A report was submitted following the agreement made in principle at the MCA meeting held in January 2021 to the rebranding of the MCA which would reflect the organisation’s core business and decision making that primarily affected South Yorkshire. At the MCA meeting held in June 2021, it had been agreed to rename the organisation to the ‘South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’ and the office of Mayor’s title to be changed to ‘Mayor of South Yorkshire’. This would provide an opportunity for the MCA, LEP and MCA Executive to review its strategy and ambition to promote South Yorkshire to potential investors, talent and visitors.
Members received a presentation from D Wright, and the following points were noted:-
· Significant work was underway amongst the South Yorkshire local authorities to attract visitors and investment of talent to the region. One of the issues faced on a regional basis was that this had not been joined up or amplified and that it was partially incomplete. The challenge to be overcome was in relation to the specialisms, as there was not a true understanding of the people trying to be reached or their preconceptions of South Yorkshire.
· The brand needed to reach, influence and engage with a broad range of audiences i.e. residents of South Yorkshire, the business community and investors, students and skilled workers, Government ministers and policy makers.
· There was a requirement to develop a strategy which addressed the questions of why to live in South Yorkshire and why to invest in the region.
· Consideration would be given to developing the strategy to gather audience insights, develop a complete and compelling narrative, to establish clear roles and responsibilities, build upon leadership and legitimacy, to amplify and support local identities, specialisms and success stories from across South Yorkshire.
· The role of the LEP would be to draw upon the expertise and networks which would inform the strategy development, to convene expertise and motivate coalition to promote the specialisms and success stories of the region, and to support the storytelling and amplification of South Yorkshire.
G Smith commented that she was fully supportive of the report. She considered that the region had many strengths, however there was a need to raise awareness. She considered that it was very important that an independent review should be undertaken to assist with the audience insight together with a 360? view to speak to the internal Leaders. She suggested that consideration should be given to who would own the branding moving forwards. She queried whether consideration should be given to the Place Board which had been embraced by other areas. She was happy to provide assistance in relation to the rebranding.
D Wright welcomed G Smith’s expertise and assistance in relation to the rebranding. In relation to the ownership of the brand, he considered that this was an open question which would be brought back to the Board. He agreed to the suggestion of an independent review of the audience insight and a 360? view.
J Chetcuti commented that the independent review of the audience insight was the foundation to ensure that the branding was correct for the region. As the region was so diverse and the range of different audiences, he queried the measures to be taken to ensure that the South Yorkshire stories reflected the needs of the different audiences for the region.
D Wright highlighted the need for the development of a framework which could to be worked towards, which would be developed in more detail with different messages to be carried to those different audience groups.
RESOLVED – That the Board:-
i) Provided feedback on a possible approach to developing a place brand to promote the region’s interests.
ii) Nominated a Member to support the brand development work with the MCA Executive.
iii) Provided views on the scope of audience insight and research to develop the strategy.