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It's Not Just A Question of Money - A Change of Attitude is Required

As the dust settles on the recent disappointing announcement that the visionary proposals for Nottingham Castle had received a temporary setback from its unsuccessful bid to secure Heritage Lottery Funding – then, once again, the City has to face up to the constantly embarrassing fact that a 60 year old statue remains its predominant Robin Hood visitor attraction! A fact that to external commentators, marketing professionals and commercial investors - completely beggars belief!

Nottingham's apparent current inability to fully exploit its instantly recognised Robin Hood global brand also blows huge holes through the City's claims of creative credibility and marketing prowess. Consequently, the knock-on effect of such negative impressions also repeatedly damages Nottingham's commercial reputation!

Having had over 30 years public relations and marketing experience promoting Nottingham for the City Council, I am fully aware of the fact that its Robin Hood associations can be both "a blessing and a curse" - requiring constant monitoring to ensure any benefits are put into balanced perspective. I am also aware that, over the years, the Castle has a track record of having made some "shaky" decisions where its associations with Robin Hood are concerned - ranging from the rejection of the Madame Tussaud's proposal in the mid 1970's (they went to Warwick Castle instead!) to more recently turning away the free offer of the iconic catapult prop from the Kevin Costner blockbuster "Prince of Thieves" movie – (feeling snubbed, the local businessman making the gesture just let it rot in disgust!).

I still hear frequent rumblings of dismissive attitudes within the local business community from those who fail to see that Robin Hood has become a globally recognised icon of popular culture that has to be treated as a phenomenally successful commercial "brand". Comparative research carried out throughout 2012 clearly showed that all around the world numerous companies and organisations (with no Robin Hood connections whatsoever) effectively use the Robin Hood association to market and promote their products and services.

If Nottingham is to successfully convert its legendary Robin Hood associations into potential commercial benefits, then the authorities, the local business community and the general public all have to recognise that it is not just a question of money – a significant change of attitude is also required. So come on Nottingham, let's show the world we really do know how to get the best from our Robin Hood heritage!