Think about these questions : How does your place create noise to raise its profile? Does it depend on your audience? Is it strategically planned or does it just happen? Does it matter if the noise is created top down or bottom up?
Now let me tell you two stories. The first is top down noise making, the second is bottom up noise making:
The first is an example of strategic top down noise making…
Carlisle is in the process of developing St Cuthberts Garden Village a large development of up to 10,000 houses, school and work places. This will be a significant addition to a city of around 107,000 residents and is part of the Governments Garden Towns & Villages Programme. The development aims to raise Carlisle’s housing stock and so the council has worked hard to raise our profile with regional and national house builders. As part of the Local Plan it is strategically led by the council. The success of this project will lead to a significant rise in the city’s population and raise our profile with city designers across the country.
This is a prime example of a large expensive project raising the profile of a city and is an important tactical game that all local authorities have to play. This form of noise requires careful planning and strategic cooperation across the public and private sector.
The second is an example of ‘just do it’ bottom up noise making…
A small group of Cumbrian food producers regularly attended the Farmshop & Deli Show at the NEC which is possibly the largest trade food and drink show in the UK. They always booked their stands separately and were dispersed across the trade show, this year a couple of them (Lisa and Maria) got together and decided it would be really good to have a Cumbrian pavillion just like the Welsh and the Scottish ones. So they booked a large space for up to 16 businesses including some shared space for businesses new to the trade show.
Lisa of Ginger Bakers and Maria of Hawkshead Relish then approached Jacqui of Thomas Jardine & Co and Sue of the Fambiznet to help them create a pavilion and fill the other 10 or so spaces. So in July the noise for ‘this is Cumbria’ started with radio interviews, press releases and hits over the social media world. The big noise will happen when the pavillion appears at the NEC next April.
This is a fine example of a project created by a business need in a place , supported by other businesses in that place. This is Cumbria will grow into something that makes a noise about its place disproportionately to the size of its originators.
Why the two examples? Both examples are heard both in the place and also importantly outside the place by potential residents or businesses.The first is one that naturally gets the attention of planners, city builders and national bodies and definitely makes a noise in these arenas. The second is typical of sector specific but place based noise makers. Their noise is heard across their sector but not always by their local planners or city builders.
Let’s all make an effort to hear and harness our local noise wherever it starts from and in so doing encourage more noise about our places.