Plymouth's Ocean City brand 'must be more than words'
PLYMOUTH'S new branding as 'Britain's Ocean City' needs investment to work, says a city business leader.
David Parlby, chief executive of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, said he wanted a commitment from the city to put resources behind the new branding, which was unveiled by council leader Tudor Evans on Tuesday.
In an announcement that took many observers by surprise, Cllr Evans told an audience of architects, developers and business people: "I have ordered big signs for the A38 – 'Welcome to Plymouth, Britain's Ocean City'."
Last month the city ditched its slogan Positively Plymouth. Mr Parlby said yesterday: "Positively Plymouth was a slogan and a template for marketing and unfortunately it never happened. The Chamber's sense was that not enough financial and human resources were committed to it.
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"What we at the Chamber want to see is a commitment to make sure the new brand is rolled out and marketed.
"It doesn't matter what brand you have – if it's just sitting around and nothing is happening to it, then it is not fulfilling its purpose."
City historian Chris Robinson welcomed the new branding as a sign that Plymouth was at last thinking big. He said proposed alternatives such as 'Britain's Marine City' missed the mark. "That could be understood as the Royal Marines city, or the marine technology city. It doesn't say 'big', it just says 'worthy'."
The old 'Positively Plymouth' slogan was "just weak", he said.
"Plymouth needs to shout a bit more about itself, to say 'Hey, look. We're Britain's Ocean City.
"To me the English Channel is part of the Atlantic."
Mr Robinson said he suspected the new A38 signs announced by Cllr Evans would be five-metre-high images of Smeaton's Tower.
Stephen Redfarn, a leading businessman and former chief executive of Westcountry Television, said: "Plymouth has to become more of a global city, as it did with the America's Cup World Series in 2011.
"If the council has chosen this brand we all need to get behind it. It won't do us any good to be seen to have a public squabble. It just makes us look small-minded."
A council spokesman said the branding celebrated Plymouth's seafaring and maritime heritage as well as its future aspirations on the global stage.
Britain's Ocean City would help promote Plymouth on a bigger scale and ensure strong and consistent messages linking a wide range of marketing, public relations and events.
He said it reflected Plymouth's history of global seafaring and its role as a centre for marine industries, the Royal Navy, excellence in marine industry and sciences, and an annual events calendar that includes some of the world's great yachting events.
Cllr Evans said: "I am really excited about the opportunities that this will help create. This is about Plymouth showing greater confidence in who we are and really raising our national and international profile. It's strong, it's confident and it's a fact."
The branding was done by a team led by consultant Peter Jones.
Fastnet race returns to the city – Page 7