Hamish Thompson, managing director of Houston PR, appointed by Milton Keynes Council to handle PR for the 2017 anniversary, told PRWeek: "The way in which we have approached this is accepting that there are perceptions that are in need of some adjustment."
One of the challenges has been to use some of the stereotypical views of the town, which is best known by some for its roundabouts and concrete cows, as a "bridge" to talk about other things.
Thompson referred to the Red Bull racing team, based in Milton Keynes, which is "at the forefront of racing innovation," as well as the local council’s involvement with trials of "one of the most sophisticated self-driving autonomous vehicle pod systems in the world."
The town’s 50th anniversary is a chance to reflect on how it has "emerged in fast motion over 50 years from a standing start," as well as looking ahead to the future.
Thompson said: "We’ve worked very hard to involve local residents, getting the people of Milton Keynes to tell the story."
The PR agency has also commissioned a local photographer to bring some of the lesser-known aspects of Milton Keynes to light.
It put together 50 facts about the town, which helped prompt widespread national coverage last month.
The anniversary of the town’s creation, last month, was a hook for a "huge amount" of national print and online coverage.
There were also numerous reports on broadcast media, including the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme and the main evening news bulletins on BBC and ITV.
Thompson commented: "Analysis is still underway, but we're already looking at more than 15 million impressions on social media and a reach in the tens of millions for print, online and broadcast coverage."
The agency boss added: "What will now happen over the course of the year is that there will be a series of further announcements, which are all linked to some of the things that Milton Keynes is going to be doing culturally and on a community level during the course of the year."
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