Window dressing…

Your article ‘Shaping the Destination’ (MW 24 September) revealed how marketers are giving destinations a distinctive personality to boost tourism. In Sheffield we have found success using a similar approach.

We have been investing in stories from companies and people around the city to celebrate what makes Sheffield unique. Stories are a far deeper and richer way of communicating than slogans and straplines, and our approach seems to be working as we have seen a massive boost to short-break tourism this summer.

We have been keen to invest in local brands to promote the city. Recently we held a party to celebrate the anniversary of independent media company Warp, which started out as a small record shop in Sheffield 20 years ago.

Nearly half of those attending travelled from outside the South Yorkshire region, coming from as far away as Japan and Brazil. We also held our first Memo Market in July, which gathered Sheffield’s finest independent brands under one roof, and ran a scheme called Sheffield Showcase, which offered a platform for local artists, creatives and businesses to brighten up the city centre by creating window displays for unused retail outlets.

We have been investing heavily in the entertainment scene. The city hosted an ‘urban Glastonbury’ where leading local bands played in bars, parks and other public spaces. We also hosted a U2 concert for which hotel accommodation sold out across the city centre to fans from all over the world.

A series of weekly events called Wednesday Night Live provided early evening entertainment, with shops getting on board by staying open late, and we will be holding our fifth Grin up North comedy festival this month. It will be the biggest comedy festival in England with more than 80,000 tickets sold so far, featuring a mix of headline acts and up-and-coming comedians from the Sheffield area.

Agencies like Creativesheffield play a vital role in connecting these events to manage the branding of the city. By focusing on Sheffield’s brands and heritage, we are attracting people to an experience they cannot find elsewhere.

Brendan Moffett, director of strategic marketing, Creativesheffield

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