The city brand investing in happiness

  • Client

    Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council


Describing themselves as “wonderfully average” and “a solid six”: could a city brand give this British town its full confidence back?

Working on a boldly redefining narrative to boost inward investment and put Basingstoke on the map, we uncovered its unique advantage and captured it in a simple line: Invest in happiness

People in Basingstoke are happier, it’s a fact

Despite great opportunities and a strategic location, the council were struggling to land on a story that put them centre stage and ultimately change the prevailing ‘Basingstoke or Basildon?’ narrative.

Running workshops with the council and a board of local businesses — as well as tours and conversations with local people — the unlocking piece of the puzzle came in the form of a single statistic from the residents’ survey: that Basingstoke achieved 93% satisfaction level as a place to live compared to the 80% national average. This was something to truly celebrate: especially in a post-pandemic era when both talent and businesses were reconsidering what a good location to grow looked like.

Moving on from ‘live work play’ narratives

Launched at UK REiiF, Invest in Happiness helped the council stand out from the ‘live work play’ narratives often used by local governments, to create more positive conversations with investors and explaining the scale of opportunity on offer. The narrative is also brought to life with a bold graphic treatment and in events hosted by the council, such as the annual Invest in Happiness Symposium.

We also developed a fuller story that backed up how Basingstoke was achieving happiness — from coining ‘Austen Country’ highlighting its surrounding natural beauty through to the proactive role the council play as a business partner.

Basingstoke didn’t try to compete on being the best or the biggest, instead we helped them find their own human-centred way of standing out in the investor conference melee, backed by real data and armed with their trademark smiles.

‘Invest in Happiness is an objective reflection of our true USP in a modern context, in line with both industry trends and stakeholder sentiment. The DNCO team delivered a fresh and ‘sticky’ narrative, and was great at securing buy-in from everyone around the table’

Marelize de Beurs, Economy and Place Marketing Manager,
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

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