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The recently appointed Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, Rachel McQueen, outlined her vision for the future of the Red Rose county at a special ‘Leaders Lunch’ hosted by Downtown in Business at the Barton Grange Hotel earlier this week.

McQueen told the audience about her career journey leading to her taking up her new role in April, which included a decade working in Greater Manchester, and expanded on the opportunities and challenges she expects in her new post.

“Lancashire’s diversity is one of its strengths, but of course that diversity can lead to a confusion in messaging at times. If we can get our marketing message to be more consistent, that will support our objectives going forward.”

Those objectives include turning day trippers into longer stay visitors to boost the visitor economy; attracting inward investment into the county; and bidding for a “game-changer” of an event that can elevate Lancashire’s national and international profile.

Asked if Lancashire’s parochialism was a frustration for her, resulting sometimes in a dumbing down of the county brand as local towns pushed their interests ahead of the ‘attack brand’ Rachel said:

“I don’t call it parochialism, I call it passion. I think its fine that Burnley, Preston, Blackpool have pride in their local area, and I don’t think we need to dilute that. However, I do worry about initiatives that try and breakdown Lancashire into ever smaller chunks. East Lancashire, Pennine Lancashire, Central Lancashire. They don’t really help get our message out to the market effectively. I think we have to be far more aware of who we are trying to reach with our marketing collateral. We are good at talking to ourselves. We need to get better at talking to the outside world.

“Our sales pitch shouldn’t be based on imposed administrative boundaries. It is about establishing a brand that can work for the whole county.”