Today saw the launch of ‘It’s Liverpool’ – a new initiative helmed by Liverpool Vision, the economic development team for the city. If you’re on Twitter, you might have already seen the apostrophe-snubbing #itsliverpool and accompanying #imliverpool hashtags making their way into your timeline. According to the rather large media pack we got sent this morning, the campaign “aims to communicate and accelerate Liverpool’s renewal, using a radical approach that invites all of the city’s sectors, businesses, communities and individuals to speak up for their city and challenge outdated perceptions”.
If that sounds like a load of press release jargon, you’d be right – basically, it’s a new campaign to tell everyone that Liverpool’s amazing and a great place to work, invest, study and visit. Which it is, obviously. The concept is that anyone can get involved and slap an ‘It’s Liverpool’, or ‘I’m Liverpool’ branding on their website, album sleeve, Facebook profile, parish newsletter, or what have you. It’s a group solidarity exercise, designed to shout loudly that yes! we are indeed the friendliest city in the UK, and one of the most exciting in the world, and not full of outdated stereotypes you might have heard about. So come, invest, plough some cash into the city and grow with us.
So, the idea. We’re all for working together – but we want to drill down a little more to get to the meat. Because, unfortunately, business isn’t about sharing and caring. Ask Lord Sugar. It’s competitive and cut throat and red of claw. It’s about attracting the best people, creating the best jobs and encouraging the best working environment.
So, sure, we should speak as one about why we love Liverpool – but publicly funded initiatives like this can only go so far in attracting hard, private cash. With Media City opening up just down the road, and already signs of some Liverpool creative agencies making the move there, we’ve got to think beyond the ‘Liverpool is great. We love Liverpool’ rhetoric, and start with the business incentives, the tax breaks, cutting the red tape, and the UNESCO fears, and really make the city an attractive place to invest in.
We’d like to know what the aims milestones and targets are. We’d like to know what ‘speaking together as one’ really means – other than making our voices sound even louder and, let’s admit it, more annoying to those who already have ridiculously outdated and bigoted views about us.
Peel and Grosvenor know we’re a great place to do business. And we all know what a cultural powerhouse we are. But branding, presentations and promises are only the start.
It’s crucial that campaigns, directed by those at the top table in the city, engage with the grass roots, too – you know the types, because we cover them often enough. Think the Kazimiers, the Bido Litos, the Samizdats, DoES Liverpool, and the ArtinLiverpools – people in the city who are doing things from the ground up without grants or subsidies being thrown at them. This is the really important part of the city’s DNA, because the likes of The Beatles Story, FACT and Tate all depend on a healthy and creative set of subcultures and organic creativity across the city. They are both just as important as each other, surely?
So what do you reckon to the ‘It’s Liverpool’ and ‘I’m Liverpool’ campaign? Will you be taking part? Do you think it’ll bring some crucial investment, business and tourism into the city? Leave your opinions below.
Image: Somedriftwood, Flickr