Teresa Lane is Head of Communications, Marketing and Town Centre Management at Aylesbury Vale District Council
Whilst doubtless there’s a way to go before the new business rates system is finalised, on the surface, the proposals seem an opportunity for all communication teams, however, large or small their town, to seriously brush up their place marketing skills and support economic development colleagues in building good communications with the business community.
The potential rewards of business retention will certainly increase the appetite of some councils to make sure that their local economy thrives and competes successfully for new business. For more deprived areas, there are concerns that they will become even exposed to the recession.
In Aylesbury Vale, our designation as a major growth area some years ago, was certainly the push we needed to up our game on promoting the area as a successful business location. The target of creating 1000 new jobs year on year to match our housing growth focused the minds wonderfully and bought together services from across the public sector in a manner that may not have been achieved so quickly and enthusiastically without the economic challenge.
For communications, it was great opportunity to bring place marketing to the forefront of the agenda. We didn’t (and still don’t) have a big budget but working with the business community and other public sector provides, we have been able to achieve a massive amount. Every place has a story to tell and who’s better placed than communicators to weave the message andd get it out there.