TWO contractors have been selected to develop the identity and marketing of Shaftesbury, with the aim to create a “unique destination” for visitors.

As previously reported, ‘Companies A and E’ were approved during last week’s town council meeting to take on the roles of developing Shaftesbury’s identity, through tourism plans, a website, logo and other promotional materials.

It has now been revealed that Rocketbox Design was appointed to manage the town’s branding, and Shaftesbury local Karen Brazier, who does the social media behind Shaftesbury Fringe, was chosen for the digital marketing role.

Business manager Brie Logan, who formed a tourism advisory committee for the town two years ago, said this branding is needed to “raise the profile of Shaftesbury as a unique destination” and will send an “inspiring message [to visitors] to stay longer”.

She said: “We needed to look at marketing differently and what Shaftesbury stands for. We need something that sets Shaftesbury apart from other towns.

“There is such a misconception about branding - it isn’t just about creating a logo. There’s so much more to it.

"We know from our research that the majority of people want to visit towns that stand out and that’s what we need to do.”

Brie said that around 12 companies and individuals had expressed an interest in taking one of the roles, and the committee, made up of members representing the tourism industry in Shaftesbury, wanted to maintain local focus and connections in their choice of contractor.

She added: “There are so many hidden parts of Shaftesbury to explore, and if you are local you know all the secret parts of Shaftesbury and have that knowledge and experience to pass on.

“We want to reach out to those who have never been here [through branding and marketing]. It is really key that we get as many tourists as we can to enjoy our surroundings, landscapes, nature and shops.”

At last week’s meeting it was approved that £10,500 would be allocated to deliver a one-year digital marketing plan, with £2,500 withdrawn from general reserves.

In the report submitted to the council, it said that both companies had demonstrated they are “professional and forward-thinking”, with Company A “flexible in [its] approach to manage additional services as the project develops, including navigational signage and town tourism guide”.