Kintyre and Gigha is making it a full house for Argyll and the Isles in setting up its own marketing group and becoming a welcome participant in the area-wide effort to raise the profile of Argyll everywhere it counts.
There is now full region-wide commitment to collaboration and to the creation of a powerful and characterful marketing initiative for this region.
Even better – and even more unusual, is the individuality enabled by the Argyll and the Isles approach. This is no monolithic imposition. The local marketing groups are free to promote themselves as they wish, with the support and access to funding opportunities that their accredited membership of the umbrella body confers.
Obviously their membership of the core regional body gives each of them access to each others’ ideas and experience and, with the competitive instinct present in everyone, they will all inevitably raise their games.
The groups combine to agree, support and promote the Argyll and the Isles brand on all appropriate occasions, with their progressive rise in capability and performance playing to individual and overall advantage.
The Kintyre and Gigha Marketing Group does not include Tarbert, which already has a marketing group.
The new group is formed from the major businesses in the area; the hoteliers and the accommodation sector; local food producers; four groups representing small business sectors; the cultural sector; Campbeltown town centre management; and community representatives.
Respected and able local names include Peter Stogdale (representing West Coast Motors and Kintyre Express); and Stacy Keys representing the Machrihanish Dunes Village Project; Mary Dott, Campbeltown Town Centre Manager; Pamela Galbraith of Alba Heritage Trust; Les Oman of Les Oman Associates and McMillan Foods; Flora Sandford, co-owner of the Ardsheil and Seafield hotels…
There is real building of critical mass in this, with the energetic involvement of the major businesses in the area and significant numbers of other and varied business interests.
They have already held preliminary discussions from which is emerging a Steering Group to take their initiative forward.
They started as they mean to go on – in collaboration with others in Argyll and the Isles.
They invited Mike Story, Vice Chair of Argyll and the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership, to come to their preliminary meeting to brief those present on how they might work with the wider partnership in ways that would assist the promotion both of Kintyre and Gigha and of Argyll and the Isles at large.
They made contact with the experienced and successful Islay Marketing Group who were positive and helpful, sending their own constitution as a useful model for possible adoption.
Everything about this speaks to the realistic awareness that together we add up to so much more than the sum of our parts; able to make a real impact on the markets we need to reach – and able to deliver the needs of those markets above expectations.
The more that Argyll and the Isles is the umbrella brand at the forefront of the public consciousness, the greater the numbers of visitors and potential visitors who will discover the distinctiveness of the areas that contribute to our astonishing diversity.
With the Kintyre and Gigha group, the right sort of experienced expertise with an eye to innovation and change looks like coming together in the right places, marshalling combined capabilities.
All this area has ever needed to do is to believe in itself, take charge, collaborate and get moving. Its natural resources are awesome; its tourism-facing resources now contain stellar provisions that are the equal of anything anywhere. The partnership between mainland Kintyre and the Isle of Gigha is a seductive one, with each contributing character, experience, ideas, resources, attractions and markets to the other.
There is specific work to be done – with the A83 for a start – but with this engine behind it, we have every confidence that what is necessary will get done.
Argyll and the Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership and Food from Argyll are in committed support.
The next step is the formation of the Steering Group to progress the initiative and this is in hand. An inaugural board meeting is coming up in the near future which Mike Story will attend in support. First on the agenda then is the development of a marketing strategy for the area.
Mike Story is the walking proof of the difference that can be made when the right person coincides with the right time and the right place. The right person is not only someone with Mike Story’s high level international marketing and development experience with Marriott hotels. It is someone with the altruism that puts the greater need first and works in that interest with no care for personal reward.
The performance of Argyll and the Isles in its first ever appearance at VisitScotland’s Expo this year proved in short order the real ability across the marketing groups that have come together to form this strategic umbrella group.
It also proved the unmatchable power of teamwork and collaboration. What was happening over in Edinburgh in those two days was a total blast. From first hand observation, they really made a mark on the entire event. This is only the start of what is possible.
With Kintyre and Gigha now on the move and in purposeful mood, Argyll and the Isles is playing with a full deck.
At local and at regional level, this is partnership working. It is about teamwork, mutual supportiveness and mass attack.
The days of the suspicious lone wolf – seeing everyone and everything else as competition, constitutionally and philosophically unable to collaborate for fear of losing an iota of anything – have gone.
They are replaced by a genuine awareness that every success benefits the area as a whole and that a triumphant branding and marketing of Argyll and the Isles as a regional destination will lift every area and every business here along with it. It’s ‘shoulders to the wheel’ time.
This is about giving to the common good for the common good – and the inspiring reality is that so many folk have got the message.
We offer the Kintyre and Gigha marketing group all possible best wishes. We envy them the fun they’ll have with the fabulous material they have at their disposal. We welcome the support they will get from Argyll and the Isles Tourism and from Food from Agyll. They can count on our unstinting support.