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BUSINESS SURVEY RESULTS EXPOSE EMBARRASSING VIEWS ON FAILINGS TO FULLY EXPLOIT THE ROBIN HOOD CONNECTION

BUSINESS SURVEY RESULTS EXPOSE EMBARASSING VIEWS ON FAILINGS TO FULLY EXPLOIT THE ROBIN HOOD CONNECTION.

"Enlightening, damning and disappointing in equal measures" was how Bob White, Chairman of the World Wide Robin Hood Society summed up the findings of their Robin Hood "Brand" Business Survey which were released today. "We had 436 responses to our Sixty Second Survey." said Mr White. "Businesses were asked to rate their agreement/disagreement with 12 statements about the City and County's connections with the Robin Hood legend and overall, the replies and comments emphatically confirmed the view that not enough is done to exploit the real potential."

(A summary of the Survey responses and a selection of the additional comments received are contained in the two appendices at the end of this release.)

The diverse nature of the businesses who responded covered a wide spectrum, ranging from small operators with just a handful of employees, to those with several thousand but Bob White commented that "The most surprising and disappointing factor was the lack of response from any of the representative business groups, who had been specifically targeted for their views. This tends to indicate that certain quarters of local business and commerce are still not comfortable with the traditional Robin Hood associations. This reflects badly on a City that claims to be "visionary" and somewhat embarrassingly confirms the negative criticisms expressed in many of the survey replies! "

"There was also a "deafening silence" from the creative design and marketing sector" said Mr. White, "But after further enquiries, "off the record" verbal responses we received implied that the embarrassing "Slanty N" debacle of 10 years ago still cast a long shadow over any branding issues for Nottingham and creative marketing companies were wary of getting their fingers burnt!

During the last 30 years, some elements of the local business and commercial sector have been particularly dismissive of the Robin Hood connections, which resulted in damaging vilification by the media and the public of the City and County's marketing and creative reputation! The Society carried out the Survey in a genuine effort to specifically discover why such a negative attitude existed and with a view to the findings helping devise a positive, co-ordinated strategy to get the best commercial and economic benefits from the traditional associations with the Robin Hood legend."

Mr White concluded that undertaking the Survey project had definitely been worthwhile and that publishing the Brand Awareness Guide as a background reference had also generated many complimentary responses and appeared to have really opened the business community's eyes to the power of the Robin Hood legend. He said "Establishing enduring and instant public recognition is a vital element of creating a successful marketing brand and the Robin Hood legend has already achieved that on a phenomenal global scale – fulfilling every objective in the marketing textbook. What's needed now is some positive action to reap the benefits and turn the potential opportunities into practical reality! In the words of one of the comments received in reply to our survey, it's "Time to wake up and smell the coffee!!"

For further comment or background information, contact Bob White by telephone on (0115) 9523183 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

APPENDIX 1: SHOWING THE LEVELS OF AGREEMENT/DISAGREEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE TWELVE SURVEY STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT THE ROBIN HOOD CONNECTION.

Statement 1 – "It helps put the City and County "on the map!"... 99% agreed – 1% were less sure.

Statement 2 - "It generates " local pride"... 97% agreed - 3% were less sure.

Statement 3 - "It is irrelevant to 21st Century business"... 59% agreed - 31% were less sure. (*This statement was the only one that resulted in varied responses across all 5 levels of the survey, which clearly demonstrated a wide spectrum of views and opinions on this particular issue.)

Statement 4 – "It has become a globally recognised iconic "brand".... 99% agreed – 1% disagreed.

Statement 5 - "It has become a divisive distraction... 99% disagreed – 1% agreed.

Statement 6 – "It is an old-fashioned/out-dated image"... 97.5% disagreed – 2.5% were less sure.

Statement 7 – "More could be done to capitalise on the benefits".99% agreed – 1% were less sure.

Statement 8 - "It has no place in business" ... 99% disagreed – 1% were less sure.

Statement 9 – "It is a proven conversation "ice-breaker" and a popular general talking point"... 99.5% totally agreed - 0.5% less sure.

Statement 10 - "It's a "millstone" round the City & County's neck"... 99.5% disagreed - 0.5% less so.

Statement 11 – "It is an "over-played" factor ... 98% disagreed – 2% less so.

Statement 12 – "It represents an under-exploited marketing and publicity asset"... 99% agreed – 1% less so.

APPENDIX 2: A SELECTION OF COMMENTS MADE BY THOSE SURVEY RESPONDENTS WHO EXPRESSED FURTHER VIEWS AND OPINIONS ON THE ROBIN HOOD CONNECTION BY COMPLETING THE ADDITIONAL SECTION PROVIDED.

"As a non-native to Nottingham, having arrived a couple of years ago, I was very surprised to learn there was no real visitor centre for the Robin Hood legend, which I believe would be a massive pull for the city. " (Claire - , Hotel Manager)

"We changed our orchestra's name to the Robin Hood Youth Orchestra in July 2013 and it does seem to have made an impact in terms of profile – but that is just our perspective and not based on scientific fact. The majority of our young people were fine about the change but there were a couple of dissenters" (Janet, - Nottingham Music Service.)

"We underplay Robin Hood massively and frankly, if we were in America, there would be public outrage! Hollywood made millions out of Robin Hood – we make peanuts!" (Andy, - Headteacher)

(Continued...)
APPENDIX 2: ( CONTINUED) A FURTHER SELECTION OF SURVEY COMMENTS.

"I originally ran the Nottingham Property Investors Network meeting for Landlords and I branded this as The Legendary Nottingham meeting, capitalising on our Local Legend that is known throughout the UK. This branding made it the most recognised meeting throughout the network and there are 51 in the UK. I am sure that a re-branding pushing Robin Hood would work wonders!" (Paul, - Commercial Photographer.)

"More needs to be done in Edwinstowe, as lots of tourists come away from Sherwood Forest disappointed." (Local Publican.)

"They say something has achieved true fame when it can be recognised through just its silhouette... Robin Hood, his hat, his bow and everything else of him can be recognised that way globally – and in a positive light. Makes for the perfect branding in my opinion!" (Steve, - Digital Marketing Executive.)

"I think it's more appropriate for firms with Nottingham in their formal title to incorporate some form of the Robin Hood legend in their image/logo. For smaller local firms and traders, working in a Robin Hood connection would be a personal choice. Nottingham itself has a "question of identity"! A bolder, yet subtle Robin Hood connection might work wonders here!" (Ken, - Local History Society.)

"As a tourist to Nottingham, I would definitely want to see attractions that celebrate and inform of Robin Hood." (Karen, - Theatre Manager.)

"I have always found on my travels that Robin Hood is frequently mentioned both nationally and internationally in brewing circles and people always talk of Nottingham fondly. We have always found it useful to tap into the legend of Robin Hood as one of our marketing tools but without over relying on the theme as, due to its accessibility, Robin Hood is open to all." (Colin, - Brewery MD.)

"I believe that before Nottinghamshire can maximise the potential of the Robin Hood legend it will be necessary to package what is known through folklore, historical records and the places associated with Robin Hood into a totality that can be marketed to a number of different markets." (Robin, - Events Company MD.)

"Apart from anything else the city really needs a first rate visitor attraction that tells the story of the legend in all its complexity." (Rob, - University Lecturer.)

"It is irrelevant to 21st century business! Businesses are all about the money and giving to the rich, stealing from the poor. It IS relevant if Nottingham is going to try and change this and offer free/cheap events. Robin Hood is an iconic story/legend. NOT a brand. The image of Robin Hood to make money from the public defeats the ethos. Do not exploit it – Robin Hood would disapprove!" (Louise, - Training Executive.)

"I am strongly of the opinion that Robin Hood could be introduced more into education by means of Art and English etc. in both primary and secondary schools." (Cormac, - Artist and Poet.)

(Continued...)
"Given the number of films/books/TV programmes about it, I am always very surprised there is not a bigger public attraction in Nottingham. If you are famous for something, why not completely capitalise on it? It's not such a big factor for our type of business... but I think it could be a much bigger tourism attraction, bringing people to our city from all over the world. Think 'Disney World'!" (Daniel, - Banking and Financial Services.)

"I think we need an "angel of the north" type sculpture. I think the whole magical element of the forest needs to be exploited. The airport needs local artists and produce - more business-to-business links involving the forest – there is so much potential!" (Nicola, Photographer.)

"Massively under-sold as an opportunity for local businesses. Retail/Tourism especially. There needs to be a bigger sense of pride. It's all very well "us" in the city downplaying it – but visitors WANT it!" (Greg, - Public Relations Executive.)

"Robin Hood may or may not have been a single person, the legend being passed on by word of mouth but does it matter? The current most iconic character in the world is a Mouse! – that brings in millions/billions of dollars annually into the States! What would the Americans do if they had Robin Hood?" (Stuart, - Retired Training and Marketing Company Executive.)

"None of us are born in Nottingham, so this is an outside view but the "brand" to us means cheap and nasty pubs and chip shops or lazy branding and poor, plastic Chinese goods. Records show that if he did exist, Robin Hood was a law breaker and murderer but also a re-distributor of wealth. The latter could be used for a "Shop Local" campaign but Nottinghamshire supports big business mostly." (Adam, - Coffee House proprietor.)

"We take our name from the colour of dyed woollen cloth associated with the legend of Robin Hood. References to our local legend are always made with a respectful nod, rather than overtly. We will never feature a bow and arrow or feathered hat in our marketing material." (Anthony,- Brewing Company Executive.)

"In the Nottingham Post's 'The Great Nottingham Debate' (27/11/14) Robin Hood was discussed in the city's projection of its identity and contemporary opportunities were discussed such as the success of several recording artists that reference the legend and its imagery in their music (e.g Jake Bugg and Sleaford Mods). It was felt that, compared to Manchester – which purposefully projects an identity linking historical legacy to more contemporary references – Nottingham could do more." (Chris, - University Business School Lecturer.)

"I see that Leicester's Richard III Visitor Centre and Leicester itself has won a Rough Guide Tourism Award and is expected to be the No.1 tourist centre in the Midlands in the next few years. Meanwhile, we have Robin Hood, a Brian Clough statue, not many tourists and NO AWARDS!" (Roy, - Gift and Design Store retailer.)

"Marketing specialists will always advise on capitalising on strengths. Firms pay fortunes and often fail in efforts to gain brand awareness. One of the most powerful brands in the world is Robin Hood, ranking in line with Coca Cola, MacDonald's yellow 'M' and Disney – time to wake up and smell the coffee!" (Stuart, - Kit Car Manufacturer and Business Entrepreneur.)