Agenda item


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“Relevant Background Information


      To update Development Committee on progress towards developing a brand for Belfast and the proposed roll-out of the new brand.


Key Issues


      New Belfast Brand


      The process behind the creation of a new brand for Belfast commenced in June 2007 with the appointment of Lloyd Northover, international brand consultants. It was clear at this stage that the formal “Smiley Face” logo developed in 1997 was largely redundant.  Many new logos had been developed on an ad hoc basis which had led to multiple messages being given out about Belfast.  In an increasingly competitive city market it was agreed that the time had come to renew the Belfast brand. 


      Visioning Phase


      At the crucial ‘visioning’ stage all the learnings from Primary Research and work sessions were coalesced into 3 options for a vision for Belfast - the basis of the new Brand – that is both inspiring and authentic, rooted in reality but representing people’s aspirations for the city These options were explored in terms of developing a unique proposition for the city, a set of values and qualities associated with it that people think are important and to be preserved/promoted.


      The distinctiveness, value, credibility and sustainability of these options (for all audiences) were tested through further interviews, steering group and reference group sessions, a Belfast City Councillor briefing session and wider reaching activities including a web based survey and a programme of research for external audiences (from visitor and investor markets). The following proposition is the distillation of the central message which will be conveyed through the brand.




      A unique history and a future full of promise have come together to create a city bursting with energy and optimism. This is Belfast’s moment.


      The time is right for us to create a thriving, vibrant city. Bringing together our strong sense of identity, our resilience and enterprise, and our renowned warmth and wit, we are seizing this opportunity with both hands. Proud of our heritage, we embrace the future to build an even better Belfast, providing a warm welcome For visitors, an attractive, exciting environment For investors and a great place to live.


      This is the core message for the brand, the foundation and framework for further development.


      Creative Development Phase


      This is the current phase in the brand process its main purpose being to create the visuals for future campaigns. Options for the creative visual and verbal expression of the brand will be explored and tested in further presentations and work sessions including steering, reference group and Belfast City Councillor meetings and focus groups with the local community.


      At the same time, the practical implications of the new brand will be thoroughly explored across a broad range of possible physical, cultural and policy manifestations for how the brand will affect people’s real, tangible experience of the city – the ‘brand experience’ that builds over time to help attain the vision of Belfast.


      Tangible outputs of the project will be tools, resources and documentation that enable the successful and effective implementation of the new Belfast City Brand, including:


·         Brand assets (logo, proposition, ‘look and feel’, imagery and verbal identity, etc.)


·         Brand architecture – including using the new brand with existing brands in the city and throughout Northern Ireland


·         Visual branding guidelines


·         Brand Experience documentation and report


·         Illustrated (in pictures and words) possible applications of the branding – web, collateral, ,signage etc


      The creative visuals will be brought to committee for final sign off in March.


      Suggested Timeline of Creative Development Phase


      12 and 13th Feb     Focus Groups presented with creative options.


      26th Feb                  Reference Group (focus Groups with Belfast City Councillors)


      March                      Brand Creative to Committee


      Feb and March       Business/investors breakfasts/internal audiences briefed on brand proposition, vision and visual identity.


      April                         Launch in Belfast Waterfront Hall (tbc)


      Brand Roll Out Phase


      In the short term, the brand roll out phase will take the following shape:





Brand influences the creative visuals of Belfast City Council communications and marketing materials, web, street dressing etc



Brand adoption by key local businesses


Private Sector


Brand adoption by key local media

Press, radio and TV (Belfast based)


Brand adoption by venues, events, festivals


Arts sector

Brand adoption in all tourism marketing and communications



Brand adoption by Belfast retail sector



Brand adoption by Belfast educational organisations



Brand adoption by community organisations



      BVCB have now commenced work on the roll-out of the brand.  A sum of £250,000 has been earmarked in the 07/08 budget to support this process and bring the brand to life.


      It is essential having come this far that we proceed to maximise the value of the branding.  To realise this, and based on good practice elsewhere, it is essential that the Brand launch and rollout is carefully planned.  The budget would cover a number of elements of the brand unveiling:


·         Brand launch event aimed to maximise publicity and interest for brand.  This event is planned for the Waterfront Hall but will also involve other sites throughout the City on the day and following on in the year.  £25,000.00


·         Development of promotional materials which will be designed from the logo.  It is essential that the logo lends itself to marketing which in turn can produce its own income stream through sales in a number of venues across the City.  £15,000.00


·         The inclusion of the logo in all materials and networks where it can be placed.  This includes Council controlled publications and events, and BVCB/BCCM channels.  We are currently seeking further endorsements and use of the logo through wider channels in business, retail, education, the community and other sectors.  £25,000.00


·         The production of 2 new advertisements aimed primarily at the tourism market for use over the next year and beyond.  It is intended that these advertisements will set new standards for the promotion of Belfast and so require higher funding than has been normal.  £130,000.00


·         Showcase promo for use in promotional and information work with citizens aimed to instil pride and give information on what the City has to offer.  £25,000.00


·         Showcase promo for use with business/investment sector detailing the new Belfast and the advantages of development/investment in the City.  £25,000.00


·         General DVD for distribution.  £10,000.00


      Should the next stage be successful and the Committee, and subsequently Council, approve the new logo then a real opportunity for impact would be to have the launch scheduled in late April just prior to the US International Conference in May 2008.


      The logo itself will attract interest and it is likely that additional funding both direct in kink may be attracted from a number of sources in relation to wider impact.  Discussions are taking place with a wide range of sectors and organisations on this matter.


Resource Implications




      £250,000 (already within budget).




      Members are asked:


·         note progress of process;


·         approve funding as outlined for brand of £250k; and


·         agree in principle to the launch of new brand at end of April 2008.”


            During discussion in the matter, several Members indicated that, if the Department wished to launch the new Brand image prior to the US International Conference in May, it would be essential that it had the support of all Members of the Council.


            In response, the Director of Development indicated that all Members of Council would be invited to the Branding Reference Group meeting due to be held on 26th February at which the final Brand would be selected.  In addition, she undertook to hold briefings for the various Party Groupings represented on the Council.  In answer to a Member’s question, she informed the Committee that, to date, £150,000 had been spent on meetings of the Branding Reference Group and she was seeking approval to incur expenditure of £250,000 in connection with the launch of the Brand image.


            After further discussion, the Committee noted the information which had been provided by the Director, agreed that an amount of £250,000 be set aside in connection with the launch activities for the new Brand and agreed, in principal, to it being launched at the end of April in the Belfast Waterfront Hall.


Supporting documents: