Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
ESSEX JOURNALIST Simon Heffer has a lot to answer for. In the mid 1990s he coined a phrase which has beleaguered on...
ESSEX JOURNALIST Simon Heffer has a lot to answer for. In the mid 1990s he coined a phrase which has beleaguered one of the largest, most diverse and historic counties in the UK.

The Essex girl and Essex man phenomenon has been more powerful in shaping people's perceptions of the area than any marketing campaigner would dare to hope for.

MORI research shows Essex has the highest recognition ratings of any county in the region. Unfortunately, the images people outside the county hold of Essex are not particularly positive. Essex CC and the Essex Economic Partnership believe this is having a negative impact on tourism and investment.

Leaders of business, industry, local government, the media, tourism and academia recently got together to consider what might be done to dispel popular stereotypes about Essex. As a result the county has made a commitment in its local public service agreement to enhance the image of Essex and by doing so increase tourism, investment and cultural events in the county.

Some of our government colleagues were somewhat sceptical. We have had to work hard to demonstrate that a target related to image is legitimate for a council.

Essex organisations are already working together on campaigns to boost the county. A 'Real Essex' tourism campaign was launched earlier this year, exhorting people to experience Essex for themselves. The campaign is primarily targeted at those in the surrounding counties.

The Real Essex campaign has just been supplemented by the launch of the Essex Festival of the Countryside by Essex resident, author and feminist, Professor Germaine Greer.

Other initiatives include the Essex Book Festival, which is supported by high profile celebrities like Tony Parsons, Melvyn Bragg and Libby Purves.

Meanwhile the Essex economy is prosperous and unemployment is lower than the national average. The council is working to support business in the county and launched the Essex Trade Centre in January.

Having succeeded in persuading the government to include the image target in the PSA, Essex is now embarking on a partnership effort to turn its high profile to its advantage.

A recent conference held built on this work and helped develop a collective approach to promotion. It was classic Essex. Loads of ideas, loads of enthusiasm and a desire to get cracking with some real action.

peter martin (con)

Cabinet member for regeneration, Essex CC

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.