“…a city that is in the world, yet sufficiently on the edge of it to have a different resonance”.
— Philip Larkin
Back in 2013 when it was announced that Hull would become the City of Culture for 2017 it is safe to say that a few eyebrows were raised. Not because the place doesn’t have anything to offer*, but to be fair, it’s not really known for its folklore either.
It is that reputation exactly that the people of this city are trying to shake. I mean, can you blame them? After all, it is constantly voted as one of the worst places to live in the UK (actually 2nd worst according to this list). It is no wonder then that their whole campaign to claim the title was about ‘A city that’s coming out of the shadows’, a new beginning of sorts for a town that once showed promise, but has had a hard time recapturing that glow. And how are they doing it! To kick off this period filled with special occasions, Hull City of Culture started the year with a fireworks spectacle that was bigger and longer than London’s.
But with all of this fanfare and showmanship, we couldn’t help but wonder: Are there marketing opportunities in a city that’s reigniting it’s cultural scene?
* If you go through our ‘Hulls inspired T-shirts‘ post you’ll realise there are quite a few luminaries that have come out of Hull.
Marketing opportunities at Hull City of Culture
The City of Culture title is awarded every four years in an effort to replicate the success of Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008. This is an event that had a positive economic impact in the city. According to the following article in The Guardian, ‘The festival year saw 9.7m visitors to the city, an increase of 34%, and generated £753.8m for the economy’.
This year, Hull is seeing a massive spending of £200m in its infrastructure (£25m of which are going to roads alone) and 30£m are being invested on events.
So far some of the confirmed improvements are:
- Streets and public buildings in the city centre
- The makeover of Humber Street in the old Fruit Market
- A brand new £700,000, 350-seat outdoor theatre in the city’s Central Dry Dock
- A £5.2m refit of the Ferens Gallery
There are 12 million people within a two-hour drive from Hull and with a train that directly connects to London, the potential is there to expose your brand to a VERY large crowd.
Connect with other brands
Join the ranks of mayor brands that are supporting the event like BP, the BBC, KCOM, among others.
Needless to say, these types of occasions attract all kinds of people. With the increase of curious crowds, opportunities to make connexions arise. And remember, just because you’re not part of the official programme it doesn’t mean that you can’t host your own event.
Improve your reputation
Not to say that you have a bad one, that is, but art followers have some of the highest levels of engagements when compared to other niche markets. Nowadays most brand reputation management is done online, but sponsoring cultural acts is still a good way to get someone to look at your business with kinder eyes — specially when the brand hasn’t had the best PR in recent years. *cough* BP *cough*
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list of art galleries in Hull.
Arts are important for society
A friend of mine once told me that people need beauty and fantasy in their lives. By taking part in Hull’s year as City of Culture you’d not only be helping this town shed its bad reputation, but also contributing with the arts which are an integral part of every civilised society. But don’t take my word for it. Go read this piece by Peter Bazalgette for The Guardian on the subject.
One last thought
So, did we convince you? Will you be considering taking your business to Hull, City of Culture? If so, could we persuade you to buy some promotional T-shirts? Picture it, rivers of people wearing your logo through the streets of Hull. If that doesn’t make a statement, then I don’t know what will.
For more information on Hull City of Culture 2017 and its programme, go visit their official website.[geot country=”United Kingdom”][/geot] [geot exclude_country=”United Kingdom”][/geot]
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