I read with interest a couple of items referring to the proposed rebranding of Shetland and in particular a statement attributed to Neil Grant, SIC director of development: ‘Shetland needs to be sold in an “honest” way following a rebrand of how the isles are promoted to the world and we can’t “over-embellish” what life in Shetland is like’.
Now I absolutely agree with the statement that Shetland needs a new and honest rebrand and no matter who does it, if honesty is to be a key principle in this then those doing this rebrand will need to think very carefully and avoid glaring omissions or glossing over things, so common in many rebrands.
Yes we still have the ponies, puffins, knitwear, seals and orcas etc, but another significant aspect of Shetland’s world renowned qualities is being ripped away as we speak, in the name of progress, money, technology etc, so I am wondering how honest the rebranding will be?
At this stage it doesn’t matter if one is a supporter of Viking Energy or against it because significant change to Shetland is here now, whether we like it or not. Here and looking set to continue as the floodgates (‘scuse the pun) are open, to continued change until there is no room for another wind turbine between Sumburgh and Skaw.
The Viking Energy project is not only changing Shetland physically, it’s changing the emotional condition and health of the community. Changing it in a way that I cannot see any comparisons in history apart from Sullom Voe, which at the time also had its supporters and objectors but if my memory serves me right, never split the community back then quite like Viking Energy has done.
So in the rebranding will the wind farm be added to the list of reasons why folk may wish to visit or work in Shetland? Will it be factored in as positive addition to island life as its ongoing development and other satellite additions creep along the skyline?
If it’s added to the wonderful list of things to see here in Shetland, you will need to make allowances for what happens when visitors speak to folk out and about the isles, who may tell them how unhappy they are living in/under this new industrialised landscape?
Speaking as somebody that has been part of a number of new initiatives and a few rebranded projects over 30 years for so, Neil, Promote Shetland and particularly the tourism sector will have to be very honest when rebranding Shetland.
Good luck with this one as I am definitely very pleased I am not involved and fear you’re are between a rock and a hard place trying to create a new message with such a cancerous addition to the ingredients in the new menu.