Leeds embarks on PR drive to raise city profile

Leeds City Council is set to put an external media relations agency contract up for pitch ahead of plans to launch its own city promotional body – provisionally entitled Marketing Leeds – to market the Yorkshire city domestically and on the continent.

The body, which has 17 members so far – including Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Yorkshire Post Newspapers, and regional development agency Yorkshire Forward – is set to launch next spring.

The council has also started the hunt for a CEO for the promotional body, and is hoping to have made an appointment by the end of January. Once in place, they will decide whether to rely solely on the newly appointed PR agency – or whether to also hire a team of in-house staff.

The winner of the one-year contract will have the job of raising Leeds’s profile using London-based national and international print media based in countries including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The council’s incumbent agency, Leeds-based Brahm PR, secured the contract in February for an initial one-year period, said Leeds City Council senior officer James Rogers.

‘We did a quick procurement process to secure Brahm through Yorkshire Forward, which it was already working for,’ he said.

‘Because we want a new contract, we wanted to go to the market, given the amount of public money we will be spending [on Marketing Leeds],’ Rogers added.

Brahm will be invited to repitch for the contract. A brief is expected to be ready next week, with an appointment expected in time for the winner to start work in January.

At the same time, Leeds is signing up local companies to its ‘Champions Initiative’. Firms have pledged to help fund Marketing Leeds in return for being promoted within Marketing Leeds’ own marketing and networking opportunities.

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