A fresh identity for Belfast has been developed by brand strategy and creative consultancy Lloyd Northover. Unveiled on Monday, the Here Now brand is the result of the biggest branding consultation exercise ever undertaken for Belfast City Council. It has been created to prom ote a unified vision of the city as a vibrant and optimistic place to live, work, visit and invest inand to shake off misconceptions shaped by Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
Lloyd Northover chairman Jim Northover has been working on the project since the consultancy was appointed last June. He says, ‘Belfast has gone through a huge transformation in recent years.
The problem was that its brand perceptions were way behind that changed reality. Our brand strategy, developed in conjunction with the people it seeks to represent, aims to change those perceptions and thereby dramatically influence the future success of the city.’
Belfast’s new image is encompassed by a simple capital ‘B’ in a distinctive heart shape, with the word ‘Belfast’ inscribed inside vertically. It will be rolled out across the city over the coming months on buses, road signs, billboards and landmark buildings. Northover believes that the new brand mark will be flexible enough to work across different communications and colour lines, while promoting the simple idea of Belfast as a city ‘wearing its heart on its sleeve’.
He says, ‘Authenticity was crucial – we didn’t want to gloss over the past or for Belfast to lose its edge – we wanted to make something real. People who visit feel the warmth and character of the city, and we wanted to get that across.’
The identity is the product of 12 months of international market research by Lloyd Northover, and consultations with about 3000 key Belfast stake – holders from the business, tourism, hospitality, arts and culture and youth communities. Northover says, ‘We needed to take people with us and use this as an opportunity to help the spirit of regeneration that is already taking place.’
Belfast attracted 6.9 million visitors last year, generating an estimated £500m. It is hoped the rebrand will have a signifi cant impact on the city’s reputation as a vibrant commercial centre and a hub for tourism, with a high quality of life for its citizens.