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Posted by Sarah Brown on 16 Jul '13

Is seeing believing?

The power of the brand. Once people have a belief then it can be very hard to shift so it is critical to protect your brand by acting consistently at all times and being true to your values. I think many people will be surprised about where this picture was taken - I hope I am wrong.

For some time I have been taking a longer route so I can see these beautiful flowers. They stretch for miles and as some fade and others flourish the beauty changes. So where is this beautiful scene, the Cotswolds, a national park? - no it's on the roads of Rotherham where the central reservations and the roundabouts are literally glowing with the planting - this is in the town but in fact more than half of the Borough is rural, characterised by attractive villages and rolling countryside.

But Rotherham does not have a positive brand its seen as a declining industrial town - I hear tell that some upmarket brands won't even allow their goods to be sold in the town and everyone knows that it is the town where Jamie Oliver tried to teach people to cook and parents passed junk food through the fences of schools - it was even the home of the factory for turkey twizzlers.

For me Rotherham is a place of beauty - this is the town centre and I know that the primary school in Bramley is teaching its children to grow food but that doesn't fit with the image.

Rotherham is also a centre of enterprise! It has just scooped another prestigious business award.

The Retail Investment Team has been handed the “Improving the Business Mix” award from the “Association of Town Centre Management”, Europe's largest membership organisation dedicated to helping town and city centres reach their potential. Rotherham was one of six winners announced at the annual ATCM conference, which took place in Lincoln on 3rd-5th July.

The award recognises the work being undertaken to redefine the shopping offer in the town centre through projects such as Pop-up Shops, Business Vitality Grants and the Business Development Grants.

In 2011 Rotherham was recognised for the second time as having the best integrated incubation and enterprise services in the country by UK Business Incubation(UKBI). (They also won it in 2005). And in 2010 Rotherham Business Centres(RIDO) became the only business centres in England to join the ranks of the National Business Incubation Association's (NBIA) Soft Landings International Incubators. RiDO now works with other NBIA members in the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, France and the Netherlands to identify companies that are considering exploring the UK market, or are looking to use the UK as a base for further European activities.

Will this make you rethink your views on Rotherham? Is seeing believing? What do people think about your organisation and if they are wrong just think how hard it will be to change their minds. In these days of the instant photo, the immediate tweet everyone needs to constantly be living their brand and accentuating the positive. And if you can do come and see the flowers in Rotherham before they fade - just come off the M1 at junction 33 and there they are. If you are worried about your image and not sure your values are understood by all we have a tool that can help - give us a shout and we can let you have the tool

Tags: marketing inspiration local authority strategic development

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