I attended a meeting recently, at which someone asked, “Who has heard of Discover Ripon?” Despite growing recognition, only a small number of people in the room indicated they had, so in response, this month I want to explain what we are trying to achieve; why it is important and encourage more groups and individuals to get involved.
At its most simplistic, Discover Ripon is a logo and an over-arching brand for promoting and marketing the City. It was set up by my predecessor at the start of the City Development Initiative, to share information and support and co-ordinate marketing and promotion by individual organisation and help to encourage more tourists, visitors and residents to explore and learn about our City.
In essence, Discover Ripon is about recognising that we, as public, private and community sector organisations are all stronger by working together and promoting what our fantastic City has to offer as a whole than by working as individual organisations. It is about encouraging tourists and visitors to discover all of the fantastic attractions, businesses and events in and around the city; and it is about helping residents to discover the history of the city, what it has to offer for those living here today and things they can get involved in.
Currently, Discover Ripon is a website complemented by a Facebook page (with over 1,100 likes) a twitter feed (with over 2,200 followers) and the logo is used as the branding for our printed leaflets, which last year included our Le Tour de Ripon Visitor guide, Ripon Remembers World War 1 Events brochure and Ripon Christmas Events booklet. This multi-media approach provides a great opportunity for businesses and organisations to get involved and promote themselves to large numbers of people. Some are already taking advantage of this, but from the response in that meeting, there is obviously more work that we need to do.
The Discover Ripon website is an ever evolving project and currently we are working on a number of significant updates to it, which you’ll see over coming weeks. With individual sections for the community, visitors and business, there are information pages and opportunities for businesses and organisations to add their own details. There are also pages for events and news, so if you want to promote something that you are organising, or you’ve got a story to tell, you can add the details and we can help you to get the message out there. If it is on the website we can easily promote your message to our Facebook and Twitter audiences.
There are many aspects to Discover Ripon, recently on our Facebook site, we’ve been sharing a number of old images. This has stimulated a great deal of discussion about the City of the past and the changes over the years, but overall it has shown a great deal of community pride and interest. Indeed, they are a fascinating collection of images showing the changes in the City with some seemingly dating back to the early 20th Century, and as we look forward with the Ripon City Plan as to how the City may change in the next 15 years, they provide the recent background as to how we got where we are today.
Discover Ripon is an on-going project, if we are to address the perceived under-performance of the City then we need to get better at communicating, working together and shouting about what we have to offer. Projects in progress will see new Discover Ripon What’s On guides produced to promote the seasonal events taking place in and around the City, new Discover Ripon maps and event information put into the signboards around the city centre and new leaflets displays appearing in key locations where tourists, visitors and residents spend time.
There is so much of Ripon that is un-discovered by so many, so there is a great deal of work to do. At another recent meeting we were discussing how to celebrate the connections between the City and Lewis Carroll in advance of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. The strength of these connections is unbeknown to many and yet this is an important link that we could celebrate further for the good of the City and we’ll be promoting over the coming weeks through the Discover Ripon media.
If you want to get involved, the Discover Ripon website can be found at http://www.discoverripon.org , on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/1discoverripon and on twitter we are: @discoverripon. For any further information or help and assistance with getting involved please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01765 601100.