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invites all of the city’s sectors, businesses, communities and individuals to speak up for their city and challenge outdated perceptions”.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 we are indeed the friendliest city in the UK, and one of the most exciting in the world, and not full of outdated stereotypes you might have heard about.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than making our voices sound even louder and, let’s admit it, more annoying to those who already have ridiculously outdated and bigoted views about us.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.

www.itsliverpool.com

Image: Somedriftwood, Flickr

  • Ebbo

    A fine concept but I agree with the point in the article that it needs to be aimed outside of the city. After all we are aware how great the place is but those who still peddle the sterotypes need to be given reasons to challenge their lazy opinions.

    Hopefully with the tags trending on twitter it will make open minded people think about visiting or what have you if only to see what the fuss is about. Unfortunately some will always view Liverpool as work shy, self pitying etc etc but that’s their problem not ours.

  • JG

    Next campaign:

    “It’s Liverpool, bitch”.

  • NT

    I’d have loved a stronger branding for it (I think the ‘it’s flexible, and you can use it however or wherever you like’ is a bit of a cop out), but it’ll be interesting to see how it’s adopted by people. The thing with the 08 logo was it was so striking that people were really keen on implementing it onto their own stuff. This, I’m not so sure about.

    I think it can only be a good thing if it’s pushing the city forward. I’ve seen this type of campaign tried in many cities, so it’s just a case of whether people really latch on to it.

  • stephanie

    My first thought was that it’s wanky PR bullshit that will get forgotten about within 18 months.

    I tried to find out some more on it but they don’t seem to have a website (that you can find from Googling It’s Liverpool, I’m Liverpool) and it either points you to the Echo regurgitating a press pack or to here.

    So it’s poorly promoted wanky PR bullshit.

  • Joe

    INverness, IN Salford. They were similar campaigns. Anyone moved there yet? Let’s not get too cynical yet, but I feel I’ve seen these things before. Proof of pudding will be in five years’ time. But we’re going to need a lot more than snazzy videos and slogans to punch above our weight when we’ve lost so many of the big brands that once had HQs here.

  • admin

    Stephanie – there’s a web link at the bottom of the piece if you want to check out the site. But yeah, it’s not very googleable at the moment though, by the looks of things.

  • http://www.sevenstreets.com David

    I think the lead-off editorial line on the website’s homepage is incorrectly pitched. It’s, once again, dwelling on the past. Not the ideal opener for the message of renewal, a UNESCO site! Great pic of the girls in the rain though.

  • Peter

    Thanks for the comments on the campaign. Clearly it was never going to be easy to convince everyone straight away, but there was a pretty good buzz at the launch yesterday.

    The campaign is essentially about communicating in a different and distinctive way. Most cities are marketing themselves in a very standardised, homogenous way – everwhere is ‘pioneering, passionate etc’, it’s become devalued.

    We wanted to get away from that and use very simple expressions to promote the city as a place to visit, study, start a business etc.

    We didn’t want to dwell on the obvious (football, Beatles, cathedrals), they’re such a well known part of the city that we’d just be telling people what they already know.

    To be effective the idea has to be relevant – not just to the big corporate players whose marketing channels will be vital in telling a different and surprising story about the city – but at a grassroots and underground level. That’s why we’ve included contributions from the Kazimier, Croxteth Lodge, Union North, Smiling Wolf – not the usual suspects!

    Here’s something that Jon Egan (the man behind the campaign) wrote yesterday. It sums up his thinking in a smart, intelligent way.

    http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2011/09/08/it-s-liverpool-i-m-liverpool-campaign-to-reposition-liverpool-as-global-city-92534-29384350/4/

    It would be great to get further feedback over the coming months, don’t think that’ll be a problem somehow!

    Cheers.
    Peter Smith
    Liverpool Vision

  • James

    What’s the difference between the ambitions of the city brand http://www.liverpoolcitybrand.co.uk/index.php and this?

    I prefer the city brand. In particular I like the semi-serifed font used (in the titles, not the ‘Liverpool’ tag line). Thanks to the tube, London has the Johnston font which is immediately recognisable. It might have changed a bit over the years, but if you want to brand something as identified with London it’s pretty easy to give it that feel. The font used for CoC struck me to be perfect for adopting as our city’s official font-face, and something that would have a great deal of longevity. To me, it’s different but not too different, modern and yet also with classical elements so it won’t go out of fashion, while at the same time being effortlessly stylish. If you agree with my view of the font-face, then don’t you think those same keywords also coincidentally very much match something else (ie. Liverpool!)? I also think it’s very recognisable.

    Would it not have been better to stick with one distinctive identifiable brand and carry it forward and develop it? The CoC branding was seen by a lot of people across the country and beyond, so why not make the most of that and follow up with something else they’ll recognise as being from the same stable (ie. Liverpool)?

    As much civic pride as I have, I’m afraid I feel nothing for this new brand.