Second annual Global Cork Economic Forum focusses on Cork region brand strategy

The highly anticipated second annual Global Cork Economic Forum took place in City Hall, Cork on Wednesday, 1st October, with almost 200 key business influencers with Cork connections in attendance.

A brand strategy for the Cork region, in the context of tourism and economic development, was the main topic up for discussion at the plenary business forum hosted by Cork County and City Councils. John Mullins chaired the Forum which saw speakers from across the international tourism industry come together with business leaders from Cork and the Cork business diaspora, to participate in the ground breaking, invitation only event.

The strategic messaging and branding of Cork was discussed in detail, and Cork INC, a proposition based around a co-ordinating body to drive the marketing of the Cork Region abroad, was introduced to delegates. Speaking at the welcoming address, Cllr. Alan Coleman, County Mayor of Cork said “Cork INC is an important regional branding initiative that will see Cork recognised both nationally and internationally.”

Malcolm Allan, destination branding specialist with Place Matters, who has been a consultant on the Cork Strategic Messaging project said “A brand strategy for a region is not about a logo or a tagline, it is about creating an experience. Cork is ahead of the field when it comes to a brand strategy. No other Irish or UK city has one, and only one other European city is currently working on one. It will bring benefits to the people who live here as it will bring foreign investment to the region. We have engaged and listened to people from across Cork, Ireland and the world in the development of this strategy.”

Ann Doherty, Chief Executive of Cork City said that a brand book will be completed and released in the next few days on what Cork is offering as a location. “We never had a brand ‘bible’ for Cork that everyone had an opportunity to input into it. All the key stakeholders were involved, and now we can really use this to attract foreign direct investment.”

MC Matt Cooper led a panel discussion with key Cork business leaders Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland; Leslie Buckley, Chairman, INM; Sean O’Driscoll, Chairman, Glen Dimplex plc.; and Eoin O’Driscoll, Forfás.

The afternoon session saw delegates break out into groups for four specific seminars focussing on Tourism, Food, Entrepreneurship, and Branding, the outcomes of which will be used to devise a detailed objective policy plan to be implemented.

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