Well, maybe not so much an image problem…as a profile problem…and maybe not so much a profile problem…as an inadequate profile…

Tantalising as it may be right now, imagine yourself for a moment being in a real, physical bar…talking to a real, physical person…and they ask you “So, what do you do then?”.  You take a refreshing sip from the drink that a real, physical member of the bar staff has just poured, and you confidently say “I’m a Place Manager”…and they say… “A what ??”.

Whilst the next few minutes will be familiar to the seasoned Place Manager (and which usually culminates in their counterpart triumphantly stating that they now understand that you are a Town Planner…!), there is a serious point to this subject, namely that people are generally unaware of Place Management!

In many quite frightening cases, this lack of embedded understanding extends as far as people who really should know all about it…Local Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships, even some major businesses.  This, however, needs to change for a number of reasons. Not least of all because it is SO important to the recovery and future viability of our towns & cities.

Whilst the industry itself may not make things particularly easy to understand (being variously populated by a range of Place Management models…from Town or City Centre Partnerships, Business Improvement Districts, Town Teams and Community Interest Companies, to name a few), what is important is that Place Management is recognised as being VERY important to VERY important assets at a VERY important time.

So, let’s maybe start with a collective and sustained push to raise awareness of Place Management and all of the fundamentally important activities which that entails.  The promised land is obviously that the importance of this key practice is not only embedded more into the collective consciousness of key parties…but that those slightly awkward conversations are more likely to be avoided when restrictions are lifted and we get back to those bars…