Shetlands rebrand gives islands a Corporate Edge

Shetland Islands Council has drafted in Corporate Edge to help it rebrand the remote region as a high-profile provider of quality goods and services.

In a bid to raise consumers’ awareness of the isles’ excellence in areas such as fish, lamb, knitwear, crafts and oil-related services, Shetland Islands Council has asked Corporate Edge to carry out a full assessment of the region’s strengths. This will lead to the creation of a fresh identity.

Corporate Edge, which was awarded the brief on the back of a two-way, credentials-based pitch in February, has just begun investigating how the region should be presented, in co-operation with the local community.

The first phase of the project, worth £33 000 in fees to the group, will be complete at the end of May, at which point Corporate Edge expects to be tasked with creating the visual identity.

Referring to examples such as Shetland knitwear, which has become a generic term for garments not necessarily made on the islands, Douglas Irvine, head of business development at Shetland Islands Council, comments: ‘We are faced with a situation in the Shetlands where our main traditional industries are struggling. We’ve managed over the past 30 years by selling primary produced goods, but it’s not readily identifiable by the consumer as being from Shetland.’

A further objective will be to promote tourism on the islands, which has slowed by about 20 per cent since the 1980s. Compounding this slowdown is the fact that the Shetland Islands are a 14-hour ferry journey from Aberdeen – a trip that costs more than it does to fly from the UK to New York.

‘The whole of Shetland is aware of this initiative, which is great because it allows it to be a very open project,’ says Corporate Edge chairman Creenagh Lodge, who is heading the project. ‘We’re are taking residents’ views into account every step of the way.’

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