Tees Business creators Resolution Publishing are set to launch a new magazine – called This Is Tees Valley – promoting the businesses, investment opportunities, people, lifestyle and living spaces available in the Tees region.
But… what do you think the Tees region, its people and businesses have to do better or differently to “sell” the region to the rest of the country?
We asked eight business leaders…
Prof Paul Croney, vice-chancellor and chief executive, Teesside University
“As a region, we simply must be more positive about our achievements, celebrate success more visibly and talk-up our strengths. The hidden gems must be allowed to shine.
“Our region has a can-do attitude – we get on and deliver and are bold and ambitious. We need to turn this approach to how we promote the region and ensure we put the Tees Valley on the map.”
Paul Gibson, director, Active Chartered Financial Planners
“The recent Radio 1 Big Weekend was a great success and has probably changed many people’s perceptions of our region. We have a fantastic university and colleges, together with a mass of successful businesses.
“We already have a number of inspirational ambassadors who talk up Teesside. However, we all have a responsibility to share the stories of our success, promote the region in a positive way and raise awareness and aspirations of young people so that they become the Teesside of tomorrow.”
Kevin Hynes, managing director, Tees Fire Systems
“One of the problems for Teesside is the national perception of the area as a polluted town that gained us the Smoggies nickname.
“The region’s people and businesses need to get the message across that the Infant Hercules is on the rise again but it’s about more than the heavy industry of old. Power up the North East – give us the tools and support, and we will deliver. We’re a university town with fantastic transport connections including our own airport, skilled workforce and a great work-life balance.”
Ben Houchen, elected mayor, Tees Valley
“We must have more confidence in what we do and speak more confidently – because if we don’t do it, one else will do it for us. We’ve got to be more ballsy, disruptive and different with our marketing.
“My thinking is that we should be advertising in the London Underground, showing those in the capital that we gave them the Shard, Wembley and London buses. ‘This is what Tees Valley made. You’re welcome!’ We should be showing a picture of a tiny flat in London and a six-bedroom mansion here, pointing out they’re both about £500,000! Never mind it’s grim up North, it’s terrific in the Tees Valley!”
Andy Preston, elected mayor, Middlesbrough
“To get someone’s attention, you have to be shocking or exciting – so we have to show the rest of the country what makes us truly unique. If I was marketing our area to potential visitors, I’d launch a package featuring an action-packed weekend the like of which few others places could offer.
“Along with the chance to eat at some of our fantastic restaurants, you’d have a great night out with drinks in Middlesbrough’s Baker Street and Bedford Street regeneration zone. But you’d also be taken white water rafting at the Tees Barrage, given a surfing lesson at Saltburn and experience bungee jumping from the Transporter, the country’s only bridge licensed to do so, before a walk around Roseberry Topping. What an amazing impression that would give anyone of our area!”
Peter Snaith, partner, Womble Bond Dickinson
“Teesside puts the North East on the map in terms of industry, with our world-scale assets and infrastructure. However, we can be inward-looking and we try too hard to go it alone. We need to stop being so modest. Outsiders don’t understand what we offer.
“Our businesses are not just factories. They are thriving businesses which offer an exciting future for all manner of skillsets and professions, not just scientists and engineers. Our North East powerhouse will be stronger if our sub-regions pull together.”
Philip Aldridge, chief executive, NEPIC
“The North East is a small region and now divided into three – Tees Valley, North of Tyne and everything in between. We need a voice that speaks from, and for, the whole area.
“Our message should emphasise the world class, global businesses located here, showcasing the likes of pharmaceutical giants FUJIFILM Diosynth and GSK. We should also target the region’s successful diaspora who know what a great place this is to live but may not realise our current economic potential.”
Mark Hill, commercial property director, Jomast
“It might sound obvious but we really do need to be shouting louder about all the great things we have here. In Middlesbrough alone, there are enough cultural attractions and independent food, drink and retail outlets to give people a really enjoyable weekend stay – and we shouldn’t be embarrassed to say that.
“Recent events such as the Big Weekend and Take That concert gave us a national audience – and we need to keep reminding people that the Tees Valley can be a great attraction all year round.”