To consider a briefing note on the City Identity and Marketing for the City of Wolverhampton.
The Head of Enterprise introduced a briefing note on City Identity and Marketing for the City of Wolverhampton. She gave a PowerPoint presentation on the subject, the slides of which are attached to the signed minutes.
A Member of the Panel commented that during the Wolves in Wolves Project, many people had wanted to buy a souvenir with a city theme but had been unable to do so. She asked if the Council intended to do some merchandising, citing examples such as fridge magnets and mugs. She felt the shop in the Art Gallery had a poor offering of goods with a City link. She also felt the City did not celebrate its history enough including its sculptures, blue plaques and buildings of architectural significance. She would also be pleased to see more local businesses taking part in the food festival. An area which she thought the City could improve was in the offering of informative walks and talks. It was important to celebrate the positives of Wolverhampton.
The Head of Enterprise remarked that she took on board the comments made by the Member. There was an offer for local independent traders to be part of the Food Festival as part of the arrangement with the promoter. The Offer had been made on each occasion in the last three years. 25,000 people had visited the Food Festival in 2019 over the two days, which had been a ticketed event for the first time. The key point was to ensure people visited Wolverhampton again. Some pin badges with a Wolverhampton theme had been created.
A Panel Member asked if there was a mechanism city wide to capture footfall. The Head of Enterprise responded that the City centre BID (Business Improvement District) had two static counters. There were new technologies coming into place which would help monitor football in the future. An in-depth piece of work with investment would be required to assess how to best utilise the new technology available to capture footfall data. She had been in discussions with the Director for Communications about using new technologies to capture footfall data.
A Member stated that next year was the 25th anniversary of Fair Trade and hoped the Council would make best use of the anniversary at some of its events.
The Head of Enterprise remarked that the Director of Communications was working with the Head of Business Services on a five-year strategy plan to look at the various food and drink events to be held in the City Centre. It was important to note that the City was hoping to attract people through the Commonwealth games being held in the West Midlands and Coventry having UK City of Culture status in 2021.
A Member of the Panel asked if the Council had benefited from the Mipim (Real estate market event) held in Cannes, France. The Director for Regeneration responded that the Brewers Yard Development (Approximately -1300 new homes development) came about following a conversation at Mipim. The ongoing discussions with a major hotel chain had also originated from a conversation at Mipim. It was the one opportunity to be able to engage with investors, developers and agents in one place at a particular time each year. It also helped to put Wolverhampton on the international stage.
The Chair reminded Members that there would be a report on Inward Investment at the first meeting of the Panel in the New Year, the item was already logged on the Panel’s Work Programme.
A Panel Member stated that Wolverhampton had a brilliant heritage which should be maximised for the benefit of the City, including the opportunities of tourism. He asked what the Council could do to help the volunteers in the City. The Chair commented that Scrutiny Board would look at volunteering as an item in the future.
The Chair asked for information, via a paper to the Scrutiny Panel in the near future, on how the Council monitored what it was already doing to sell Wolverhampton and how that monitoring affected the Council’s future strategic objectives around marketing. She wanted to see actual numbers and what qualitative and quantitative models the Council would be using. She also wanted to know the effect of the marketing video which had been viewed during the item. She asked for the future paper to include information on who had seen the video, it’s ultimate purpose and what feedback had been received.
Resolved: To receive a further report on City Identity and Marketing for the City of Wolverhampton in six months’ time to make an assessment of progress.