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Branding for Britain

 

Suffolk is looking to rebrand. It’s clear that England’s counties are having to increasingly compete with cheap foreign destinations, but is changing the identity of a county in order for it to appeal to wider tourist audience really a necessity? The media report suggests that Suffolk wishes to become the ‘curious county’.

Should countries be branded? We all know that they are often twinned with other European regions, or wish to become the most environmentally friendly, but to create an image for purely tourist purposes is new.

The local reaction has been negative among residents, and even among MPs. They believe the word ‘curious’ is somewhat misleading, and that people can judge Suffolk as they so wish. But promoters state that it shows that Suffolk is more than just a seaside. They hope that curiosity will inspire people to find out more about potential adventures and escape within the county.

Drawing on this re-branding, the county will promote its arts and music scene, which currently includes Latitude Festival and is home to Ed Sheeran.

But fear not, this new term will not appear in official publications; moreover a small website will be added to the ‘Visit Suffolk’ site. Use of social media will be encouraged however, with hashtags including #proudtobecurious and #curiouscoast. These could have a tendency to be misinterpreted.

Most counties do not have such slogans; however they are certainly starting to increase in number. Hertfordshire is ‘the county of opportunity’, though I highly doubt many businesses are looking at it for their prime location. Perhaps Essex will need some rebranding as it is now know mainly for TOWIE. Warwickshire is ‘Shakespeare’s County’ and Nottinghamshire is ‘Robin Hood country’ – perhaps Suffolk should look for a stronger link to an aspect of its heritage in order to promote itself.

Foreign cities have been branding themselves for years, namely the ‘I Love NY’ campaign, which has generated money for businesspeople who sell merchandise all over the world. Ken Livingstone tried to create ‘Totally LondON’, but Boris scrapped that.

Personally, I’d rather the area I live in develop its own character, not one that is invented in order to push tourism. The question remains: are we just trying to create a perfect world?

What do you think?

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