The secret to place marketing is finding a unique angle

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Photo by Tim Lumley

The secret to place marketing is finding a unique angle.

At a time when we are all being exposed to innumerable messages it has never been more important to find something, anything, that can help you stand out.

It is not enough to be good, you also have to be different.

Or at least different enough to start a conversation.

And given that you cannot say everything, all at once, you have to choose what to focus on.

This obviously applies to products and services, but it also applies to places.

Leeds is a case in point.

As a visitor destination it has a lot going for it. It is a fine city with a great nightlife, good shops, and plenty to see and do.

But that is true of so many cities. Newcastle. Manchester. Liverpool. Belfast. Bristol. They are all vibrant, exciting places to go.

So the tourism team at Leeds came up with a clever angle.

“We’re the perfect city break destination,” the official tourism site announces, before providing visitors with 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour itineraries.

Norwich takes a different approach. Rather than compete head to head with other historic cities like York, Exeter and Canterbury, Norwich has carved out a niche as a place of literature.

It calls itself “The city of stories”, which is a clever nod to both its rich history and its abundance of bookshops.

“This is a new way of looking at ourselves, of saying what’s already here. These are our voices, our streets. This is not out with the old, it’s saying this is where we come from, what we’re built on, and where we’re going,” the tourism board explains.

Importantly, Norwich has the evidence to back this up, “from being awarded England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, to the University of East Anglia (UEA) pioneering the first Creative Writing MA, to us being home to the only National Centre for Writing.”

Sheffield has found an angle too. It calls itself “the outdoor city,” a label many of its residents use with pride.

“It’s always been the outdoor city for me,” says Ed Birch of Sheffield filmmakers Salt Street Productions.

“It has everything from taking a stroll to walking to the peak district, which will only take 15 minutes by car. Within the actual city there’s also so much potential; bouldering for climbers and so much for parkour and skateboarding.”

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