Nick Sandford and Samantha Dalton on the new Environment Capital Slogan

Nick Sandford (LibDem Cllr.) and Samantha Dalton (Conservative Cabinet Member) talk to Paul Stainton about Council’s plans to rebrand Peterborough with a new slogan, Home of Environmental Capital. Two interviews here in the order in which they were broadcast, at 07:10 and 08:10 respectively on Wednesday 8th September 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire..


PS: Now, as we can exclusively reveal on the show, the new logo for Peterborough is Home of Environment Capital. Yes that’s right. It could be adopted by Peterborough City Council. They’ve not voted on it yet. But it could be the new slogan to push forward a new green agenda for the city. It’ll go before a full Council meeting in October. These people told our reporter Emma McLean what they thought about the slogan. (TAPE)
VOXPOP I: It’s a bit different though. Like it’s not blue. Like Peterborough’s usually blue innit like.
VOXPOP 2: It looks OK. Yeah it looks fine.
VOXPOP 3: It’s the colour really I think. You know. With a P in the middle. Yeah it looks quite nice. it’s sort of modern looking. It’s full of colour.
VOXPOP 4: It’s quite attractive and very colourful. Quite simple.
VOXPOP 5: Quite like it actually. And the P in the white is good. Couldn’t you get a new one for Folkestone? Because we’ve got nothing for Folkestone.
PS: Yeah. Some people were shy. (TAPE)
VOXPOP 6: I don’t want to go on camera. (LIVE)
PS: Yeah it wasn’t a camera love, it was a microphone. But anyway listening to that was Councillor Nick Sandford, LibDem spokesman on environmental issues. Home of Environment Capital Nick. Brilliant.
NS: Not brilliant, no.
PS: No.
NS: I think it’s a bland and meaningless concept. I very much like to support .. I support the current aspiration that we’ve got of creating the UK’s Environment Capital, because that gives an ambition that we want to work toward. I think the reason they’ve come up with this bland and meaningless concept of Home of Environment Capital is because to claim that we are The Environment Capital would be completely without any credibility, because we are .. there are a number of things like recycling, we’re very high performers on. But there are a number of areas, we’re constructing an incinerator for instance. I’ve highlighted on your programme that we’re tearing out sixteen thousand square metres of shrubs all over Peterborough. That’s not the actions of an Environment Capital. I think that the key thing in this document that’s going to the Environment Committee on Thursday is it says that the concept has been developed by a team of marketing and communications professionals.
PS: Ching Ching.
NS: Yeah. I think it’s all about PR and spin really.
PS: These logos cost us a fortune as well. we’re still paying for some of them aren’t we? Rowen’s been on. He says, “The Future is You. That cost seventy grand.” How much do these things cost? There is a cost implication, isn’t there?
NS: Yeah absolutely. I would imagine they’ve probably employed some expensive professional consultants to advise them. You know, how many different logos and how many slogans do we actually need? What I would say, if we’re going to aspire to be the Environment Capital, what we need is actual targets that we can aim for, and measurable things that we can show when we’ve actually achieved it. In this document that’s going to Environment Committee on Thursday there’s a Home of Environment Capital Strategy. And it contains massive commitments like, we will reduce the impact of climate change, we will minimise the release of substances into the environment.
PS: But there’s no meat on the bones here is there? And we’re not doing very well in a lot of these areas, are we? We’re not doing that great.
NS: No. Well there’s a number of indicators that the Government produce. There was one on how local authorities are performing on there on climate change. And far from being the best in the country, we were actually one of the poorest performers. There are certain things that we do really well. There are other areas that we don’t do well. Rather than coming up with these bland PR and marketing concepts, we really need to have some meaningful targets. And when the Emvironment Committee discussed this back in June, they said clearly to the Cabinet that if you’re going to claim to be Environment Capital you must come up with objective criteria. What they’ve come up with is a bland meaningless slogan.
PS: Stop the talking. Stop the headlines. Stop the logos. Just get on with it.
NS: Well absolutely. I agree with that. And I’m really committed to the concept to strive to create the Environment Capital.
PS: This logo doesn’t even make sense though. It’s not even good English. Home of Environment Capital. They need a “the” in there.
NS: Yes. I think the problem is as soon as you put the word “the” in there it implies that we are The Environment Capital, and I think that would be very difficult for them to actually prove.
PS: The bad English can be excused by the fact that we don’t want to make out we’re something we’re not.
NS: When you’re a marketing and PR professional as these people obviously are I think you tend to use the phraseology that’s most convenient.
PS: And the old slogan I mentioned earlier, The Future is You. Does that mean the future isn’t you any more?
NS: I think you need to ask the marketing and PR professionals about that. (LAUGHS)
PS: (LAUGHS) Is there a serious point to this? If we do have the right slogos, if we do have the right branding, can we attract green businesses? There must be some sort of reason for it. They put so much emphasis on logos and brands and ..
NS: Yeah. I think the problem is the Council’s going, like all local authorities are going, to go through a really hard period now when they’re going to have to make savings. And what we see is our council focusing on real trivia. They focus on branding, they focus on PR. Obviously you need a bit of PR, but what you need is hard and fast achievements. You’ve featured in the past all the stuff going on in Cathedral Square. I’ve actually had Cabinet Members come to me and say that because we’ve got fountains in Cathedral Square firms are going to relocate to Peterborough, because of that.
PS: Who? Swimming pool companies?
NS: (LAUGHS) Maybe. There’s people running this council who actually think that because we’ve got good branding, because we’ve got a few water features in Cathedral Square, because we’ve got a good slogan, that’s going to boost the Peterborough economy. We need this council to focus on what is important, and not to focus on all these trivia.
PS: Well I put Peterborough into our branding computer this morning. I put it in. It gives me a slogan generator for Peterborough. I put it in. Do you know what it came up with?
NS: No. Please tell me.
PS: I’m stuck on Peterborough, because Peterborough’s stuck on me.
NS: Wow.
PS: Is that better than Home of Environment Capital brackets bad English? And can you come up with a better slogan for Peterborough this morning please … That was Nick Sandford environment spokesman for the LibDems, scathing about the new logo for Peterborough, or potential new logo for Peterborough. He says they need to put some meat on the bones, not just talk about it. Well, we’ll talk to the Council after eight.


PS: And the reason we’re talking about branding and logos and everything else is that Peterborough potentially will have this as its new brand. Home of Environment Capital. I could give that a bit more gravitas I suppose, couldn’t I? All right. (SFX) Home of Environment Capital. (-SFX) But we reckon it’s missing a word to make it proper grammar and all that. I mean I know I didn’t go to University, I know. But I’m sure that’s right. But it is the new slogan that could be adopted by Peterborough City Council. It’s to push forward a new green agenda for the city. It’ll go before a full Council meeting in October. I can’t believe it takes all these people to OK it. Councillor Nick Sandford LibDem spokesman on environmental issues is not a fan of this new slogo. (TAPE)
NS: I think the reason they’ve come up with this bland and meaningless concept of Home of Environment Capital is because to claim that we are The Environment Capital would be completely without any credibility.
PS: And this time I said slogo on purpose because I think that’s a good word. I’ve just made a word up, which covers everything, doesn’t it, when it comes to rebranding? Councillor Samantha Dalton, that’ll cost you five hundred thousand pounds to use that word. You’re Cabinet Member for Environment Capital at Peterborough City Council. Why do we need another slogo?
SD: We don’t need another slogo as you’d call it. This is what we’re trying to brand Peterborough as, as the unique selling point. Somebody said to me what do you think of Home of Environment Capital. I quite liked it. For me home is a sense of belonging, it’s somewhere hopefully the majority of people enjoy being, it’s about pride. And I think Home of Environment Capital means that everybody should feel part of this. It’s not just Peterborough City Council off running to be Environment Capital. It’s not PECT off doing it. This is something we should be delivering as a city. And hopefully with it being “Home of”, you know, it’s something people can feel part of.
PS: How does it sell Peterborough?
SD: How does it sell Peterborough? Well it says that Peterborough is putting Sustainable Cities at the forefront of everything it does, and the environment at the forefront of everything it does. And you know it’s something we’re living and breathing. Today, I don’t know if you’re aware, but Peterborough is being showcased down in London at the Prince of Wales Start conference, what’s it called, Sustainable Cities Summit, going on at Lancaster House. And Peterborough has been chosen to be showcased in front of all these big businessmen, and politicians, as leading the way from a sustainable point of view. So I think Peterborough is already out there as being a Sustainable City, and hopefully Home of Environment Capital builds on that.
PS: Yeah. What does it mean, though?
SD: What does it mean? It means that we really want to make Peterborough cleaner and greener. We want to conserve our natural resources. We want to increase the use of sustainable transport, grow our environmental business sector. You know, there’s a whole raft of things.
PS: How are we going to achieve all that? It doesn’t really set it out, does it?
SD: Well we already are. We already are. We’ve got policies that the city has implemented and we are living and breathing. You know Peterborough is one of four Environmental Cities. I think that’s a big accolade in itself, and the fact that we’re one of only three Travel Towns, travel demonstration towns. So I think we already are. Just we don’t shout about it enough. And I think we get criticised a lot.
PS: That’s because we’re falling behind on a lot of the targets, aren’t we?
SD: I don’t think .. I don’t think we’re falling behind on a lot of targets. I think nationally everybody is going through a recession, and you know that does affect some of the performance indicators. But I know we had .. Forum for the Future did a Sustainable Cities index in two thousand and nine for us. And we came out first on air quality, for biodiversity, for recycling, and I think people forget that the Environment Capital is more than just looking at what goes in our bins, you know, and what natural resources we do. You know it’s the air we breathe. It’s the water we drink. It’s how we treat our wildlife. I think you know it’s looking at the bigger picture.
PS: Mm. Do you think people get it? Do you think they care? I mean, is it just a badge that Peterborough City Council wants?
SD: Well this is something that you know isn’t a prize to go out and claim. This is something we are building. And I’m hoping people will be on board, because ultimately if you can save energy, for example, you save money. And then you can reinvest it in something else. And I’d rather save our energy bills than lose members of staff. And if it comes down to cutting our energy costs, or cutting staff, I know which one I’ll be doing first. I hope everyone is on board, and it would be nice to hear what BBC Radio Cambridgeshire is doing to help support the mission. (LAUGHS)
PS: Well we’ll help .. we help support lots of things in this city. We’re here to call you to account and find out how much things cost, and how you’re spending our money. Rob in Hampton texts in. “I’d like to know how much money was wasted to pay consultants to come up with another naff slogan.” How much did it cost?
SD: I don’t think it cost anything. Somebody rang me up and said “What do you think?” And we had a chat and that’s what we .. you know it’s still out to consultation. If people don’t like that, then we’ll pick something else. But for me, as I said earlier, I think it’s something that people can feel part of, and it’s not Peterborough City Council doing it. This is Peterborough as a home, a sense of belonging, a place that people want to come and be sustainable.
PS: Yeah. So it didn’t cost anything, and you’ve not taken any professional advice on it?
SD: Well we’ve got lots of people working on Environment Capital. Definitely. You know.
PS: But on the actual slogan, you just came up with it in-house? Who decided on it then?
SD: Trevor Gibson our Director of Environment Capital rang me up one day at work and said, “What do you think of this?” And I really liked it. And we had a meeting. We discussed a few options. And that’s what we went with.
PS: Good stuff. Samantha Dalton, Cabinet Member for Environment Capital at Peterborough City Council.