It's Time to Change Our Outdated Perceptions; MEDIA MARKETING Dave Hodgson, Marketing Director at Marketing Birmingham

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Byline: Dave Hodgson

To attract more visitors to Birmingham, bring wealth into the economy and create an environment for growth, we must change outdated perceptions of the city.

To have a real impact on perceptions it's not enough to say "come and do this, go and see that" - people will simply think no thanks, it's Birmingham.

We have to give people a reason to want to come, we have to sell it as a whole experience, tap into lifestyle ideals and make people want to be part of the city.

Take Apple's iPod as an example, arguably there are technically more advanced MP3 players on the market but the iPod represents stature, generates emotion, a sense of belonging and represents a lifestyle.

This is at the centre of our approach - lifestyle marketing. We don't want to just say "come and see this play", we want to demonstrate that the arts scene in Birmingham is thriving: there's breadth, scale and quality to rival any other major city, the city nurtures homegrown talent and produces work of international standing, respected artists and performers want to be a part of the arts scene here, we are innovative and show real talent across a range of genres, this city is buzzing and if you're not a part of it then you're going to miss out.

In order to communicate all of this concisely we have created an integrated marketing and PR campaign, "Birmingham - Feel The Heat", to convey the breadth, scale and quality of the city's arts offer.

In our annual perceptions survey, 41 per cent of people agreed that Birmingham is a great city for arts in 2007. …