This is Edinburgh campaign delivers £50m boost

John Donnelly of Marketing Edinburgh, left, and Denzel Skinner, chairman of Essential Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
John Donnelly of Marketing Edinburgh, left, and Denzel Skinner, chairman of Essential Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A MARKETING campaign aimed at promoting the Capital following disruption caused by tram works has generated a £50 million economic boost.

Leaders at This Is Edinburgh (TIE) said the £1m project had restored residents’ pride after construction of the tramline led to plunging footfall across city centre streets and sparked a wave of business closures.

New figures show that, over the two-year campaign, footfall growth of nearly three per cent was achieved, smashing the target by almost half, while retail sales exceeded the UK average by one per cent.

This amounted to just over £50m in “economic impact”, TIE bosses said.

Senior figures at Marketing Edinburgh have hailed the turnaround.

Chief executive John Donnelly said: “After two years of making the £1m investment work very hard, we are incredibly pleased with these results.

This is Edinburgh cupcakes. Picture: supplied

This is Edinburgh cupcakes. Picture: supplied

“This is Edinburgh was about bringing a fresh approach that put the real city, its personality and hidden gems, at the heart of the campaign, reigniting residents’ pride for their home.

“Throughout we have been firm believers that Edinburgh is the greatest city in the world and it’s fantastic to see the people at the heart of this success enjoying their city again.

“We are in a strong position to move forward and help Edinburgh sustain and grow its reputation as a world-leading destination, with its proud residents at the heart.”

A number of events and festivals were held across the Capital during the campaign, which launched in February 2014. These included Edinburgh Restaurant Festival and Edinburgh Fashion Week, as well as outdoor, online and TV advertising.

This is Edinburgh was about bringing a fresh approach that put the real city, its personality and hidden gems, at the heart of the campaign, reigniting residents’ pride for their home.

John Donnelly

TIE figures said the campaign’s results were also rapid, with one survey carried out a year after its launch revealing that just under 96 per cent of those questioned felt more positive about the city centre than a year earlier. And 86 per cent of respondents credited the campaign for their change of heart.

Local business owners involved in the campaign have also highlighted the positive role This is Edinburgh has played in bringing new customers to the city centre.

Rebecca Christensen, director of Love from Indie Street, a collaboration of 70 independent Edinburgh retailers said: “Edinburgh’s independent retailers have been given the chance to get involved with many high-profile events, which has really helped raise their profile and highlight the varied hidden gems the city has to offer.”  

Speaking about the experience working with the team behind This is Edinburgh, Robi Lambie, owner of Cairngorm Coffee Co said: “It was incredibly refreshing having such an enthusiastic and inspired team focused on increasing our profile, whose only motivation was for the good of Edinburgh and the growth of businesses within it.

Film in the City. Picture: Jon Savage

Film in the City. Picture: Jon Savage

“The chance to work with such highly skilled teams rarely arise without a sinister financial weight. We feel very lucky to have been amongst the select few who garnered this opportunity.”

The campaign also worked to promote the citiy’s attractions to locals. Kat Brogan, managing director, Mercat Tours explained: “As a local family business, Edinburgh’s residents are a vital market. We’re delighted with the tight focus and great energy ‘This Is Edinburgh’ campaign has brought to the city”.

Leaders at Essential Edinburgh, which runs the city centre business improvement district, agreed the campaign’s impact had been positive.

Chief executive Roddy Smith said: “This campaign has shown a varied, exciting schedule of events created for locals can hugely benefit businesses in the city centre, reminding locals of everything great about their city and providing a tangible reason to come in.”

City chiefs said TIE’s success had made them proud. Councillor Frank Ross, economy leader, said: “To have had such success with the campaign is proof that city marketing brings real economic results. This campaign has gone above and beyond target, with footfall growth in the city centre almost 50 per cent higher than we anticipated.”

The campaign has also raised Edinburgh’s online profile, with the city’s official website ThisisEdinburgh.com now attracting 100,000 users per month, and a quarter of a million followers on social media.

Edinburgh Fashion Week. Picture: Yemi King

Edinburgh Fashion Week. Picture: Yemi King

Commenting on This is Edinburgh’s digital campaign for the city Colan Mehaffey, head of digital media at National Trust of Scotland said: “It’s been outstanding for the city, not just for local people but far beyond. The use of multiple digital channels to really engage with the audience - providing listings, lifestyle news and hidden gems is a fantastic achievement.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com