Spring’s strategy was to develop a brand with a strong narrative supported by bespoke delivery tools and a managed programme of engagement. The core message is the East has been the home of world-class culture for centuries and visitors to the region are greeted by internationally significant arts and heritage. 50 organisations were selected to feed into the brand development, communications and deployment of the brand, which over the course of the project created a virtuous circle of collaboration and impact.
The proposition was tested with partner organisations, activity planned around key points in the calendar and a KPI of increasing the number of cultural tourists by 10% every year in 2016 and 2017 was identified.
Spring created the Look Sideways East brand identity to allow partner organisations to be associated with the region’s arts offerings. The word EAST is represented vertically in block lettering with the ‘T’ encouraging the audience to ‘Look Sideways’, not just to discover East Anglia but to get a more immersive and cutting-edge cultural experience. As a brand designed to underpin the values of our regional assets, this identity is confidently pared back and designed to fit neatly in the bottom right hand side of collateral. We chose a colour palette that is, on one hand, bold and punchy, on the other subtle so project partners can select a colour to complement their own materials.
Tailored messages were developed for each audience segment and partner marketing communications channels were identified for their distribution. We devised a range of supporting tools including key messages, brand guidelines, templates, workshops, and on-line events planning tool to encourage branded messaging through digital channels. Digital channels were further leveraged through Culture365. For 365 days, Spring shared an image of culture or place from the region through brand and partner websites, Pinterest and Instagram. Each image directed readers to a cultural and tourism partner, adding value for both.
For both years of the Look Sideways-East cultural tourism project, we created a season highlights handout for distribution through tourism stands. Our approach was to create print that was inspirational, innovative and communicated the quality (often unexpected) cultural offer from the region.
In year one, we took a calendar-lead approach and – based on our insights to the responses that created – in year two, we developed three specific themes and gave each a dedicated section to appeal to different audiences.
This format included an innovative concertina-fold no Springer or project stakeholder had seen elsewhere and ensured that that, as more cultural highlights were announced throughout the year, the Look Sideways project could support them in reaching new audiences outside the region.
We distributed it on the ground in Norfolk and Suffolk, and working with partnership networks across Kent, Cambridgeshire, Essex, the East Midlands and London (areas all rich in our cultural tourist target audience) to spread the word as widely as possible.
This activity was supported by targeted digital advertising across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Display Network to remind audiences of the cultural life of the region across multiple touch-points.