Freo's View


Posted in bid, city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on March 28, 2018


Fremantle Council is considering scrapping the BID but the timing for it appears to be all wrong. Why do it now when there is major development going on and much more starting soon, that impacts negatively for the next years on CBD traders. They need nurturing, and at least that is what the Business Improvement District is good at.

Jenny Marslen of BID is a great nurturer. She connects regularly with our traders with positivity and great energy and that reassures them. BID is good at doing small things right but I don’t know that they get the big picture yet.

The scrapping of BID is probably driven by the Economic Development and Marketing department director, who expressed from the moment he started his position in Fremantle that he was not a fan of BID. I probably agree with him that BID in its present form does not work as well as it could, so it needs to reinvent itself, step up and change, or falter.

But is handing over $ 300,000 to the ED&M department a better idea? I can’t see much evidence that the Fremantle Story marketing is making a tangible difference, and while it gets a lot of hits on its website it is a hard to navigate the clutter of hundreds of small promo windows.

I also wonder why the officers suggest to council to create a group of marketing experts to guide them, and even to engage a marketing company. Why do we pay marketing officers  high wages when they need outside help to do their job? It happens all the time in all forms of governments and should be strongly scrutinised.

A marketing, PR or advertising consultant will want at least $ 200-300 per hour to sit around a table for a chat, without any guarantee of improvement, and the plan to also have a member of the Chamber of Commerce on the expert marketing panel is baffling, unless the FCC does have a professional marketing person on their board.

I agree that BID needs to improve or go, but why do it now when the inner city looks like it has been bombed, and it won’t get any better soon with the development of the Manning building, and two developments in Henderson Street due to start, and it will get a lot worse once the massive Woolstores shopping centre development starts.

The scrapping of BID is not a priority as it makes little sense to start a new major marketing campaign for Fremantle before the Kings Square Project is finished. What the city should do instead is to start working on creating a marketing and festivities campaign that will be implemented in the last quarter of next year when Kings Square will become a great attraction for shoppers.

I suggest to leave the nurturing of the CBD traders to BID for the time being but put them on notice that if they do not change BID will be abandoned at the start of the 2019-20 financial year in July next year. But if Fremantle Council scraps BID make sure to offer a job to BID’s Jenny Marslen who is a great asset to the group and Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

2 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on March 28, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Your point about the differential rates only be used for CBD marketing is very valid Darren. My personal opinion is that Fremantle does not market itself well. In High Street we have got one of the most beautiful shopping streets in the world, and as a bonus it ends on a gorgeous little beach, but that story is not been told.
    The marketing of Arthur Head and the Roundhouse in connection with that is none existent. I could go on.


  2. Darren Roberts said, on March 28, 2018 at 8:39 am

    It is interesting that they want to scrap the BID, which has a strong membership of businesses in favour of creating a separate entity to oversee marketing.

    If you remember in the beginning there was discussion and a plan to push the City marketing out to the BID when it was formed, a plan that was quickly scrapped after a change of officers at the city.

    Differential rates are raised and I believe only to be allocated for the area in which they were raised from (ie can only be spent on CBD marketing not whole of city of fremantle marketing, so what safeguards would be in place to protect that?

    There is a notion often pushed around by the city that brands like Fremantle Story only have a finite life, why is that? I have not noticed Apple, Coke or any number of other brands thinking their brand has a finite life, they refresh from time to time but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

    There seems to be a lot of commentary on Fremantle Story not working or have not been a good strategy. All that aside, if anything, it is starting to get some traction as it has finally reached the scale it needs to be and is getting more mainstream media support.. As with the BID, it must be said that the councils offices do try very hard, it may be that a better oversight and strategic direction will help them significantly.

    Fremantle already have an organisation setup that can fulfil this role as described, it is full of passionate and dedicated people, and if the city wants to change the oversight / board composition of the BID they take that path.

    However I guess this is a nice pot of cash sitting there that could be used to specifically promote Kings Square when it opens, that must look very attractive. The rest of Freo must not be forgotten as this is only going to be a minor addition to a city which many excellent assets already.

    Just my 2 cents.

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