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Promote Shetland


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#16 matlo

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:01 PM

I think Kavi is making some really valid and interesting points here.

For a start, Shetland is not unique in having a problem with Visit Scotland - a lot of Scottish regions have complaints about their marketing being geared towards steering tourists towards 'main' tourist centres and high profile destinations at the expense of some of the more interesting but out of the way areas. It seems to be a branding exercise that has lost sight of what it was set up to do and has become more concerned with its own organisational brand than being relevant to the industry it's supposed to serve. It hasn't been very good at listening to its client organisations or the public.

The thistle logo is part of its branding, designed to unite the Scottish tourism under one banner and also to make themselves essential. Like any big organisation one of their central concerns is to boost their own importance and bureaucracy.

The big problem for Shetland tourism is that if we rely on Visit Scotland to promote the industry then we will inevitably have to be sold as a peripheral part of 'Scotland the Brand' - a distinctive part of Scotland but part of a big picture nonetheless - just an interesting bit of Scotland that's expensive to get to.

Marketing needs to be founded on the fact that Shetland is unique, has its own distinctive identity and will offer something different to visitors in both physical environment and culture. If there's no difference from Scotland then what would be the attraction? Why pay the extra fares? The thistle logo (apart from irritating many Shetlanders by its connotations of Scottishness) underplays the difference and undermines the unique image that makes potential visitors curious.

Definitely get rid of it in favour of a more suitable symbol.

#17 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

You have not constructed anything. I can tell you, as bit of an expert in signage, stickers would look eventually worse than what you are trying to cover up. I also remember telling you of ways you may be able to encourage signs to have an emblem more you your liking.
As Shetland is part of Scotland, there will be a thistle.

Now, how could you justify such a spend? What would be the tangible reward?
Would it encourage more folk to spend their money? Nope, no proof would ever exist, it would be a folly I would think to suggest it would.

Some establishments or attractions may be recognised by the VisitScotland Quality Assurance scheme. This then I would imagine gets an inclusion in any bumf.

Tourist attractions and facilities (e.g. hotels) can apply to the Council for direction signs to their location. If they meet the criteria (which may vary by area) then they pay for the costs of erecting the signs. Before applying to the Council for tourist signs you must be part of Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme.

Now, if it is the case that the above is applied, then, you will need to ask the establishment to opt out of the Visit Scotland Scheme, and therefore remove its self from any advertising directly financed by said Scheme and funding would need to be applied for from the establishment that in theory "owns" the sign and ask them to pay again and use that to further Promote Shetlands coffers in order to finance the additional work and possible application and inspection. There could be the possibility that they would have to pay for a new sign, as they may not have the right to keep the existing under the Assurance Scheme. Signs are not cheap. Direction signs on new posts typically cost between £200 - £1,000 dependant on their size. A village nameplate on two new posts costs up to £350. Though some of the larger signs that are part of lane indication/junction signs may benefit with the use of a sticker as these can be thousands to replace.

Although you may see the council put up these signs, they may be acting as a contractor in some cases.

So, a bit more of an explanation for you to work on how to get the signs changed. If there is a will to do it, then get on with it.

#18 Scorrie

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:14 PM

I think Kavi is making some really valid and interesting points here.

For a start, Shetland is not unique in having a problem with Visit Scotland - a lot of Scottish regions have complaints about their marketing being geared towards steering tourists towards 'main' tourist centres and high profile destinations at the expense of some of the more interesting but out of the way areas. It seems to be a branding exercise that has lost sight of what it was set up to do and has become more concerned with its own organisational brand than being relevant to the industry it's supposed to serve. It hasn't been very good at listening to its client organisations or the public.

The thistle logo is part of its branding, designed to unite the Scottish tourism under one banner and also to make themselves essential. Like any big organisation one of their central concerns is to boost their own importance and bureaucracy.

The big problem for Shetland tourism is that if we rely on Visit Scotland to promote the industry then we will inevitably have to be sold as a peripheral part of 'Scotland the Brand' - a distinctive part of Scotland but part of a big picture nonetheless - just an interesting bit of Scotland that's expensive to get to.

Marketing needs to be founded on the fact that Shetland is unique, has its own distinctive identity and will offer something different to visitors in both physical environment and culture. If there's no difference from Scotland then what would be the attraction? Why pay the extra fares? The thistle logo (apart from irritating many Shetlanders by its connotations of Scottishness) underplays the difference and undermines the unique image that makes potential visitors curious.

Definitely get rid of it in favour of a more suitable symbol.


Bang on the money with the bit about VisitScotlands' mindset regarding 'steering' tourists. Been there, got the T-shirt.

#19 matlo

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:20 PM

I've sometimes wondered whether the signs that have had the thistle logo sprayed over with blue paint aren't an interesting insight for visitors into Shetland culture. Do they wonder why someone has gone to the bother and why they felt a need to? Maybe this is the most cost effective approach to engaging visitors' curiosity.

A couple of cans would surely be enough for all the brown signs in Shetland and couldn't cost very much?

#20 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

Criminal damage would not be a long term answer. Cost, keep the damage to less than £5,000 then a fine if caught. You may upset some folks with that action though, may be as many as you meant to make curious.
He He, back to Citizen Kavi again.

I have no problems with finding other ways to promote Shetland, I do not think spray painting signs so that tourists who have already arrived on the islands can, on their trip of a lifetime ponder the meaning of it all.

Perhaps then the Shetland Tourist Board would need to cut all links to the Thistle and go it alone. Their maps would look like the Ch4 weather maps of old. Or would you still want the referrals? You may need to find out how much income is generated by referrals.

Of the 755 folk that entered to live in Shetland over 2010/11 I wonder how many were returning. The bulk were in the 16-29 year old group. I wonder how many folk who live in Shetland are from Shetland and would those not, then be happy for this to happen.

Interesting reading, http://www.gro-scotl...s-factsheet.pdf

#21 ll

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

Could a sticker not be designed to cover up the thistle that would look better than the mindless vandalism? It looks unsightly to say the least.

I take it the sign defacers would have no problem being excluded from the vote from the Scottish referendum since they do not see themselves as part of Scotland!

It would make most sense to try and meet up and improve what we have with Visit Scotland rather than try and reinvent the wheel.

Orkney has much more of a tourism industry and they make do with Visit Scotland - do they paint over their signs?

#22 Twerto

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:16 PM

How on earth am I supposed to find out what it would cost?. On the basis that all you need is a batch of new stickers to put over the existing signs I'll hazard a guess of £2000.

And that would be money very well spent.


I cant remember exactly what the figure is/was but it was considerably more than that.

#23 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

These signs may be the property of someone. Not the council. Hard working folk may have facilitated the erection of the sign. If there were a seriousness about this, then a few FOI requests could confirm all and show what the next step could be. You need to throw a stone to get the pond to ripple.

I sort of wonder if the discussion here is representative of the Shetland population. Anyone know? Really?

The stickers would look bad, unless of course you can get them the same shade, the signs will be in various shades of brown due to the weather. Stickers do not bode well in high winds unless they are sealed and installed when the humidity is at its lowest. Also, the whole sign may need to be cleaned anyway and depending on the design of the new corporate logo some may have to be changed.

#24 Tryop

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:28 PM

do you really think that any tourist gives a s..t if there is a thistle or not On any signage!!!
I know I wouldn't

I do think that promote Shetland is not worth the money

#25 Kavi Ugl

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

Unfortunately, visitscotland have clearly shown that they are unwilling to listen to Shetland.

How do I know?. I wrote to them many years ago when the thistle emblems started to appear and pleaded with them to use a more Shetland orientated logo for here.

Did they listen or care?. Not a bit of it. All I got back was waffle and was utterly wasting my time.

I also raised the exact same point that matlo made about why would tourists spend mega bucks to come and see somewhere that was "just the same" but it also fell on deaf ears.

I too would far rather see a Shetland logo for the signs(which in turn would help build a more unique Shetland brand) than messy spray paint.

One thing I've wondered about is why they need so many thistle logos on each sign. Why do they need a logo beside every single attraction listed on the signs?. Surely one logo in the top left corner would have sufficed. Call me sceptical but it smacks of politics......

@Tryop, it's not first and foremost about whether a tourist cares about a logo - it's about preserving and promoting Shetland's own identity.

The thistle logos undermine Shetland's identity and need to be replaced.

#26 Speccy

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:52 PM

Unfortunately, visitscotland have clearly shown that they are unwilling to listen to Shetland.

How do I know?. I wrote to them many years ago when the thistle emblems started to appear and pleaded with them to use a more Shetland orientated logo for here.

Did they listen or care?. Not a bit of it. All I got back was waffle and was utterly wasting my time.


??? This does not show they 'don't listen to Shetland'. This merely shows they didn't do as you wanted. Who made you our elected spokesperson?

#27 matlo

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

O.k. I admit to being not entirely serious with the spray paint idea....

There's a serious issue here for promoting tourism though - and it's important that we don't get the political aspects of identity (and of course they exist) mixed up too much with promoting Shetland tourism. The thistle logo is going to be controversial in Shetland for reasons that have little to do with attracting visitors and for that reason alone it would seem sensible to abandon it. The right logo is definitely important - we may not realise we're seeing them all the time but the marketing industry spends a fortune on them for a reason. Why would we want one that's going to irritate a lot of the people we need to be behind efforts to promote Shetland?

It comes down to the question of whether we want to be on the outskirts of someone else's market or in the middle of our own - even if being in charge of our own market has cost implications and needs a different approach. In the long term it's essential to be able to do it differently.

Visit Scotland is over centralised, bureaucratic and incapable of change. It may be that they're forced to change their ways - as Creative Scotland seem to be in the process of doing at the moment - but it might take a while.

[/quote]

#28 matlo

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:01 PM




??? This does not show they 'don't listen to Shetland'. This merely shows they didn't do as you wanted. Who made you our elected spokesperson?


All the same - is this not indicative in a way? What is Visit Scotland's job after all? To promote Scottish tourism surely, and if we accept for the moment the notion that Shetland is part of that then they should be thinking of the best and most effective way of doing it. The fact that Shetland has an identity that is distinct from the standard Scottishness is a golden opportunity for any marketing organisation to do a better job - any designer worth their fee would be listening to opinion of this kind, asking questions, getting answers and using the information - the difference - to sell the place more effectively. A different logo might have been a good way to do it.

Listening to people and finding out what happens on the ground is fundamental to designing a service like Visit Scotland. Being more concerned with the organisations own corporate image rather than listening to people - whoever they represent - is a bit symptomatic of the disease afflicting the whole organisation.



#29 Twerto

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:14 PM

[quote]O.k. I admit to being not entirely serious with the spray paint idea....

There's a serious issue here for promoting tourism though - and it's important that we don't get the political aspects of identity (and of course they exist) mixed up too much with promoting Shetland tourism. The thistle logo is going to be controversial in Shetland for reasons that have little to do with attracting visitors and for that reason alone it would seem sensible to abandon it. The right logo is definitely important - we may not realise we're seeing them all the time but the marketing industry spends a fortune on them for a reason. Why would we want one that's going to irritate a lot of the people we need to be behind efforts to promote Shetland?

It comes down to the question of whether we want to be on the outskirts of someone else's market or in the middle of our own - even if being in charge of our own market has cost implications and needs a different approach. In the long term it's essential to be able to do it differently.

Visit Scotland is over centralised, bureaucratic and incapable of change. It may be that they're forced to change their ways - as Creative Scotland seem to be in the process of doing at the moment - but it might take a while.

[/quote][/quote]

Have i missed something? where is the evidence it irritates a lot of people? so far i only know of one person who is irritated by this. it is it worth spending lots of money to please one person?

#30 shetlandpeat

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:17 PM

Seems there are several "Shetland" Logos, it would have to be a corporate logo.

https://www.google.c...iw=1366&bih=596