WE’RE in a great place right now.

Last Thursday saw our first Switch on to Swindon Ambassadors event following the launch of the campaign back in January. Over 250 people came along to the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) to support the promotion of Swindon and hear about what it means to be an ambassador.

A big thank you to our hosts, the NSBRC, a remarkable place that until last Thursday I had never set foot in. We are deliberately choosing venues that are a bit different and are in themselves a Swindon success story which the NSBRC undoubtedly is. For anyone who hasn’t already, I would encourage you to pay a visit: http://www.nsbrc.co.uk/

The ambassador network that we are developing will be the cornerstone of the Switch on to Swindon campaign. It is an alliance of businesses, organisations and individuals connected to Swindon. It is a resource of people, contacts and energy that will help sell Swindon and get its message heard more effectively. We already have around 300 ambassadors signed up and we will grow that alliance, connect people, join together and confidently promote our town and borough.

Switch on to Swindon is not a top down, directed programme of work - it is a collaborative effort or, as someone at the event put it, “We are crowd sourcing the promotion of Swindon.”

We heard from one of those people who is stepping up to support Switch on to Swindon, local business person Richard James. Richard shared what he has learnt from the marketing campaigns he has run for his estate agents business. Megaphone advertising and just saying Swindon is brilliant will not work. We need to bring new a new perspective, for example:

  •  Brilliantly located at crossroads to the south east, west and midlands.
  •  Home to a growing number of tech companies.
  •  An enthusiastic and ambitious workforce.
  •  A growing cultural scene of comedy, live music and arts.
  •  An entrepreneurial business community working collectively to improve the town.
  •  A commuter town soon to be 45 minutes from London with exceptional value housing stock.

Of course we also have to acknowledge those things that need improving but Richard believes strongly that people and their stories sell places. If we personalise the place through the stories of why people have moved here, work here, started a business here and love living here then we can promote Swindon with confidence.

Put all these stories under the banner of ‘We’re in a great place right now’ and we have the makings of a really powerful, people led promotion for Swindon. Judging by the rousing reception he got, the audience certainly seemed to be in full support of this approach.

So we’re running with this idea and have started gathering stories through our Ambassador network. If you want to be part of it then sign up to be an ambassador at http://switchontoswindon.com/ambassadors/ and encourage others to do so. You will also be able to access the excellent resources we’ve made available in the secure Ambassador section of the website.

As I left the event last Thursday it really did feel like we’re in a great place right now.