CT Consults

City of York – Who do you think you are?

Details of historical stone built wall. Developing a new place brand for the City of York.

The challenge

We have recently wrapped up on our biggest place brand project to date with Hemingway Design and For the Love of Place, working with the City of York to identify and develop a distinctive brand narrative for a city which is currently seen as a destination for tourism and heritage but arguably little else.

Large crowd of people sat in groups at round table at a conference, in a period space with high ceilings

Our response

A city-wide engagement process using a combination of workshops, one-to-ones, schools outreach, public access points and a digital survey. Having such a robust evidence base from which to develop the brand meant that developing both political and public buy-in was a straightforward process, allowing HemingwayDesign to develop a brand that truly spoke from the heart of York’s residents and focused on their vision for the future of the city.

As part of the deliverable for this project, we introduced a methodology known as a ‘brand filter’. This is a way of structuring the place narrative that turns it into a usable tool for decision making in practice. The concept is that when any activity is proposed, it is run through the ‘filter’ to be measured against each of the core values, in order to determine to what extent that activity communicates the place narrative.

Kickstarting a new approach

The more successfully a proposed activity can pass through the brand filter, the more it will support the narrative. We are currently in the process of constructing a digital version of the brand filter to produce a publicly-accessible tool for hands-on place brand management.

River with barges moored up on the bank, banks lined by trees
The best response to a survey we can remember.”

Claire Foale, Marketing Director of City of York Council

Major local engagement

6,000 responses to our survey, vast majority from residents

Influencing policy decisions

York has subsequently announced (January 2020) that it intends to become the UK’s first car-free city centre, ending all ‘non-essential’ vehicle journeys inside the ancient city walls within three years.

Place brand online toolkit

Information for all partners to use and embed in their marketing and communications

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