Rebranding a City: Sheffield’s Outdoor Adventure
Last October, Sheffield’s council gave the city a new name and face, by rebranding it as The Outdoor City. The council hoped to market the city’s scenic routes and local activities to outdoor lovers, adventure travelers, and businesses that specialize in this niche. Since then, the return on that investment has proven phenomenal.
Some of the activities the city marketed include biking routes, woodlands for hikers and runners, and even the Cliffhanger festival for some of the world’s best climbers. But there was more to the marketing campaign than just a name and marketing adventures. The city also hoped to build new talent, improve the standard of living for locals, and then keep new and old talent in Sheffield.
It worked. Here’s how.
Marketing an Experience
The city understood that rather than marketing Sheffield as a city, it needed to market what people can do in Sheffield when they arrive. One look at the website and anyone can see that the activities make up the bulk of the marketing.
The city encourages visitors and locals to “run, walk, climb, ride.” There is also heavy marketing of events and activities, like the Inner-city raving at Sheffield Grand Prix, climbing spots for kids, and great routes for hikers.
Rather than allow other platforms to tell people where to go and how to get there, and what attractions are best, the city provides that information directly. This helps simplify the travel-planning process for adventurers hoping to visit. It also boosts traffic to the website, as an expert in its field.
Sticking with the Slogan
Sheffield takes ‘The Outdoor City’ so seriously that even the URL of the city’s website uses the name. It is also a part of the city’s logo, as well as the name and user handle of their Twitter and Instagram pages. This helps ensure Sheffield is always associated with a love for the outdoors when travelers go searching for new places to visit.
Audiovisual Promotional Content
The city shows its hip side with a promotional video featuring upbeat music, and endorsements from outdoor adventurers. The high-quality video fully illustrates all that Sheffield offers, while intertwining the personal stories of notable residents and visitors.
Some of the highlights included associations with the Tour De France, the fact that more than 50,000 cyclists roam through Sheffield, specialized bike trails for the more seasoned rider, world-renowned climbing, nature preserves and scenic hiking trails, and more than 25 clubs that runners can join.
Former Downhill MTB World Champion Steve Peat, a native of Sheffield, made a special appearance in the video. The video also featured former professional climber, Jerry Moffatt; current professional climber, Steve McClure; and Mina Leslie Wujastyk from the GB Climbing Team.
Peat then closes out the video with the powerful words, “I get to travel all over the world with my job, and I always get excited to come back to Sheffield. It’s got everything. It’s awesome.”
Who wouldn’t want to visit with so much to do, so much to see, and such great endorsements? Sheffield has truly earned its title as the Outdoor City.