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Priority Three: Telling Our Stories

Telling Our Stories is about making sure that people in Thanet understand and use the Shared Story to develop their offer and communicate and market it; and that people who visit Thanet experience the Shared Story ‘promise’ - to develop a deeper understanding about Thanet, explore more of it and stay longer.

The Shared Story is a resource for public, private and third sectors, for agencies, community groups and businesses. The more it is used and seen, the more powerful it will become as shorthand for what is special about Thanet. The DMP priority is to make businesses and the community more aware of the Shared Story and equip businesses with the tools to use the Shared Story effectively in ways that work for them. Those businesses include accommodation providers, visitor attractions, restaurants, cafes, shops, events organisers and foreign language schools – every business that has visitors as part of their customer base.

Telling Our Stories is also about making sure that visitors experience the Story once they are in Thanet – so that their expectations are met, and they recommend the experience to others. When it comes to this aspect, the design of the public realm says something about Thanet and its values, creative qualities and identity as well as providing opportunities to tell some of its stories and deliver functional directions between places. Good information on arrival, wayfinding and trails can encourage people to explore further and understand more about the place. Modern technology means not all wayfinding and trails need interpretation boards and signs. Information can be tailored and delivered via smart phones, in different, engaging and interactive ways that require minimal maintenance. The Shared Story provides a way to link together all the elements of wayfinding and trails; it enables joined-up design, yet is also sufficiently flexible to respond to creative ideas and different approaches to fit specific themes, needs and locations.

The key areas of activity are:

Create a Shared Story Network & Toolkit for tourism businesses – The network will use the Story to engage and inspire businesses to work together, and to deliver a step-change in the Isle of Thanet’s tourism offer. The network will support and encourage cross-promotion between businesses, coordinate digital and resident communications campaigns and peer-to-peer learning. The toolkit will provide rich content to bring the Story to life in images and words, helping businesses deliver quality, coordinated marketing and promotion, and inspiring market-focused product/service improvement.

Create a welcome, signing and trails programme – to create a stronger sense of place on arrival (i.e. at stations and car parks) and provide visitors with wayfinding and information throughout their stay, to animate physical links along the coast using the Shared Story to inspire themes and design, and to integrate existing trails and walks more strongly with each other and with public transport.