Does Salisbury lack an identity?

identity-crisis-for-salisburySalisbury has a brilliant business community; entrepreneurs and independent business owners with oodles of enterprise. Every day, these business owners put up a resilient & successful fight against the economic downturn and the seemingly ever-increasing list of things working against their existence. Parking charges, online shopping and rent increases to name a few. There has been plenty of debate about all those issues and I’m not going to go into all that because that’s not my expertise. But when it comes to marketing and branding, that’s where I believe we (and by ‘we’ I mean Salisbury) have a lot to learn.

Recently I had a friend visit me from Bristol and we started discussing this very subject. “Salisbury needs something like the Bristol pound” he said. “What do you mean?” I asked. He explained that the Bristol pound is a currency that can only be used in Bristol. It’s aimed at supporting the Bristol business community by encouraging customers to buy local. In return, customers get to feel all warm and fuzzy inside (having supported a local business) and they get preferential prices compared to customers that spend GBP.

Bristol is also a happening city with a colourful brand. This is not accidental. They’ve worked hard at instilling a sense of pride – pride of being a Bristolian. In Bristol, there’s an entire street dedicated to independent businesses. A truly remarkable achievement that many Bristolians are extremely proud of.

I’m not saying that what’s happening in Bristol is even achievable for Salisbury, but if we’re to keep our local businesses alive, we need to create a local community and motivate the local people to feel part of it. Yes we need to address parking charges and everything else. But we also need a brand identity and an intelligent marketing plan for this great city of ours.

Steve Landon, Landon Marketing and Design.