Hull

When Hull was named the UK City of Culture in 2017 many people turned their noses up. Having also been voted one of the worst places to live in the UK and with a bit of a down-trodden image, it was not a place particularly synonymous with culture.

But the city used it as an opportunity to change perceptions. It created a new identity and started a different narrative, a shift in strategy that resulted in it attracting six million visitors during 2017 – 26% more than its target – and leading to it taking home the award for Travel, Leisure and Transport at the Marketing Week Masters 2018.

Rather than simply design a new logo and create some brand guidelines, Hull set about developing a brand strategy, working alongside agency Jaywing.

Core to this was getting buy-in from locals to ensure they shared the vision. So, they consulted with groups across the community, from schools and businesses to arts and social welfare groups and Saturday morning shoppers. Over the course of the year more than nine in 10 residents took part in at least one cultural activity.

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But while it was hugely important for the local community to be on board, the strategy couldn’t be so insular that the Hull brand came across as small-minded or just for its inhabitants. It therefore also looked to engage arts audiences and influencers, in addition to the general public, to ensure Hull was taken seriously from…