Thursday, 28 October 2010

Wales and the Welsh Brand - how do you get people to come to Wales to enjoy and invest?

2010 promised to be a big deal for Wales in terms of branding and marketing. The sporting world looked at Newport for Wales' first Ryder Cup. Indeed the Cup was a great success, baring the weather and the upset Americans for either missing the last day or watching their country lose (kind of think that was a blessing in disguise). ONe of the tightest finishes in decades ment the spectacle was all that could be hoped for. But what about the other things. Why was the Ryder Cup so heavily pushed and advertised above other events? why did the government concentrate on the event? In simple terms it was about Business.

Firstly it must be said that the Ryder Cup has been planned for a very long time and it was perhaps untimely that the Recession came when it did. Also the concept of bring Golf's premier spectacle to the our fair isles seems a fantastic idea, due to the facts such as:

"54% of Business professionals see golf as the business of Sport."

Source: Fairway to Finance - WDA and MORI research

"69% of executives believe the Ryder Cup will attract Global Business attention."
Source: Fairway to Finance - WDA and MORI research

Indeed the classic Destination Branding technique has been employed. Create a festival/event bring it to your area and watch people's perceptions change... So what is the impact of the event? has it led to this investment? should one of the richest sports be supported so much? were their other choices?

In time we maybe able to get an idea of how the Ryder Cup increased peoples perception of Wales. If some form of measurement system has been devised it would be great to understand what it has changed.

What I want to look at is the following:

- Are these huge events appropriate in todays market?
- Should we be looking at trends such as Mass Localism and niche in answering the future of Destination Branding?
- Is business about the many and not the few?

Last weekend saw the fourth (?) swn festival which took place in Cardiff. For those that are not aware of the event it is a multi-venue music festival that takes place in Cardiff every year. It has private sponsors and has no obvious government help (no supporting logo's at least). As a resident of Cardiff I heard a lot of people talking and discussing the swn festival and the gigs that were going to be on (I am nosey). When the Ryder Cup took place I also saw the odd lost American looking through the Victorian Arcades near my flat.

I however must now get back on track and re-read the quote "69% of executives believe the Ryder Cup will attract Global Business attention" Ok but I guess I am technically an executive or at least a Director of a company and have been for over 5 years. So why do I not agree with this statement? Well for me there is a confidence in Wales that is about niche, creativity and skilled workers. We are never going to be able to compete with the larger countries that can churn out thousands of machined parts a second. More importantly we shouldn't as one of few countries looking into how to be a true 'sustainable' nation we have to see producing for the sake of producing as a dead end. We must see also the fact that by concentrating of highly skilled production (manufacturing or creativity based) is the way forward also we must see the idea of service and the importance that will have in further adding value to our proposition within the World's market.

So is it about time that the unique Wales Brand advertising about bad reception, clean air two hours away the very uniqueness of Wales should be further pushed into supporting unique and niche projects? That while only attracting a few small groups of people, with mass Wales can become a truly special place? People want bespoke, customisable and unique so why don't we give that to them?

I would be really interested in hearing what people think about this subject and whether there are new ways to look at Destination Branding for the future... Finally as I wrote this I was sent this video my Carwyn enjoy, all about the uniqueness of us...

1 comment:

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