Councillors were tonight presented with a monthly update on promotional efforts for the town centre, including details of the Hello World app.
The purpose of the meeting was to update the Employment, Business and Investment Scrutiny Committee with requested information on progress of promotion of the town centre – you can read the full report presented in this PDF on the Council’s website.
Cllr David Taylor asked about the Hello World app, which he said is ‘fantastic’, and enquired how to get it to reach more people. He referred to the download figures of 1,472, saying it is ‘not a huge amount’ and requested that schools and similar are used to promote it to gain further installs. (There is a link below so you can try it yourself!)
Chris Henshaw, a marketing and communications officer of Wrexham Council said: “It’s a good technical tool, it’s got 250 businesses and works well. The big problem is to find a resource to promote the tool.
“We have built something that is pretty good, but it’s almost like it’s locked away out of sight. We could develop it further, with push notifications and more content, but the problem is that the promotion of the resource is the issue”.
“It is atough challenge with the resources we have to promote it.”
One Councillor visited the Wrexham.gov.uk website during the meeting, and pointed out there was no obvious promotion of the app on the site. It was pointed out that the brand being built is ‘aside’ from Wrexham Council to aid engagement.
Cllr Dana Davies suggested that each Community Council and other hubs use their networks to promote the app and the town centre as well.
A wider context was given to the development of a ‘virtual team’ in Wrexham Council to add skills and knowledge to build ‘resilience’ in such digital efforts.
Suggestions to promote Council items such as the app included to put them on road sweepers and Council vehicles. Amanda Davies of Wrexham Council said that there is a bizarre rule that states that Council Vehicles can only have two stickers, and that they are on the waiting list for this.
On a mention of the forthcoming Real Ale Trail Cllr Paul Blackwell enquired if a bus full of beer drinkers would be safe. He was told by multiple members how real ale drinkers ‘sing’ rather than anything else. Another suggested a visit to a taxi office in town at 2am on a Friday night would be an interesting contrast.
Cllr Skelland asked about the £50,000 promotional budget in the report presented, stating: “There is no mention in the report on what it achieved or what it as spent on. There are no performance indicators.”
Cllr Rogers pointed out: “This information was given to you in November”. Mr Skelland enquired about £30,000 that was not listed, with £20,000 noted in the November report, however was told that the money was all allocated.
Amanda Davies told the meeting: “Although it is a large amount £50,000 does not go a long way for example the radio campaign was £8,000, the app itself was £12,000.”
The general perception of the town itself locally was discussed, with one Councillor saying he was a ‘wanderer’ and Wrexham’s town centre is ‘very good’.
Cllr Rogers encouraged talking up of the town saying: “If I talked the town down like some people it would be headlines in local media. For some reason people want to talk the town down.
“There are references to empty shops, we only own 24 in the town and most are let yet we get the blame.People need to be more proactive promoting Wrexham.”
The footfall figures in the report were challenged, with Mr Skelland referring to the methodology as a ‘dismal way to collect the information’.
The Town Centre Manager referred to Eagles Meadow having counters, but Wrexham Council only having two people with the odd free time and clicking style devices to collect information.
Wrexham Council’s Steve Bayley said it was a cost issue, as previous counting systems could cost around £20,000 whereas this method is much easier and cheaper.
The issue of empty shops was further discussed, with Mr Bayley giving further detail to actions the Council are taking with non-council owned properties: “There is no incentive for absent landlords to care. We know who the bigger landlords are and we are starting a dialogue with them.
“The two or three we have spoken to recently have bent over backwards to offer near free rents to household names, not because it’s Wrexham, but because their business model does not work anymore.”
The meeting resolved to receive further updates in the future, and noted the report.
For those wanting to nose at the Wrexham Says Hello site click here – its been updated recently so probably changed a fair bit since you last saw it.
Let us know what you think of it!