Marlborough looks for 'new story'

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Marlborough could get a new brand through the Marlborough District Council's "Smart and Connected" economic development programme.

The brand, which could replace Love Marlborough, would be part of a bigger piece of work called the "Marlborough Story". This "consistent and appealing" story would be used by the region and its sectors to tell the rest of the world what was special about the area.

The council has advertised for people interested in developing the story to a first draft, with expressions of interest closing later this month.

Project co-ordinator Allanah Robinson said there were lots of things people thought about when they thought about Marlborough, including sunshine, the Marlborough Sounds and wine.

The Marlborough Story was an attempt to bring all the different strands of the region together to tell a consistent and appealing story together to portray Marlborough's "distinctive awesomeness" to the world.

The project was after something practical, she said. Not just something to have, but something that would be used.

The project brief says there had been several attempts during the past decade to recreate a regional story and identity, but a unified story or brand had not been widely adopted and the Love Marlborough tagline was used inconsistently.

"Further, Marlborough has undergone a period of substantial change in the past 20 years, resulting in changes to our self-perception and a rich tapestry of story strands."

As part of the Smart and Connected economic development work, the council, the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, Destination Marlborough and the Marlborough Research Centre committed to work together to identify, develop and use a unified story and identity.

Ms Robinson said about 50 people from a cross-section of the community had been involved in a consultative process to identify "what makes Marlborough Marlborough".

That collaborative process had identified what the region's values were, what the messages were and how they made the region, she said.

"It's more than just tourism. Employers want really great, clear, consistent information to help attract people to the region for jobs, too."

Registrations of interest for the project close on January 17, with a shortlist of possible candidates to be drawn up by January 22, and a contract for the project to be awarded by late February.

The draft of the story and potential new brand would be tested with key organisations by late April.

The "Marlborough Story" work ties in with work being done by the Government to tell the "New Zealand Story".

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced a toolkit of resources available through, including key messages, imagery, video, music and guidelines for companies, universities and the public sector to help tell the New Zealand story as it applies to them and their business objective, with the key message describing New Zealand as "Open to the New".

"Our invitation to the world is: "Welcome to the country of open spaces, open hearts and open minds"."

Mr Joyce said the Government envisaged they would help companies gain competitive advantage by building a strong, consistent profile for New Zealand exporters in international markets, he said.

"When New Zealand exporters first go out into the world or visit a new market, they need something which places New Zealand and their business into context.

The Marlborough Express