Yorkshire Business Community Set to Capitalise on Le Tour Effect

T De F

When it was announced that Le Tour was coming to Yorkshire, there were a few sceptics, but it was generally welcomed in a typically Yorkshire fashion. But few could have predicted just what a huge success it would transpire to be.  Craig Harrold, MD of Propaganda, was asked by the Yorkshire Post Business Team to share his thoughts on what the event has meant for brand Yorkshire. Extracts of the below response were published in their quarterly business magazine, Yorkshire Vision, this Tuesday.

Much has been made of the ‘value’ that bringing Le Tour to Yorkshire will have for the region. The often-quoted figure of £100m of worth to the economy predicted a convenient 4:1 return on investment.

The truth is, the ‘value’ the Tour delivers may ultimately be incalculable. When you look at intangible benefits, such as confidence and feelings of goodwill, the only way to fully appreciate this, will be through the wider success of the region.

The misnomer that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ certainly isn’t true, but it’s fair to say the Tour enjoyed more positive coverage across all communications channels than comparable events. The Times even published a full paper wraparound on the Monday, showing an iconic image of the peloton climbing through Haworth – remember – this was on the same weekend as the British Grand Prix and Wimbledon finals. Additionally, over the course of the weekend, #Yorkshire was reportedly mentioned over 150,000 times on Twitter.

In commercial terms, increasingly, brand is listed as a balance sheet asset to a business and the sense of goodwill the Tour will have afforded to businesses with that ‘Yorkshire association’ will mean a great deal.

Yorkshire businesses have been widely parodied over the decades. Just search Google for Harry Enfield’s chauvinistic Yorkshire dinosaur, George Whitebread, or Yorkshire Airways. These outdated stereotypes were firmly cast aside over 48 hours in Yorkshire this summer.

Many of the values traditionally associated with Yorkshire, shone through in the execution of the Grand Départ. The image of a hardworking Yorkshire, independent, proud, perhaps a little stubborn, yet friendly and not afraid to enjoy itself, will translate well for Yorkshire brands. It should also give external audiences trust in our ability to deliver.

The event did challenge many of the outdated misconceptions but also promoted Yorkshire as a forward thinking, energetic place, with a nod to its heritage; proud of its past, but with its sights set firmly on the future.

Ultimately, any brand’s position is based on the space it occupies in the market. Invariably, those brands who don’t know, or understand, their audience, will fail. It’s vital to embrace brand truths and communicate with these well-defined audiences. This is a message businesses can take from the example set by Gary Verity and his team.

The overriding feeling to emerge from the Grand Départ was one of confidence, and this has been translated into business confidence well beyond the tourism sector.

The undoubted success of the occasion and the balance that was struck between a professional and well-executed public event, with the unique character and quirks of Yorkshire, struck just the right notes. The Tour provided a platform to show Yorkshire’s honesty and difference and captured the imagination of those beyond the confines of the White Rose County.