The Punch and Judy show at during the Old Leigh Regatta is part of Southend’s DNA

About

Summary 

As part of the European Interreg 2 Seas project Visit Kent and Visit Essex were looking to build on their previous work to explore the identity and values of Medway and Southend within the Thames coastal/maritime area. This work highlighted what makes these places special and distinct and isolates why a visitor should consider and then visit these destinations over others. These are two very different places, with very different product and experiences which were reflected in their DNA and their resulting place stories.

Our Approach 

Understanding the DNA of Medway and Southend and ensuring it could be brought to life across all elements of the place was critical to developing a distinctive and compelling visitor experience. Our approach, together with our specialist place associates thinkingplace, was to develop a robust narrative, graphic pattern and logotype which expressed the key products, personality and distinctiveness of the area. 

Everything flowed from Medway and Southend’s place narratives, making the marketing much more straightforward and easily understood. This approach not only positioned the area and its assets but ensured a clear answer to the question 'why should I consider and choose Medway or Southend as a place to visit in preference to others?’

The narratives delivered simplicity from complexity. They were based on the ‘pillars’ of a small number of themes that emerged from ‘funnelling’ the evidence or DNA and applying insight. These themes are at the heart of why these places are distinct, special and reflective of their assets and character. They are the priorities for what is communicated and how the place is developed. Identifying these core themes was vital for their future positioning.

Outcome 

To mobilise the support of local stakeholders in getting the message out and developing the product and experience; our work had the notion of self-help at its heart. Businesses and other organisations had resources to help grow the visitor economy with their networks, contacts and credibility to tell the Medway and Southend stories.

In addition to an animated video of each place story, created to engage stakeholders with their place narrative, we produced an Activity Plan for each place which identified: 

  • Target audiences by priority
  • Networking and cascading opportunities via existing groups and the opportunities to establish new ones
  • Existing social media platforms, their suitability for promoting these messages, recommendations on new platforms, approach and delivery mechanisms
  • Planned campaigns and events (public and private sector) where the new approach can be used
  • The key partners to engage with who can promote the message and develop the product offer in line with the narrative
  • Engagement activities with tourism sector businesses to tell their place narrative through their individual stories and marketing activities
  • Developing a central resource of content to build on the photos and examples of local stories provided by the project, to provide small businesses with rich content to use on social media.  

Directions

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Maritime and Coastal Visitor Destination Identity (DNA) for Medway and Southend

Client:

Visit Kent, Visit Essex,

Location:

Essex, United Kingdom
Visit Kent, Visit Essex

Contact us

3 Woodland Enterprise Centre, Hastings Road,
Flimwell, East Sussex, TN5 7PR, UK

+44 (0) 1580 879970

contact@acorntourism.co.uk