Dubby, City Image’s mascot for Dubbo, with Mayor Allan Smith, Lana Willetts and Michael Burdon.For less than a million dollars Dubbo gets extremely good value promotion, according to Dubbo City Council.
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City Image was established by council at the end of 2007 to deliver a cohesive, co-ordinated promotion of Dubbo that encouraged growth and economic development.

But it has come under fire by a number of businesses and organisations it was designed to support.

This time last year City Image surveys indicated a 92 per cent satisfaction rate in relation to its key function areas – city marketing services and promotion, operating the City Information Centre, council communications, and council business marketing.

Last month Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Warren Williams expressed concern City Image “does not adequately address any concrete measures to move forward with (economic development), and is also not focusing on developing any measurable outcomes”.

Further questions regarding the value of City Image and communication issues were raised by the Real Estate Institute of NSW Orana Division, Dubbo City Development Corporation (DCDC) and the Dubbo Rural and Suburban Residents and Ratepayers Association during council’s draft management plan submission process.

Problems identified were a lack of communication, arguments businesses were being asked to support campaigns at short notice without being able to plan their spending, and the need for clarification on its initiatives and investment stemming from the function.

A review of City Image’s marketing strategy conducted by council acknowledged “the program needs to facilitate more face-to-face time with industry partners to communicate opportunities”.

But council’s corporate development director Megan Dixon said for $910,000 the organisation represented good value for money and delivered “not only tourism initiatives, but retail, new resident, investment, successful conference bids and event support for the city”.

Council’s manager marketing and communication Natasha Besseling was also quick to defend City Image which she said had four main functions.

City marketing services and promotion accounted for about 32 per cent of the City Image branch’s budget and took care of things like the Lovin’ Dubbo event and new resident welcome nights with the idea of promoting a positive image of Dubbo within and outside the city.

Operating the City Information Centre took up 35 per cent of the budget but the costs were usually offset by the sale of products and services, such as guided city tours.

The aim of the centre is to encourage Dubbo visitors to stay longer and last year it served about 100,000 visitors and sold almost $30,000 worth of souvenirs.

Co-ordinating council communications demanded 25 per cent of City Image’s budget and was responsible for producing annual and statutory reports, community and village newsletter and issuing media releases while council business marketing accounted for 8 per cent of its budget and is the sector responsible for producing brochures, assisting in website development, advertising and customer research to businesses such as the airport, Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre and the Western Plains Cultural Centre.

Some plans for the next 18 months:

* An education program with local taxi drivers to ensure they were a friendly and knowledgeable first point of call for visitors

* Sponsorship for the Rhino Awards

* Three new resident nights every six months

* Sculpture displays throughout the city

* General and seasonal street banners

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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