The Outdoor City: Sheffield’s Outdoor Marketing Campaign

If you asked most people to sum up Sheffield in a couple of words, steel and industry would probably be amongst the majority of answers. But this northern powerhouse is quickly gaining a new identity through an outdoor marketing campaign – as the UK’s go-to destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Sheffield, the outdoor city

Sheffield, the outdoor city

Partners including Sheffield Council, Sport England and National Trust have joined forces to launch Sheffield as The Outdoor City. The campaign aims to highlight Sheffield’s unique landscape (one third of the city is in the Peak District National Park) and culture.

And just eight months on, the campaign is already reaping rewards by bringing passion, talent and money into the city.

“Cities prosper by their ability to attract talent, but also by creating their own talent and keeping it,” the council’s deputy leader, Leigh Bramall told The Star.

“Quality of life is a massive point as to why people want to live in a city. If we get this right we have probably got a better sell on that than any other city. Then we have got a city that looks attractive on any level.”

The Outdoor City comes off the back of a study from Sheffield Hallam which revealed Sheffield has the highest household spend on outdoor equipment in the country, high participation rates in outdoor recreation and more than 200 outdoor businesses.

Its dedicated website highlights activities for walkers, cyclists, runners and climbers including routes and interviews with local kit makers. It also features major events including the Cliffhanger festival, which brings some of the nation’s top climbers to Sheffield, and the Sheffield Grand-Prix, an inner-city road race which attracts world-class athletes.

The aim is twofold – to rebrand the city and shed it of its gritty stereotype. But also to instil a sense of pride and positivity about the place many people call home.

Coun Bramall added in his interview with The Star: “It seemed to me that Sheffield had the Peak District and culture of outdoor activities engendered in the city. Everyone thinks about it and how lucky we are, we know it plays a significant role in keeping people here. It’s the quality of life.

“This is about helping to attract, retain and develop the skills base to drive advanced manufacturing, creative and digital industries. It’s not the whole thing but part of the mix.

“We are building on something that’s known and real. We are not making this up. We’ve got credibility. And with everything else going on it all starts to add up.”

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