Behind the BID: Let’s get digital

17 June 2020

Tara Tomes

Tara Tomes, Chair of Place Marketing Working Group

As I sit and write this from my home office, which was once a spare bedroom but now a new-look HQ for EAST VILLAGE, it seems a lifetime ago that we were all together in Colmore BID living our daily lives without a care in the world. How times have changed in just a few short months…

As we adjusted to life in lockdown, looking back it has almost been “business as usual” for the Colmore BID teams. Zoom calls have kept the central team, board and working groups connected each week, and whilst we’ve had some challenging decisions to make (like having to postpone this year’s Colmore Food Festival), we have adapted quickly with new projects and initiatives taking shape. From the Coronavirus Business Support Hub to online wellbeing sessions, we’ve been doing our best to support the businesses, workers and residents of Colmore BID – whether operating as normal, working from home or on furlough. Lockdown has been a great example of what #ColmoreLife is all about; promoting the vibrancy of the area for those who live, work and play here.

I joined the Place Marketing Working Group about four years ago, when I moved the business to the area, and I became Working Group Champion last year. We’re the “keepers” of the brand, if you like; overseeing the website, social media and Colmore Life Magazine. As well as key partnerships with arts and culture brands that enhance our offering.

Whilst a challenging few months, we’ve seen some really exciting developments for the marketing side of the BID. We’ve welcomed Chris Brown as Communications Manager and he’s already an incredible driving force for new projects that improve both our internal and external comms. With the majority working from home, we’ve moved Colmore Life Magazine to an online version – Colmore Lite – that we’re now releasing monthly, with business success stories and thought leadership articles putting a spotlight on key BID projects and giving BID members the chance to talk about how they’re adapting in the face of Covid-19.

We’ve also been looking at how we develop partnerships with other local organisations going forward now that events and mass gatherings might have to take a backseat. Linking with our fellow working groups, like Community Building, Colmore BID is promoting digital events like weekly yoga with Katy Insley. As well as partnering with the likes of Business Live to host online debates about the future of the city… we’ve got three great sessions coming up on leadership, homelessness and transport so make sure you join us if you’re able. In line with feedback from BID members during the last re-ballot, there’s also a new brand and website project now underway as we look at how we present the BID in the most effective way.

The next focus for us is how we support businesses in getting back to the BID, and Place Marketing will be helping to promote the advice and services that we’re offering members. We’re also working on a joint project with other BIDs in the city centre that aims to drive people back to stores, shopping centres, venues, bars and restaurants, as businesses start to re-open.

This is just a taster of what’s to come, so make sure that you stay in the loop via our website and social media, as we all get used to our “new normal” together.