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Developing the Humber Place Narrative

25 January 2024

Places don’t need brands, places are brands.

The Humber brand is the mental image that people hold about your place. That already exists - but place branding allows us to gain control over it, influence it and change what people think.

Developing the Humber Place Narrative isn’t to concoct a new brand, but to understand the core associations and opinions of our target markets, to measure the gap between what people think now and how we want to be perceived in the future – and then work out how to consistently, collectively and persistently move our current place perception in the desired direction.

The holy grail of place branding is for places, and the partners in them, to adopt the behaviours of well-managed brands. They seek to influence how people perceive them through actions not words. They galvanise and guide partners and communities through shared identities and values.

Successful places should be known for something. Something for their many and diverse community to feel proud of; something to contribute towards and cherish. Something deep-rooted; the defining essence of who they are – translating ambition into ‘on brand’ and impactful action.

We feel that it's time for the Humber to have a fresh story. We believe there should be no more generic ‘great places to live, work, shop and play’ or short-term campaign thinking. The developments in this region over the past few years have borne positive changes in so many areas and the time is right for us to start shouting about our wonderful region again. The Humber has plenty of people willing to share what they love about where they live and work and a collective message will empower all our ambassadors to deliver the right messages.

We need to talk about what this incredible and often underappreciated part of the world means to us, now and in the future, telling a story about the Humber that is ambitious, consistent and most importantly, anchored by a shared set of values.

Thank you to everyone who came to Let’s Talk Place during Humber Business Week in 2023. This event brought together business leaders from around the region and opened up discussions about what place meant to us individually and collectively and gave us some ideas to start working with.

You can read more about this event at Let’s Talk Place: Bondholders Breakfast

Future Humber and Bondholders have taken on the task of making a new place narrative happen and have commissioned a consortium of experts, including HemingwayDesign, CTConsults and Pace Communications, to develop the narrative for the Humber region.

This process will take several months, and more will be revealed in the Summer of 2024. In the meantime, we begin by consulting as many stakeholders in the Humber region as possible and by showing the consortium the key sites and sights that will help them to gain even more valuable insight. We are facilitating and co-ordinating an extended visit to the region in partnership with some of the Humber’s businesses, community groups and leaders, which will happen early in the year.

February will see us undertake a huge consultation exercise and we invite you to be a part of it. We are running 9 events across some of our key industries and in different areas of the Humber including a focus group for those working in the Energy and Chemicals sectors, one for the Digital sector, and one for students.

The dates for the workshops are....

CTConsults will lead the focus groups which will explore and test emerging ideas and themes. It’s an opportunity for you to influence the narrative, to meet the consultancy team, find out more, ask questions and see how this development could benefit you and your organisation. We encourage you to book onto the events which are a good fit for your business or community group.

There will also be opportunities to participate in the narrative's development by responding to a public survey which will be distributed in the next few weeks. Please keep an eye out for that as we need as many people to complete it as we can to provide a thorough picture of our collective beliefs and values.

It is important that we hear a range of voices during the consultation and development period. Please do add your voice and tell us what you feel about the Humber region. With deep insight we can develop a narrative of which we are all proud to own and share.

In return, we will keep you informed along the way and promise to deliver a compelling place narrative for the Humber which is built on a solid foundation of local insight and collective values.

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