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Branding giants seek business views on town's 'DNA'

One of the best-known branding and design agencies is seeking Middlesbrough’s ‘DNA’ to create a place brand for the town.

And they’d like the views of the business community on what makes the town tick for entrepreneurs and employers.

The HemingwayDesign brand team led by Wayne and Jack Hemingway want to hear from people across the town as they build a picture of what makes Middlesbrough tick.

Over the last three weeks local residents have been taking part in a Perceptions Survey to gather their views – positive and negative – of the place they work, play and call home.

More than 400 people have already helped Wayne and Jack get a real feel for Middlesbrough’s unique make-up, and now the business community are being urged to have their say as part of the development of a new place brand identity for Middlesbrough.

The move is the latest phase of a major regeneration drive which will transform Middlesbrough, driving it forward as the city heart of the Tees Valley.

The recent launch of the town’s ambitious Investment Prospects laid out proposals that will see Middlesbrough Council invest £74 million to attract over £600 million of further public and private sector investment.

Over the coming years, the Council will work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to create high quality jobs, develop learning opportunities and improve the quality of life for all Middlesbrough residents.

Wayne Hemingway said: “Middlesbrough has a fantastic history and heritage, but like many towns with their roots in the Industrial Revolution it has suffered in recent decades.

“However there’s a real sense that the town is on the up, and looking to the future with renewed vigour and confidence.

“You can see green shoots of it everywhere you look, from new businesses and the exciting bars, restaurants and shops of Baker and Bedford Street to modern housing developments and events like Orange Pip

“Middlesbrough Council is the cheerleader and facilitator for this renaissance, and it needs a new identity to help pull together the threads that make up the next exciting stage in the town’s narrative.

“We’ve had some great insights so far, but we’d also like to hear from the business community.

“Middlesbrough has a growing reputation as a focal point for the high-tech and digital sectors, and we’d really appreciate input from the entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders who will play such an important role in the town’s future.”

Alongside the Perceptions Survey, HemingwayDesign are holding workshop sessions with key stakeholders including Teesside University, mima and local businesses to further develop their understanding of the town and the story it has to tell.

They will use their findings to develop a comprehensive brand strategy for the town which will be presented later in the year.

Wayne added: “We’re really asking people to think deeply about what the town means to them and what they want it to become – this isn’t just about creating a new logo, it’s much, much more than that.

“What we’re doing is bringing out Middlesbrough’s very DNA, and using that to tell the story of why people want to live, learn, invest and do business here.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “The most successful businesses and organisations have at their heart a strong brand that encapsulates their values and ethos.

“Middlesbrough is no different, and the time is right for us to draw together all the strands that make this town great, and create an identity that reflects the ambition we all share for the future.

“This is a vital opportunity for local people to help shape Middlesbrough’s brand as it enters one of the most exciting periods in its history.”