Nick Clegg hasn’t had an easy time of it in Liverpool this week. The first Liberal Democrat party conference since the election is providing a great platform for party activists who were less than impressed when Clegg agreed a coalition with David Cameron. One suspects he’ll be glad when the week is over.
The city of Liverpool itself is enjoying its role in the spotlight though. The nation’s press corps has set up camp on the waterfront and the amount of PR exposure the city is receiving, as well as the £10million boost the conference is supposed to have brought with it, means there’s no chance of Liverpool relinquishing its place as a destination of choice for party conference organisers.
In fact Labour has already signed up to be the next party in town, agreeing to host its annual conference there next year.
The other real winner in all of this is the Liverpool Echo. I wonder if, way back when it agreed to sponsor the city’s Arena and Convention Centre, Trinity Mirror envisaged its flagship Merseyside title would get quite as much PR exposure as it has this week.
Perhaps it was a nod to her home city that made her so accommodating this morning but, if 5Live presenter Shelagh Fogerty mentioned once in her reports that the conference was at the “ECHO Arena”, she must have mentioned it ten times.
Not once did she refer to the venue without plugging the name of the main sponsor. The Echo’s PR team must be over the moon, although it’s all very un-BBC-like I’m sure.
This fantastic exposure for the Echo has got me thinking about what it is that makes some sponsorships right and some wrong. I’ve never got to grips with why obscure foreign technology companies sponsor British football clubs for example. Where is the synergy? Or is all publicity good publicity?
By contrast the Echo’s tie up with the ACC is a perfect match. The newspaper prides itself on being the voice of the city, at the heart of its entertainment scene, and the home of real debate. With political gatherings and business events now added to the long list of music and theatre already offered at the venue, it’s almost as if the arena’s line up was sorted with its headline sponsor in mind.