15 January 2014

Kingston Society Public Meeting: Marketing Kingston's markets

Our speaker at January's Public Meeting, following the AGM, was James Kennedy, Commercial and Marketing Director of Kingstonfirst, who told us about the new promotion activities for Kingston's markets. He also took lots of questions and we had a long and interesting discussion.

James started with some information about the customers of the markets. They see the markets as serving three groups of people; residents who do some of their regular shopping there, the 18,000 people who work in Kingston and the many visitors to the town. At the moment only around 1 in 10 visitors to Kingston buy anything from the markets.

All of Kingston's markets are being brought under one brand. This look-and-feel will be used mostly for Kingston's Ancient Market and Kingston's Monday Market but will be extended to other special events, such as the night markets. The look that they have gone for reflects the chalkboards used by many of the traders. A new website is being developed to promote the markets and this will have a piece on each of the traders that will include a short video.

In addition to the website there will also be a free quarterly magazine and extensive use will be made of social media like Facebook and Twitter. There will also be branded merchandise, and I quite liked the cheeseboard.

Kingstonfirst want to make the Ancient Market a cultural and creative space, making it the heart of Kingston again, and it needs one as Clarence Street is soulless. They hope to be able to use the Memorial Gardens occasionally as well but only if they get approval from the British Legion. I am not sure what this will mean in practise, and I suspect that it will not be my sort of thing, but anything that breathes life in to Kingston outside of the shopping and nightclub hours has got to be a good thing.

The night markets are successful but are expensive to arrange.

The Market House is an important part of the market but this is under the control of Kingston Council rather than Kingstonfirst. This was also the case with the renovations to the market place over the Christmas period.

James' talk was very interesting and very well received as the level of questions and comments showed. Kingstonfirst have clear and realistic plans for developing Kingston's markets and the Society supports them in this, as do I.

1 comment:

  1. This concept is so out of keeping with the ancient market place. It is a superficial construct that will be so dated - it rivals cinemas with carpet up the walls - the very worse of 70s planning. A total disgrace.


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