New campaign champions 'World Class' Norfolk
Paul Hill, business editorNorfolk's credentials as a 'world class' place to live and work are at the heart of a bold new campaign to help lift the county out of recession and attract thousands of new jobs.Paul Hill, business editor
Norfolk's credentials as a 'world class' place to live and work are at the heart of a bold new campaign to help lift the county out of recession and attract thousands of new jobs.
The campaign will be launched in London tonight and will see Norfolk's virtues promoted on the nation's television screens, in the national media and on the internet with the backing of business leaders, politicians and celebrities.
Against the backdrop of the recession and rising unemployment across the country, Norfolk County Council's seven-month campaign has the target of attracting 'at least' 5,000 new high-skilled jobs to the county.
But the campaign will also challenge 'outdated perceptions and stereotypes' about the county and will flip the old 'Normal for Norfolk' jibe on its head by taking the motto 'World Class: Normal for Norfolk' as the central theme.
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County council leader Daniel Cox said one motive for the �200,000 initiative was to ensure Norfolk will be at the forefront of the minds of UK business leaders when the country moves from recession to recovery.
Research with more than 500 business leaders and 'opinion formers' around the country commissioned by the county council last year revealed that 63pc of those from outside Norfolk had 'little or no knowledge' of the county.
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Knowledge of Norfolk was poorest among those from London.
Mr Cox said: 'Many people will have only just returned from their holidays in Norfolk this year, and know everything there is to know about how lovely it is to visit, but our campaign aims to make sure that people see working in Norfolk or with Norfolk companies offers them a real competitive advantage.
'World class businesses and a great work-life balance are normal for Norfolk - and, of course, they go hand in hand with our world class sense of humour.'
Mr Cox added: 'Our campaign aims to help bring at least 5,000 more high value, knowledge-based jobs to the county, and treble the number of inquiries about investing in Norfolk - all in all not a bad return for the �200,000 campaign cost.'
The cost will be met by the Local Authority Business Growth Incentives (LABGI) scheme that rewards councils with extra government money if they are successful in stimulating the local economy.
The campaign will kick off at the Institute of Directors in London's Pall Mall tonight, followed by a national advertising campaign from September 15.
Mark Hodges, executive director of insurance giant Aviva and chairman of the economic development partnership Shaping Norfolk's Future, said: 'Norfolk has a vibrant business scene and dozens of world class businesses.
'It's time to spread that message far and wide and this campaign will help us achieve that. Norfolk is well known for its beaches and beautiful scenery. It is less well known as a great business location. World Class Norfolk will help change that."
Actress and Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, comedian and scriptwriter Kit Hesketh-Harvey, ITV weather presenter Becky Mantin and Fame Academy's Richard Park are among the celebrities to lend their support.
'Norfolk truly is world class and it's about time more people realised that,' Ms Holden said.
'I travel a lot but can honestly say I am always glad to get back to my holiday home in north Norfolk to walk along wide, unspoilt beaches and enjoy excellent local food and drink in lovely pubs and restaurants.
'Norfolk people are great too, with a fantastic sense of humour and a 'do different' attitude which this campaign highlights. World class really is Normal for Norfolk."
**See The Business section in Wednesday's EDP for more about the campaign.