Glasgow’, which has a strong geometric typeface that draws on the city’s shipbuilding heritage and the unmistakeable style and colour palettes employed by Glasgow’s world-renowned cultural icon, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The brand’s keynote ruby colour is passionate while the photography reflects the city’s unique personality.
Taylor adds: “Throughout the lifespan of the brand the people of Glasgow will be encouraged to add to it and enhance it with their own stories and images, helping to paint a genuine picture of the city and all it has to offer – we’re going to continue that successful conversation.
“One of the real strengths of this brand is its flexibility. It can be adapted for different audiences and sectors to highlight Glasgow’s key strengths and reflect the city’s increasingly diverse economy.
“‘People Make Glasgow’ will provide a platform to show the world Glasgow’s strengths and act to attract investment, growth and opportunity to our city.”
Glasgow City Marketing Bureau
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