As you can imagine, the opportunity to work on a place brand for a traditional British seaside resort was right up our street. The first thing you think of when you hear ‘Bognor Regis’ is probably Butlins – seaside nostalgia, kiss-me-quick’, arcades, fish and chips and family holidays. Our goal in developing the place brand was to celebrate the origins of the town as the UK’s first purpose built seaside holiday destination, and the seaside frolics that UK coastal towns like Bognor have become known for. This story is valuable, it’s emotive, and it’s important to embrace heritage no matter your views on Butlins or Punch and Judy shows – but to build on it and bring new stories in to accompany the existing associations. For example – did you know Bognor Regis is officially the UK’s sunniest town? Did you know it’s designated by NESTA as a ‘high concentration and growth creative cluster’? That it was this locale that inspired William Blake to write about ‘England’s green and pleasant lands’? That the University of Chichester and companies like Rolls Royce continue to invest there, to nurture local talent and create a high concentration of valuable skills?
We went through an in-depth engagement process, hosting a series of workshops, plenty of insightful 1-to-1 conversations and launching a digital survey to gain the views of the residents and university community. We crunched the numbers and ruminated over the stories we were told, and the outcome was a place brand that tells an honest but aspirational new story of Bognor Regis as a place that’s embracing the future as a 21st century coastal town. A place that’s nurturing skills for the future; a place where sea views and coastal panoramas inspire blue-sky thinking and bright ideas and – just as importantly – a place to have a laugh, to go on an adventure and to celebrate all the fun of a British seaside resort. Bognor Regis is becoming a town where you can be a part of an exciting growing digital sector, experience regeneration happening at a large scale and still get a fish supper every Friday – that’s our kind of place.