Promoting a Premier city: How the world will be watching the comeback club
PUBLISHED: 09:09 14 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:36 14 April 2019
With Norwich City on the brink of promotion to the Premier League the region’s marketing engine has gone into overdrive.
If the Canaries are successful in their bid for glory fans across the globe will be watching the likes of Teemu Pukki, Emiliano Buendia and Onel Hernandez.
And in an increasingly digital age the potential reach for the club and by association the city is unprecedented.
But this is not the first time Norwich City have scaled the footballing heights and the city cannot be known for its yellow shirts alone.
Three public and press relations experts have offered their insight into what the PR industry can do to make the most of the expected surge in interest in the area and how to extend the buzz of a single season into long-term, cross-sector benefits.
Suzy Pettican is the founder and managing director of Norwich’s Reflection PR and lives and works in the city.
Mrs Pettican, who has been working in PR for almost two decades, said: “Public relations is about building a brand’s reputation and telling its story; it’s about communicating the interesting things businesses are doing that they wouldn’t necessarily think is extraordinary themselves or don’t have time to promote.
“I hope that Norwich do get promoted to the Premier League as it is such a good opportunity for the city. It’s the story of the underdog, the spirit of this city and a club which is so well-supported and loved by the fans operating with smaller budgets than many richer clubs.
“Now – we all hope – they’ve risen to the top and will be watched all over the world on various media platforms.”
Norwich’s team was relegated from the Premier League in 2016 and has played in the Championship ever since.
“I have hotel clients who saw an upturn in overnight stays when we were in the Premier League previously. It will be fantastic for the city if we are promoted and businesses should capitalise on the increased exposure.”
Pippa Lain-Smith, managing director of fellow Norwich PR agency Plain Speaking, said the story of Norwich City was given a global frame of reference thanks to promotion.
“The Premier League is the best football league in the world. Norwich City Football Club’s promotion could bring a wide range of PR and marketing opportunities for Norfolk businesses if they are creative and smart,” she said.
“If you are marketing your business to a national or international audience, to people who might not even know where Norwich is, being able to use ‘home to Premier League Football club Norwich City’, immediately provides a point of reference that a lot of people will understand.
“Paid PR partnerships, sponsorships and promotions with Norwich City Football Club provide the opportunity for brands to reach millions more people. But activity has to be well-planned and executed and possible return on investment carefully considered.
“Norwich is already a fantastic city and being home to one of the UK’s 20 best football clubs adds a new dimension – businesses can now say with confidence that they are based in a premier destination.”
Andy Newman is the managing director of Newman Associates PR and has identified some longer-term projects which Norwich could concentrate on during the attention.
“There is good evidence that having a Premier League football team leads to increased applications for places at a city’s universities, assists businesses to widen their reach and it will certainly boost Norwich’s position as an important tourism destination,” he said.
“Perception of a city is so important and there is considerable evidence that cities with a Premier League football team tend to be thought of as ‘premier league’ themselves – more cosmopolitan, more dynamic and a better place to do business.”
He added: “The team has done the hard work on the pitch. Now it’s time for the rest of us to follow behind and take full advantage of Norwich’s Premier League status.”
What the businesses say: Last Wine Bar
Mark Loveday is a new owner of one of Norwich’s best-loved businesses.
As one of the new owners of the Last Wine Bar, he said: “The football club has such a huge following in the city that when the team is doing well, there is a palpable feel-good factor around Norwich, which extends beyond those who go to the matches – the whole city has a buzz about it. For restaurants like us, that means that people are more inclined to go out in the city, and to forget for a few hours all the uncertainties which are currently part of all of our lives.
“Assuming Norwich are promoted, being in the Premier League will mean a much higher profile for the city both in the rest of the UK and indeed across the globe. That translates into more visitors, which in turn means more people eating out, using the pubs, bars and restaurants in the city.
“At The Last we are very proud of our city’s football club, and we are planning a special German wine dinner to celebrate promotion, and in honour of Daniel Farke and the German players who have contributed so much to the club’s success this season.”
What the businesses say: Chapelfield
Paul McCarthy, general manager of intu Chapelfield in Norwich, made it clear that Premiership status would mean premier levels of footfall in retail areas.
He said: “At intu Chapelfield we’re all watching Norwich City’s progress at the top of the table with interest and anticipation. “Everyone who lives in and around Norwich knows that this is a fantastic place to be – and new visitors are often amazed by its cultural, musical and historic sights and sounds, the great range of places to eat and drink, and of course the wealth and breadth of places to shop, including intu Chapelfield which is a premier shopping centre.
“Being a Premier League Club makes Norwich, by association, a premier league city and gives us all of us involved in promoting it to shoppers, businesses, holiday-makers, theatre-goers, football fans and many other groups another good reason to encourage visitors new and old to our city.”