Paint the Town Grey
Why positioning is so important
This article is about why I think Paint the Town Greys’ first project, Cobalt Studios needs to be situated in Stockton Town centre.
I studied for a B/TEC HND in Business and Finance at North Staffs Polytechnic between 1985 and 1987, oh good god that is about like a hundred years ago, the poly is now Staffordshire University.
During one of the lectures I was given one of my favourite marketing anecdotes, not Bill Hicks’ “If you are in marketing, kill yourself” but almost.
Burger King were looking to establish their first restaurant in Germany, probably West Germany (remember that) they put various marketeers in various locations around the city of Berlin looking at footfall, how many people walked past an empty space to you and I.
Eventually they decided on a part of Berlin to start. They built the restaurant, employed and trained managers, employed and trained staff, stocked the restaurant and waited. Now for a site with remarkably high footfall the taking were disappointingly low.
Burger king then did a little further digging and found that it’s new all singing and all dancing restaurant, it’s first in Germany, was in fact next to…
A brothel. Oh dear, big fail.
I received further advice on investigating where you place your company while getting excellent business start-up training from Five Lamps in Thornaby.
From my own experiences, both quite recently, my belief that Paint the Town Grey must have a presence in Stockton in order to start strong has been reinforced. I volunteer for Macmillan ‘Art for You’ project on a Saturday. This group caters for people who have recently had cancer and who like art; it is also very geared towards the social side of the sessions.
In order to protect service users’ identity the sessions are closed, referral only, also the sessions take place at MIMA on the second floor in the education room on a Saturday. We are struggling to get new referrals for service users. The art group is out of sight, tucked away.
We even did eight days of stall work at James Cook Hospital and got one new referral. We talk to medical staff in the cancer wards and clinics at James Cook, but so do a lot of other people, but numbers are so difficult to attract without a public face so to speak.
The other example comes from an art exhibition for artists with mental health issues. This took place at the Arc in Stockton. The exhibition was on the second floor. It was a huge space, very generous however; when I went I was the only person there. There were no artists to talk to people viewing the art. As far as I could see there was nothing downstairs in the café area of the Arc to tell me there was an art display and I was actually looking for it. I knew about the exhibition through word of mouth.
In order for Paint the Town Grey to start and start strongly we need a very prominent position within Stockton High Street. PTTG is going to be reliant on public support and donations to start off with. We need the locals of Stockton-On-Tees to know we are in existence.
One of our main targets and goals is to challenge the stigma of mental health, if we are tucked away in a building in a quiet part of town, a sports hall, a small row of shops or a back street the start becomes so much more difficult.
I am sure that we can attract some publicity through radio, local papers and talking to members of the public but we do need to be fairly visible in order to start well.