Ian writes: I was more delighted than usual to recently receive a card from the leadership team of a particular client company who have had more than their fair share of challenges, most of which would put the usual corporate change travails to shame.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board was one of the brand development case studies I featured in Brand Champions.
I’m sure I don’t have to labour the difficulties they have faced in turning around stakeholder perspectives about visiting their country.
I’m sure I don’t really have to mention the impressive advertising and marketing campaign they have embarked upon to chart the re-awakening of that beautiful part of these islands as you’ve doubtless seen it already.
I possibly don’t even have to point out the huge leaps forward Belfast has made as a City destination of choice; or the way the pride of the people of Northern Ireland has blossomed as they have grown in confidence and joined together to embrace the future, regardless of the hostile financial backdrop or ever-testing political landscape.
What you probably don’t appreciate, however, is that the transformation of the Northern Ireland brand started and has been continuously role-modelled from within. Alan Clarke and his team at the tourist board have been on a journey of transformation that has ensured that they walk the advertising talk in terms of the values, behaviours and culture they cultivate and perpetuate when they’re promoting their national brand. They are passionate about delivering on the brand promise and are now rightly proud of the fact that they can invite visitors to share in their stories, a far cry from the bitterness of the past.
It’s incredibly heartening to see the fledgling signature projects like the Giant’s Causeway re-development and Titanic exhibition come to life as planned and to witness the passion, confidence and pride with which they are being promoted. That wouldn’t have been possible without the internal engagement signature projects which gave the brand refresh its backbone by leading with the values and transforming the corporate culture. Many congratulations to the senior leadership team and your colleagues for what has been a real team effort throughout.
Take a look at the NITB website to see what’s happening in Northern Ireland in 2012, experience a dose of positivity and to witness a brand flourishing from within.
If you haven’t visited yet, you really don’t know what you’ve been missing.