The branding of a city


I recently attended an event organised by Insider which focussed on the future of Leeds. It was one of the best attended business events I’ve been to in the city, and was hosted by Opera North at the impressive Grand Theatre.

During the discussions, which will be fully detailed in October’s edition of Insider, I asked a question of the panel about how Leeds could retain its unique character and difference in times of change and growth. Encouragingly, they echoed sentiments we’ve employed over the years to help numerous businesses in times of transition.

The panel, made up of experts in civic, academic and business circles, urged Leeds to celebrate its difference and shout about its unique assets; including its waterfront, green spaces, architecture and the cultural industries. It was noted that Leeds as a city was understated and whilst our friends across the Pennines in Manchester would ‘shout about the opening of a crisp packet’, Leeds was rather more restrained. In truth, this is part of the city’s (and Yorkshire’s) character, but a balance has to be found in order to both celebrate achievements and attract further investment.

But it seems that Leeds is doing very well, thank you very much. Some of the statistics trotted out at the event pointed to the rise of a ‘tech quarter’ and the city generating half of the region’s future job growth. Leeds has evolved massively over the past decade and business has a key role to play in shaping the city’s future success.