In a joint venture Preston City Council (PCC), Preston Partnership and The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have launched the consultation and research project with a call for agencies to come forward to tender for the project - although a budget for the project has not yet been announced.
Coun Peter Moss, deputy leader and cabinet member for Planning and Resources at Preston City Council, said: “We feel very strongly that working with partners to collectively promote the city is vital, but that it will only ever be successful with an authentic voice.
“That requires extensive consultation and engagement with a wide range of individuals, businesses and community groups.
“While there has been some branding work done a number of years ago, the city is changing dramatically and we believe that the time is right for a fresh, joined-up approach.”
He added: “We are thrilled to be working with the University of Central Lancashire and Preston Partnership on this key piece of work, looking to establish an understanding of common themes for points of pride, sense of place and shared identity.”
UCLan is now inviting agencies to bid to lead the consultation.
Mark Whittle, manager of Preston Business Improvement District, told the Post he looked forward to contributing to the consulation to help develop a brand for Preston.
He said: “If you ask residents what Preston means to them, there’ll be many different answers.
“While the city has lots of positives it could be perceived as lacking a recognisable identity.
“We welcome the call from the city council and UCLan to undertake research leading to the formulation of ‘brand Preston’ we very much look forward to sharing our ideas on behalf of the business community.
“I would encourage any company who can effectively undertake the consultation work to submit a bid, it would be great to see this piece of work awarded to a local company.
“Preston is a great place to live and work and we would welcome continued investment. We need to ensure our positioning of the city is clear and targeted to the right audience to encourage industry to locate here.”
A report outlining the project brief says: “It is an exciting time to be a Prestonian, whether you were born here or have adopted the city as your home.
“In order for Preston to harness that excitement and growing sense of optimism for the future, it is essential to develop a collective identity and distinct narrative for Preston that reflects the city’s heritage, character, growing population, businesses and ambition.
“Preston is home to a number of market leaders, innovators and excellence but in many respects fails to present a coherent message, strong identity or clear sense of economic purpose.
“While needing to engage with key projects, ambitions and narratives of the wider area and county, Preston also needs to be able to confidently position itself, both regionally and nationally.”
It continues: “As a thriving city and key urban location for Lancashire, Preston has a growing reputation as a key shopping destination for the county, with a wide range of family friendly activities, vibrant events programme and ever-expanding cultural offer.
“There is an increasing need for the city to better understand its visitor economy and how best to represent its assets.
“In order to develop a strategic marketing proposition for Preston, an initial process of consultation and research is necessary in order to ensure that the end result is authentic and collaborative, reflecting key themes of culture, business, education and development.”
• Proposals must be submitted by Friday, September 13 at 6pm.
• The shortlisting week commences September 16 .
• Presentations to panel take place the week commencing September 30
• Agency expected to be appointed early October
• Submit proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org