This year, Invest in Cornwall partnered with JCDecaux to splash the region, and the opportunities it has to offer next generation businesses, on billboards across London. We want people to sit up and take notice of the region. Those people who perhaps dream of running their own businesses, but have the misconception they need to be in a city like London to do it and have scale. Or perhaps those who know deep-down they are in a job they don’t love, but don’t realise that Cornwall could offer the career satisfaction they crave.
And people did take notice.
In two weeks alone, we have seen an 198% increase in the total number of unique visitors to our website, including drawing a 688% increase in traffic from London specifically and an 800% uptake in enquiries from businesses looking for more information about the region and what it has to offer over and above the rest of the UK.
We are delighted to see these results, not only because the effort we all put into this campaign, from the funding support by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and the match funding and counsel by JCDecaux’s Nurture programme, has paid off, but more importantly that people got a glimpse through a window into the Cornwall we see every day.
Tom Telford, Managing Director of 3WhiteHats, a digital marketing agency and one of the businesses included on the billboards said:
“We were delighted to be part of the campaign. Whilst working in London during the campaign, I was able to see first-hand how prominent the campaign was in key transport hubs. The reaction on social media has been fantastic too – a great initiative for Cornwall!”
We know we live and work in a region full of fantastic opportunities for next generation businesses, with world-renowned facilities on our doorstep including Goonhilly Earth Station, the UK’s gateway to space and Wave Hub, the world’s largest and most technologically advanced site for the testing and development of offshore renewable energy technology. Cornwall is also home to the world’s biggest rural fibre broadband network and is able to compete with major cities including London for speed and quality of connectivity. In fact, it outperforms major cities, boasting the best FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) coverage in the UK with over 30% of ultrafast connectivity, delivering speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps). It’s rewarding to see these regional benefits making such an impact on small business owners as they consider setting up outside of the city.
Another of our campaign ambassadors, Josh Neve, Head of Communications at Sanders Studios, a creative visualisation agency, said:
“Cornwall is a buzzing hub of creativity, ambition and innovation, and Sanders Studios are lucky enough to work with a global client base whilst striking an amazing work/life balance. Alan Sanders, Creative Director here at Sander Studios, talks about Cornwall having the “ability to inspire innovative and disruptive thinking”. Coupled with a super-fast digital network second to none, Cornwall provides Sanders Studios the perfect platform on which to thrive both domestically and internationally.”
As business costs in the city remain at a premium, with expensive real estate and higher living costs, start-ups are increasingly looking to set up elsewhere. This is already visible in Cornwall, one of the top spots in the country for work/life balance and home to a thriving business community – the region’s GVA grew to £9.9 billion in 2015, predominantly driven by the region’s SME activity and the economy grew by over 4% compared to a UK growth rate of 2.9%. A key factor driving the thriving business community and behind the growing economy is the higher than average success rate of start-ups surviving 4-5 years, which further highlights the region as a destination of choice for new and small businesses.
The enquiries we have received in the last fortnight have justified the need for campaigns like this, for us to showcase what Cornwall has to offer and let people know what exists here. It’s also a pleasure to be able to demonstrate the determination and success of our existing business community to help inspire others who might be considering a move from another region within the UK, or from overseas.
Fiona Campbell-Howes, Managing Director of Radix Communications, a marketing agency featured on the billboards said:
“Whenever we go to meet London-based clients, they’re always really intrigued and curious to know how we manage to run an internationally-focused creative agency from Cornwall. I often get the feeling that they too would love to relocate to Cornwall (they all come here on holiday, after all!) but can’t imagine how it might be possible.
This campaign clearly showed that it’s not just possible to run a business from Cornwall, but that Cornwall is in many ways the ideal location to set up and grow a successful business. By combining aspirational photography with detailed, real-life success stories, it will have appealed to both the emotional and rational sides of entrepreneurs with an interest in making the move.”
While the initial launch of the campaign via JCDecaux’s Nurture programme lasted only two weeks, we’re still building on this momentum and will continue to showcase Cornwall throughout the rest of the year with a digital marketing campaign targeting both domestic and international markets. This will be followed by the imminent launch of new video content as well as continuing to develop our website and associated content as a resource for those looking to explore Cornwall as a business destination.
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