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Creating a brand for our own town Macclesfield

Client: Macclesfield Town
Macclesfield is the town where we are based, in the county of Cheshire just beneath the Peak District National Park. The town is an old market town and is steeped in history from the days of the Archers to the Silk Industry and onwards to an impressive wealth of pharmaceutical companies such as Astra Zeneca.

Brief: After initial breakfast meetings at Macclesfield Town Hall, organised by the Cheshire East Council and the MP David Rutley, about regeneration schemes that are to happen in the future; there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for the town to get on and do things now to ensure economic sustainability. It was then quickly recognised that to work together and not in silos, a vision and something that would bring cohesion with shared values was needed to enable unification of activities. It was decided that to create a clearly defined brand and a reflective identity would be the vehicle that would initiate moving forwards. The economy and limited budgets, like everywhere, was taking its toll on the Town but passion and local pride was recognised in certain pocket communities that were trying desperately to help to make the town progress. Missing elements were really how to work together as effectively as possible; as too was a common theme, message, place to go... a brand.

Response: We raised our hand at one of the breakfast meetings to express our interest in supporting our community and town by leading the process to develop an identity; working with local businesses and council figure heads. We started the process by inviting 3 focus teams, which were all from the town's key stakeholder groups, to gain feedback to a number of questions we wanted to know the answers to. This gave us a great insight in to the feelings and emotions that people had for the town, what was working, what was not, what was good, what was not so good, places people loved and places others didn't know existed. We also knew we needed to engage at an early stage the broader community, not just to ease adoption of the brand later, but to ensure we got a truly representative amount of research. We ran a large scale campaign, “create a difference”, which involved radio broadcasts, press adverts, web advertising and outdoor activities and promotions that directed people to an online survey where they could express their views. All of the information was collated and taken forwards. The results really helped us to understand our audiences, develop an appropriate vision, core values, a philosophy and clearly establish the differentiators for the town. The creation of the brand and its identity came after 6 months of research, plenty of visits to local attractions, attendance at community groups and predictive analysis of the future. So, in creating the brand and identity we knew a nod to the historic past was always going to play a part but it needed to be developed in a modern creative way. The logo, colour palette, typography, imagery and graphics were all selected specifically following the research we had gathered. The brand was launched to key stakeholders across the town at a VIP event and over a weekend of activities at different venues to include as many community groups as possible. This included a day at the market square, beer festivals, a celebrity football matchand much more. The brand is now owned by the town and is there for all to use. The logo allows everyone to express their creativity by reconstructing and designing the core shapes.

Testimonial: "Vibe have made a huge impact across the town of Macclesfield through the creation of a new brand which captured perfectly the atmosphere, ambition and character of the town. The overall approach they adopted was to ensure a proper research-base but one that reached out to local communities and genuinely engaged with residents. The Vibe team are great to work with and have built strong relationships with stakeholders across the town. The initial work in creation of a brand and identity for Macclesfield has already led to a strong culture and arts scene becoming much more engaged as they can relate to the work that Vibe have done, and as importantly, to the Vibe team."

Website: www.makeitmacclesfield.co.uk

Tags: branding,

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