Last year, UP launched a place branding webinar series called Place Branding Question Time, which features frank, candid responses from experts and thought leaders in place branding to burning questions submitted by audience participants. Here, we offer an interview with one of the panelists and the host of our upcoming webinar, Chris Brown, Director of Marketing Liverpool.
A view from Liverpool
After living outside the region for several years, Chris Brown returned to Liverpool in 2013 to establish Marketing Liverpool and to develop the city as a first-class destination for visitors, investors and students. He works closely with the city’s key partners to promote the Liverpool brand nationally and internationally. We asked for his thoughts on the impact Brexit is having on UK inward investment, and on Liverpool specifically.
1. I only know three things about Liverpool: The Beatles, Anfield, and the port. If Liverpool were a person, how would you describe her?
One of the huge assets of the city is its people – they are naturally welcoming and friendly and extremely proud of their city. When you combine that passion with a very innovative and creative set of instincts you have a city that never stands still and is always looking for the next big idea.
Meet Liverpool: watch the video
2. What do you feel the impact of Brexit is on both the brand of GREAT BRITAIN and your own city brand?
The whole Brexit debate and discussions over the last few years have been very difficult and quite acrimonious and that has definitely impacted the UK brand. But not so much Liverpool, as we are a city that has always been outward facing and our international brand positioning has been higher and more positive than our domestic one. Now that Brexit is done, we can begin as a country and a city to define what our new relationship with the rest of the EU will be. Liverpool will be very proactive in making it known that we want to continue to be seen as a place that will welcome people from across the globe.
Join us for a place branding webinar
Hear more from Liverpool and several other place branding experts from across Europe at the upcoming webinar, Place Branding Question Time: Trading places: the view from port cities after Brexit.
3. EU countries are targeting UK businesses to lure them out of the UK to Europe. How are you responding to this? Are you adjusting your place brand strategy?
We are aware of the inevitable fact that there will be opportunities and challenges when it comes to businesses making decisions about where best to operate from. At both a national and a city level we know that we will have to work hard to make sure we are competitive and offer appropriate incentives and reasons as to why the UK and Liverpool is a great place to be. The recent announcement that Liverpool will be granted freeport status is one good example of decisions being taken that will help us retain and attract new business.
4. A sharp change in trading terms between the UK and the EU has taken place in the midst of a global pandemic. How do you help local businesses deal with both the pandemic as well as changes in import and export rules?
If we had not had the pandemic, then the adaption to these new ways of doing business would be at the forefront of all our minds. So for us, it is vital that we make sure that our recovery plans fully integrate with the challenges that these new trading terms present. Working with our local partners, we have already started the process of providing help and advice for businesses who rely on import and export to make sure that they are fully supported during this transition. And in doing that make sure that we provide clarity about the changes that are sometimes either misunderstood or are incorrect.
5. Free movement of people between the UK and the EU has ended. Are EU nationals staying in Liverpool or eager to move back to their home country? What does the city of Liverpool do to ensure that EU nationals still feel welcome?
As part of our three-tier approach to communicating our new relationship with the EU, we have focused on providing a very strong message to all EU nationals who have made Liverpool their home that we want them to stay and we will help them with any issues they may have about attaining their settled status. This is really important to us as the vibrancy and the energy of the city is because of the diversity of our population and the cultural benefits that brings.
6. How do you see Liverpool’s future? Will Liverpool be more isolated than before due to Brexit?
We are very confident about Liverpool’s future. Before the pandemic we had over £2 billion of investment lined up. Although the pandemic has halted that, it’s not gone away and we believe that it will be delivered. We remain very ambitious and upbeat – we as city have made huge strides particularly within the health and life sciences sector where we have a cluster of world-class institutions such as the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. So the outlook for that sector is very promising and is supported by Liverpool leading the country on many of the health initiatives undertaken throughout the pandemic. We do not, therefore, feel in any way that we will be in danger of being isolated by Brexit. We did not, as city, vote for it, but we respect the result. As a city, we will ensure we maximize the opportunities the changes will present and handle the challenges with equal enthusiasm.
Place Branding Question Time webinar
Colin Sinclair, CEO, Knowledge Quarter Liverpool and CEO, Sciontec Liverpool, will be a panelist in the upcoming Place Branding Question Time on March 25 at 3pm CET.
About Marketing Liverpool
We are the city’s destination marketing organisation (DMO) and promote the city region as a global destination for visitors, conventions and investment. The company was established in 2013 and is a division of Liverpool City Council. It is responsible for communicating the city’s brand positively and imaginatively to local, national and global audiences. We work with our partners in business, cultural organisations, educational institutions and community groups to promote the city as a place to live, work, visit, invest and study.
Marketing Liverpool has an impressive track record in attracting major conferences and events, increasing the number of visitors and improving Liverpool’s reputation as a leading UK business destination.