We take a look at who made an impact at MIPIM 2018 and why it's a global shop window for UK cities and regions.
MIPIM or Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier, to give it its proper name, is an international property event hosted in Cannes in France every March.
To those in the industry it’s the world’s leading property event and brings together the most influential people in international property across all sectors. It attracts cities and regions from across the globe, hoping to meet with investors and developers and promote the key projects that will be transforming their skylines and infrastructure in the years to come.
Outside the industry there is an alternative view, that it is a champagne-fuelled knees-up for pinstripe-suited men to shout as loudly as possible about property deals they didn’t do while public sector employees throw large bundles of taxpayers’ money off the side of luxury yachts.
Having been involved in organising presences and events at MIPIM for UK regions and private sector clients for over 10 years, and orchestrating the supporting marketing and PR campaigns, it won’t be a surprise to find I fit into the former camp. I’ve witnessed first-hand the value it delivers and know of one major West Yorkshire retail scheme that might still be languishing undeveloped without a first meeting at MIPIM.
But focusing on the marketing side, one of the toughest tasks at MIPIM is to generate cut- through, when everyone saves up their best announcements for the event and all are competing for limited space in a fairly small media pool.
So I thought I’d do a quick round-up of who seems to have risen above the crowd at MIPIM in 2018.
Each year there is usually a general agreement that at least one UK destination, developer or investor has managed to grab the headlines and had a good year. More often than not, in UK terms, London grabs the headlines due to the size of the individual schemes and, let’s face facts, as the capital it always has an advantage.
The consensus seems to be that London, while rolling out some big schemes, actually offered a mixed forecast, with caution being the order of the day.
Manchester is famous for always putting on a good show, with an impressive presence and some major announcements. 2018 has been no different, with a series of North West masterplans gaining attention, notably Oldham and Bolton.
In fact the regions as a whole appeared to be putting on a confident front and talking up opportunities. The West Midlands landed a big hit with the announcement of up to £350 million Government funding for brownfield construction in Birmingham, Black Country and Coventry, to bring forward 215,000 homes over the next decade.
So the reality has been that no one destination stole the show. This year it was a topic that garnered the most attention, and that was diversity.
The #seetheelephant campaign, launched by the London Festival of Architecture to tackle discriminatory behaviour in the property and built environment sectors, was clearly the talk of the town.
With many delegates sporting their bright pink elephant badges and a strong social media call to design their own elephants, the campaign clearly caught the imagination and quickly became a hot topic at many of the events.
Given the current climate, with campaigns such as Time’s Up and #Metoo, and previous criticisms of MIPIM as such a male dominated event, alongside an increased awareness that MIPIM has become a target for journalists with a specific brief to report on the excesses of delegates, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, seeing the campaign embraced in such a way was hugely refreshing and it’s been the big winner in PR terms at this year’s event.
The influence of these campaigns and the attention of mainstream media is clearly also going to shape the MIPIM of the future. We are certainly aware of attending delegations being expressly reminded about expected behaviour, warned about the chance of being ‘papped’ by the press and events going alcohol-free for the first time.
When the Daily Mail blanket emails all attending local authorities and public bodies asking whether they paid for their own delegates, how much they spent and even where they stayed, under the guise of whether “public money is being put to good use”, it’s bound to have an effect. Especially when the headline is already written, because it’s the same one they’ve written for the last five years.
We need to remember that MIPIM is a huge opportunity to bring international attention and drive inward investment that might otherwise go elsewhere in Europe and beyond. It is a global shop window for UK cities and regions to raise critical funds at a time when local authorities’ budgets are being cut and the result of getting your presence and marketing right can be measured in hundreds of millions.