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the brief

A city with over 2000 years of history behind it, one of the country’s most important historic and cultural destinations and one of England’s 11 heritage cities.  However it has never fully realised its status and potential often feeling at the periphery of the Lancashire county area and ‘looks to Cumbria’ in terms of its geography – needed to raise its profile at a national and international level.

Lancaster houses the world class Lancaster University, a renowned international brand in its own right and also homes a campus for Cumbria University.  The city needs to play its role in attracting and retaining students, academics and staff within the regional economy.

Forthcoming major projects to be delivered in the area including Bailrigg Garden village, the Health Innovation campus at Lancaster University and ‘Eden in the North’ in Morecambe focused and amplified the need to have a compelling and consistent place narrative to be clear about what it is and tell its story in an ambitious and confident way.


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what was delivered

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  • engagement with key stakeholders (some for the first time) from across all sectors and industries and all geographical areas across the Lancaster city region from the city, to Morecambe seaside town to the wider rural hinterland.  
  • a compelling and forward-looking narrative which articulates why Lancaster city region is special, what it is for and where it is going that highlights and provides focus for its historic and cultural yet highly innovative and digital credentials that powerfully come together as one
  • a highly distinctive brand visual identity and visual language  and extensive brand toolkit specifically designed to encourage stakeholder usage, that communicates the new Lancaster story in a fresh and confident way seen on
  • a sub brand for the seaside town of Morecambe to allow for more flexible communications when talking about Morecambe specifically
  • sustainable and ongoing leadership for the work by establishing a Place Board with highly influential membership of key organisations to act as guardians of the brand and ultimate champions of the place
  •  greater clarity on the role of Lancaster within the wider Lancashire proposition and economy, what it contributes, the opportunities it offers and what it is prioritising and a strengthened place relationship with other areas e.g. local authorities, Cumbria LEP, South Lakeland Economic partnership that reflects the wider thinking and ambition of Lancaster to ‘do things differently’
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What they say

Our place story has come up through the grassroots – it’s organic. It reflects what people really feel and there is consistency around the messaging, so intuitively it feels right.  The process we’ve gone through, supported by thinkingplace, is very much evidence-based. It’s not just a marketing company going into a darkened room and coming up with an idea. Their conversations with our local stakeholders and economic partners have really highlighted the number and scale of the opportunities we have.

Our relationships have improved, both locally and in the wider region, because of this project, due to all the engagement with businesses and other economic stakeholders. That has generated so much energy and passion behind the process, which has been really important.

As the process has developed and the products, such as the storybook and the branding, have emerged, our partners and those we are now starting to involve are saying it’s transformational. It gives us a great economic launching pad.

Anne Marie Harrison, Head of Economic Development, Lancaster City Council

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