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Where is Solihull in brand Greater Birmingham?

By David Kuczora on Aug 8, 13 10:18 AM in
The city's ad and PR wonks of the Birmingham Publicity Association assembled last night at Global's flashy new HQ to hear Andy Street talk brand Birmingham. Or, more correctly, brand Greater Birmingham.

The John Lewis brand is based on just one word -- trust. But, he acknowledged, trying to pigeonhole an entire economic area into just one word is trickier than flogging lovely home wares. When pushed to give us bunch of flacks some actual words he was thinking of, he plumped for "inclusivity", "innovation" and "regeneration". Suitably buzzwordy.

Getting the words right is undoubtedly important. Take Birmingham. People have heard of it, Street explained. Whether it's Boston or Barcelona or even Shanghai. They haven't heard of places like Walsall. Or Lichfield. Which, he said, is why it's so important we all embrace the idea of Greater Birmingham.

So let's talk about Solihull. It's hanging on in there, with its name tagged arbitrarily onto the end of our formal LEP moniker. It fought damn hard to ensure the word remained there, creating the roll-off-the-tongue acronym of GB&SLEP.

Solihull has recently, under the LEP's guidance, begun selling itself as "UK Central". It's an important inward investment zone for the region, not least because it is home to... ahem... Birmingham Airport.

Has the time come, then, for Solihull to swallow its pride and unite fully under the Greater Birmingham brand? The unceremonious dropping of the formal LEP name can only be inevitable, surely?

Is Solihull our Salford?
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Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker - The Birmingham Post's political editor
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David Kuczora

David Kuczora - A PR consultant working in Birmingham and living in the 'burbs
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Alister Scott

Alister Scott - Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance, Birmingham City University
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