Successes and Challenges

One of the early successes for the Cairngorms Brand has been the large and imposing granite stones which mark the boundary of the Park on each of the major trunk roads (with the exception of the southern entrance on the A9, where the boundary is about to move south).

Each marker was fashioned from granite found in the Cairngorms National Park and exudes the values of quality, sustainability, strength and endurance, all of which support the values of the Brand.

Although getting the entry point markers in place was a large and complex project, as far as the Brand was concerned it was relatively simple and straightforward as the CNPA was leading on the project.  One of the biggest challenges for any Brand Manager is to try and ensure consistency and quality of message when they’re not actually in control of the usage!  Imagine if you were able to put your favourite brand identities onto anything you liked – do you think you’d always make sure you’d stick with uses that lived up to the intended brand values?

That’s exactly the challenge facing the CNPA.  As an ‘enabling’ organisation, it relies very much on the businesses, organisations and most of all, the people of the National Park to spread the word.  One of the smartest ways of doing that is by letting them use the Cairngorms Brand. 

There are criteria that businesses and organisations have to meet in order to try and make sure the brand values of quality and environmental sustainability are upheld, for example, tourist accommodation businesses must:
  • be quality assured by one of the national tourism bodies (VisitScotland, AA etc)
  • be committed to achieving within a year a level of ‘green’ accreditation (GTBS, Green Globe 21 or similar). 
Over time and through use of criteria, it will give those who use it not only recognition of location, but a very special USP (unique selling point) to boost their marketing proposition by ensuring everyone knows they are living up to the values of the National Park.

Guidelines are in place to help businesses and organisations use the brand correctly, but because of the ease of copying electronic files these days, it can sometimes stray into the wrong hands!

It’s also very important for those using it to understand that the Cairngorms Brand does not represent the National Park Authority.  This is a very new and innovative concept and can be difficult to grasp when we’ve such a well understood ‘standard’ for National Parks in the rest of the UK.