CT Consults

It’s not all about ceramics

Man covered in plaster, wiping hands on large sculpture and crowd watching in background. Stoke's heritage and tourism organisations come together.

The challenge

Stoke-on-Trent is known the world over as a capital of ceramics and it is still the home of UK ceramics with thousands still working in the industry across the city. However it was not recognised as a cultural destination with a contemporary cultural as well as a significant heritage offer, despite some flagship attractions.

The cultural, heritage and tourism organisations did not regularly work collaboratively and lacked detailed knowledge about the wider visitor offer in the city, beyond ceramics.

Formal garden with topiary and planted flower bed

Our response

We supported Stoke-on-Trent in its successful funding bid to become one of the Arts Council England funded Cultural Destinations which created a new public/private sector consortia of arts, heritage and tourism organisations.

Over the three years of the funded programme we also worked closely with all the consortia partners to improve their individual and collective digital marketing activity and online visitor engagement to create measurable results. We first conducted a preliminary survey of digital assets — including websites, social and email communications, and Google Analytics data — belonging to some 24 cultural attractions and tourism organisations. We then created a bespoke digital optimisation programme that included digital skills training, digital partner marketing, visitor information, measurement and reporting.


Kickstarting a new approach

Embedding new ways of collaborative marketing across the city and in particular foregrounding the cultural offer within the city’s tourism marketing, and raising the profile of culture with city stakeholders.

Old red bricked factory building, with tall chimney next to a river
The partnership recognised a need for dedicated coordination... with knowledge of the cultural and tourism sectors, expertise in building and managing partnerships and delivering multi-faceted projects. Due to the importance of this programme [we] brought in... cultural tourism experts CTConsults.”

Paul Williams, Chair, Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Destinations


One of the outputs was - My Stoke Story - a social media public engagement campaign inviting visitors to share their experiences of cultural venues, events and tourist attractions under a single umbrella campaign, resulting in increased partner referrals to partner websites.

Major events

When Middleport Pottery was chosen as one of the host locations for the 14-18NOW Poppies:Weeping Window installation in 2018, we worked with the consortia to deliver an integrated off and online marketing campaign to promote the city's wider visitor offer, for locals as well as visitors.

Changing perceptions

The consortia supported the city's major event - British Ceramics Biennial - to bring journalists to the city to not only promote the festival, but also the wider city offer resulting in features in national publications.

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