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Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Pride In Place: Incorporating the North East in your marketing

How often have you heard it said that the world is getting smaller?

Modern technology and 24/7 communication can sometimes make it feel like everyone is talking about the same things at the same time to the same people.

As a result, it can be pretty tough to stand out and make your brand heard above the noise.

One way to do this is to think local.

This is particularly the case when your brand or your business has its roots in a region as proud and distinctive as North East England.

Incorporating local themes and elements into your marketing activities can create a powerful connection – and not just with audiences in your immediate area.

Here we look at how and why weaving a local flavour into your marketing strategy can be a game-changer.

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Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne

Understanding the North East’s unique identity

From the Tweed in the North to the Tees in the South, North East England really is like no other place in the world.

Spectacular landscapes, a rich and long history, cultural treasures, unique dialects and accents and the friendliest welcome you’re ever likely to get: the region’s got the lot.

There’s little wonder the North East was recently chosen by Government to be the first ever Destination Development Partnership, getting multi-million pound funding to help boost the visitor economy across the region.

There is a cohesion, a common understanding and a common commitment to make the best of things in the North East and to take the region forward.

However, local pride is one thing – but why and how should you harness that for your marketing needs?

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Roseberry Topping, Middlesbrough

The Why: building connections with your audience

1. Cultural Resonance

Utilising local themes in your marketing allows you to connect on a deeper, more personal level with your audience. People from the North East are fiercely proud of their heritage, and seeing their culture and landmarks reflected in marketing materials can foster a sense of loyalty and trust. And for those not lucky enough to come from the region, they get introduced to some truly spectacular things.

 

2. Differentiation

In a crowded marketplace, standing out is crucial. By highlighting the North East’s unique aspects, you not only differentiate your brand but also attract customers who value regional identity and authenticity. This doesn’t just mean audiences from within the region: handled in the right manner, marketing with a distinctive local accent can really cut through with people who have never even visited the region.

 

3. Community Engagement

Showcasing local elements can enhance community spirit and engagement. It signals that your brand is not just another outsider but a part of the local fabric, contributing to and celebrating the community’s uniqueness. Again, the ability to demonstrate strong roots in a local community is an attractive quality for potential customers from right across the world.

So there are some reasons why incorporating the North East into your marketing efforts can pay dividends – but how can you go about it?

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Souter Lighthouse, South Tyneside

The How: integrating local themes

1. Landmarks and Heritage

The iconography of North East England is a marketer’s dream. The Tyne Bridge, Durham Cathedral, Bamburgh Castle, Hadrian’s Wall, the Angel of the North, the Transporter Bridge: most places would kill for just one of these, but the North East has them all and more.

They’re not just visually striking but they are also deeply embedded in the local – and national - psyche. Just think about the outcry which followed the felling of the ‘Sycamore Gap’ tree on Hadrian’s Wall in September 2023: the event attracted headlines across the country and around the world.

Our rich landmarks and heritage are there for all: use them!

 

2. Local Festivals and Traditions

The North East is home to numerous festivals and traditions, from the Durham Miners' Gala to the Great North Run. Aligning your marketing calendar with these events and integrating their themes into your campaigns can demonstrate your understanding for local traditions, enhance the relevance of your offering and enable you to use some of the events’ cultural and media ‘pull’ to boost your profile.

 

3. Dialect and Language

Shy bairns get nowt!

The richness and variety of dialect and language in the North East, from Northumberland down to Teesside, lends itself well to all manner of marketing activities.

Used in the right way, it can help establish your credentials with local audiences and make your message more relatable and more authentic.

Careful and judicious use of dialect and language can also resonate with national audiences – just don’t fall foul of making your message too impenetrable to non-locals or too patronising to those born and raised in the region.

 

4. Local Heroes and Stories

We love and revere our heroes in the North East, whether historical or contemporary.

Sharing the stories of some of these fantastic figures and incorporating them into your marketing campaigns can boost your brand’s local appeal and national profile.

Working with some of the region’s contemporary stars can have a similar impact – here at Cool Blue, we’ve worked with the likes of TV presenter and architect George Clarke on campaigns to give an authentic North East flavour with national presence.

Or you could create your own North East hero by telling the story of your brand, the people behind it and how the region has shaped what you do.

 

5. Natural Beauty and Outdoor Life

The North East’s stunning landscapes – from the serene Northumberland National Park to the dramatic coastlines of Bamburgh and Tynemouth – offer a rich visual palette.

Try using imagery of these scenic spots to convey messages of adventure, tranquility, or natural beauty in your marketing materials.

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Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland

North East marketing in action

So that’s the theory, how does it work in practice?

Here are some examples of how we have helped businesses and organisations give their marketing a distinctive North East flavour.

1. Riverside Sunderland

Riverside Sunderland is a £1 billion regeneration project that is transforming the riverside of Sunderland city centre. The project will create 1,000 new homes, 1 million square feet of office space, and a new public realm with parks, green spaces, and cultural attractions.

Cool Blue was chosen by Sunderland City Council to create a place brand and marketing strategy, to bring Riverside Sunderland closer to the people of the city and highlight the opportunities the project holds for a range of different audiences, making it an incredible place to live, work and enjoy.

Find out how we did this by clicking here.

 

2. Tyne To Get Back to Business

The business events and meetings sector was worth £150m a year to the Newcastle and Gateshead economy – until Covid hit.

We worked with the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and the national Meetings Industry Association on a campaign designed to encourage business visitors from around the country and across the world to enjoy all that Newcastle and Gateshead have to offer.

‘Tyne To Get Back to Business’ focused on the unique attractions of the area and its people, communicating that to national and international audiences.

Find out about the campaign – and its amazing results – by clicking here.

 

3. The North East Ambulance Service

A vital part of the North East’s healthcare sector, the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) provides ambulance services right across the region.

Recognising the need to attract top talent – from within the North East and from across the country - NEAS partnered with us to streamline their recruitment process and launch an impactful campaign to bring on board more people to their life-saving team.

Our campaign included elements outlining the advantages of relocating to the North East from outside the region and examples of how firmly rooted NEAS is in every aspect of life here.

Find out more about the campaign and how it was received by clicking here.

 

Think local, act global

Incorporating local elements into your marketing can deliver huge dividends, no matter how broad your audience can be.

To find out how we can help create canny campaigns that really cut the mustard, get in touch.

Like what you see?

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Barker and Stonehouse: A Story of SustainabilityA sustainable approach to furniture retail.

Grainger MarketEnhancing Newcastle’s Bustling Grade I Traders Market.

Anglo American:Powering cyber security.

Teesside UniversityCelebrating the Tees Valley digital community.

ProtiumStakeholder communications and engagement strategy.

Banks HomesCreating a unique brand identity for the new-to-market luxury housebuilder.

North P&I:160 years of incredible maritime history.

Middlesbrough College:Finding brand purpose for a dynamic educator.

Sleepeezee:Everything's easy when you Sleepeezee.

North East England Chamber of CommerceGiving businesses their say in skills provision.

Ercol:A moment of pride in ercol’s history.

Newcastle Helix:Our City’s Drive Towards Net Zero.

Story Homes:A new chapter for this thriving residential developer.

Stephenson WorksA welcoming and generous spirit.

NewcastleGateshead Quays:A quay moment for NewcastleGateshead.

TeesAMP:Making it in Middlesbrough.

NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau:Tyne to get back to business.

Tees Valley Combined Authority:Encouraging staycations in Tees Valley.

Siglion:Bringing some vitamin sea to Seaburn.

North East Ambulance Service:A global pandemic.

Thirteen Homes:How do you want to live?

herdysleep:A first of its kind for the bed-in-a-box market.

Libra Interiors:Connecting consumers in a new way.

Tees Valley Combined Authority:Tees Valley Mayoral Election Campaign.

Animex:A virtual event bringing the brightest of minds together.

Imagine. Create. EGGER:Launch of a new product range for this global manufacturer

Finchale Group:A dynamic rebrand for the leading employment charity.

Duresta:A brave and bohemian collaboration.

South Tyneside Council:Recognising local community heroes.

Fusion:Healthy in the Heart of the City.

UK Land EstatesBuildings for Business.

Merit HoldingsA world leading engineering company.

Harrogate Spring Water:Continuing to make a difference.

Barker and Stonehouse:Say hello to Mr Clarke.

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Cool Blue is a full-service agency that drives brands forwards. Our ideas and innovations are always conducted with purpose. Delivering solutions that combat specific challenges and provide results. Our strategic expertise offer a valuable service to every one of our clients, helping them achieve their goals.

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