David Nicol

Dynamic new branding for Shetland

November 27, 2020

NB Communication is proud to present a fresh new brand for Shetland, developed to help the islands look forward to an exciting and prosperous future.

The rebranding project is part of our work on the Promote Shetland destination marketing service, which we deliver on behalf of Shetland Islands Council.

Since we commenced running Promote Shetland we have consciously evolved the way that we present Shetland to the outside world. We have deliberately sought to present a fuller and more all-encompassing idea of what Shetland is really like, seeking to highlight what distinguishes us from other areas and to build a dynamic and meaningful brand. To this end we have increased the emphasis on Shetland’s modern amenities and high quality of life, while striving to still promote the natural and cultural heritage that Shetland is rightly proud of.

Shetland's branding has traditionally centred around its heritage and aimed mainly at a visitor audience. We wanted to make it more forward-looking and dynamic to reflect the real Shetland and position it as an attractive place to live, work and invest, as well as a place to visit.

From this starting point, we commenced a major exercise to develop a new brand proposition better suited to Shetland's situation today.

The result is the new 'Islands of Opportunity' branding which, we believe, demonstrates a fresh way of thinking and talking about Shetland, putting a firm focus on the opportunities ahead, while not forgetting Shetland’s nature and heritage.

The new positioning presents Shetland as the dynamic, vibrant and connected place that it really is. Shetland is not a cut-off entity floating in the middle of the North Sea, it is innovative, forward-looking and connected to global conversations about everything from sustainability to the space industry. These islands have an incredible abundance of untapped potential, and there are exciting times ahead as we progress into the future.

Brand launch video

The rebranding

The new brand marque is a fresh evolution of the old ‘Pride of Place’ logo, while new guidelines set out a new vision of the Shetland brand: welcoming and authentic, but also dynamic, inspiring and forward-thinking. We want to avoid presenting Shetland as remote and parochial, but instead to present it as outward-looking, and part of national and global conversations.

We have completely redeveloped shetland.org and refreshed all other digital channels using more aspirational magazine-style content, stronger photography and a greater focus on authentic, people-driven storytelling. We believe that the most compelling ambassadors for Shetland are the people that already love living here, especially those that have moved from elsewhere to start a new life. Their stories will convey the message honestly, that these are Islands of Opportunity.

Why now?

After several decades of prosperity and growth, Shetland has had a difficult 2020, in line with much of the world. But while industries like hospitality and oil and gas are currently facing challenging times, Shetland has an opportunity to refocus and thrive in the coming decade and beyond.

Established industries such as fishing and aquaculture can look forward to a prosperous future, with new white fish markets in Lerwick and Scalloway a signal of post-Brexit confidence in Shetland’s biggest sector. There’s also major potential in future-facing industries as Shetland transitions from oil and gas to become a nationally important centre for renewable energy. Exciting developments in wind and tidal energy, part of a broader process of decarbonisation, will take advantage of the islands’ natural advantages and existing know-how. The Shetland Space Centre on Unst looks set to play a major part in the UK’s plans to launch small satellites into polar orbit. Meanwhile, more established sectors such as food and drink are innovating and evolving to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace.

Moreover, Shetland is well-placed to capitalise on national and global trends: of people moving away from urban areas, often to work from home; of families reprioritising their lives, wanting to place more emphasis on nature, sustainability and community. Shetland’s natural beauty is well-known, but we want the world to see more than that: to see career and lifestyle opportunities in a forward-looking society with great schools, world-class infrastructure and a rich, vibrant island culture.

We also want to show that, starting with a big push in 2021, Shetland can be one of the most exciting travel destinations in the UK – a place to find a warm welcome, amazing local produce and truly wild nature. We want to retain Shetland’s appeal to niche-interest visitors but broaden it to anyone seeking adventure and cultural immersion without having to leave the UK.

You can view the new branding on the Shetland.org website.

If you're interested in finding out how NB Communication can help market your destination or would like us to help you create a compelling brand story and digital strategy for your business, then please get in touch. We'd be happy to help.

November 27, 2020

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