We’ve been privileged to have been working on a really interesting marketing project in conjunction with Colliers International, Placematters and Location Connections for the Cork region, which was commissioned by some of the key stakeholders.
Destination branding is something all cities and regions must now consider as they must market themselves in a clear, concise and consistent way to all target audiences they wish to attract. How a region markets itself must be believable and true so that the actual experience matches the reality.
As part of this marketing process you must first understand what the offering is, decide what parts of this offering are attractive to relevant target audiences and then package this offering in a clear brand description for the region.
All the subsequent marketing of the region should be consistent by all stakeholders so that maximum return on investment is achieved and that target audiences develop a clear understanding of the unique offer from that destination.
As part of the research work we conducted about the Cork region we discovered that many people are attracted to the size of Cork, “it’s not too big and not too small“, they love how quickly you can get from the city to the country, they love the nearby coastline and they also love the friendliness, humour and warmth of the people.
It is easy to understand the physical attributes of the region but the people dimension is one that is more difficult to pinpoint.
Is it really true that Cork is a friendly city just as the Lonely Planet Guide declared in it’s Top 10 List of cities to visit? The guide praises the city saying ‘Cork is at the top of its game right now: sophisticated, vibrant and diverse, while still retaining its friendliness, relaxed charm and quick-fire wit.‘
How can you explain this friendliness?
Do Corkonians really have this special “friendly” gene in their unique DNA?
In our research in Cork we conducted questionnaires with many foreigners working in the Cork region and they consistently told us how they had no intention of staying initially but this is now home and they would not be leaving. Cork is great fun and the people are very “friendly“.
As much as this proud Corkman would like to think people from Cork do not have a special gene, no more so than people from any other part of Ireland.
If it’s not a special gene then why do we behave in such a manner?
- In Cork you can enjoy a good career with small SME’s or with large multinationals without the big commute.
- You and your children can receive a great education right on your doorstep
- You can enjoy a vibrant and friendly city where strangers still chat to each other that is easy to access
- It’s a relatively safe place to live, visit or go to college
- You can be in the country or walking on a beach within half an hour
- You can enjoy a lively, entertaining, art loving, multicultural place where independents can still thrive
- The food and entertainment offering is diverse and top class
- You are connected to the world and major city hubs via an airport that is 10 minutes from the city centre.
- On the very practical side of things Cork is a significantly cheaper place to live than Dublin and a more economical place to do business.
While the career opportunities aren’t as great as in Dublin or London, an internet world makes this less of a problem and the overall sense of well-being from an exceptionally better life balance makes the Cork region a very clever place for people to choose to live their lives.
So why are people from Cork friendlier, warmer and wittier?
Maybe this ideal sized region with an abundance of natural attributes just makes us happier?