Snapshot of a BID

Or how a BID really works

CEO of Bury Beyond Parody with a single tweet gives a wonderful illustration of how a BID really works.

He praises the local rag, a freebie destined for the bin, an obscene waste of trees.

Why does he praise the local rag? Helpfully he tells us. Not shy in coming forward is Beyond Parody CEO.

  • our freebie rag praises our CEO

But not only does our freebie rag praise our local BID CEO

  • our freebie rag praises the BID
  • freebie rag praises the chair

And for good measure

  • plugs her business

This is not bad for one tweet.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

  • freebie rag sits on the board

So much for the Fourth Estate, a free press holding the local BID to account.

Now what of the chair of the BID, owner of the business given a plug?

How many failed businesses behind her? Is that a suitable person to head the board, it cannot be for her business acumen.

Her restaurant specialises in small plates and cocktails. Oh how we love restaurants that are stingy on portion size. Everywhere these days does cocktails. It is not because they have any expertise on cocktails they don’t. It is the huge mark ups to be made on cheap ingredients.

Check out her account, and vague hints she is running a personal vendetta. Hint hint, we all know who she is referring to, but she dare not name names as she could be heading for a libel suit.

Or put it another way, paranoid any criticism of the local BID, then play the victim.

Looking through Google reviews of her restaurant. Critics are wrong, one told to go and eat at Wetherspoon, another told if want a takeaway, order months in advance. It is like something out of Fawlty Towers.

If don’t like the criticism, resign. Or better still, wind up the BID.

Maybe though this tweet a one off, not the norm promoting business that sit on the board. How many times a plug for the restaurant owned by the chair?

  • 10
  • 20
  • 30
  • 40

Well let us just say forty times more than most businesses who may if they were lucky have been mentioned once.

The football season is upon us, expect self-styled footie pundit to start tweeting about Spurs. A local football club, er no. Thus of no relevance to Bury St Edmunds. Spurs must be grateful for the free publicity, especially when it is courtesy of Bury St Edmunds long suffering local businesses.

Are local businesses happy that an official BID account is being misused, BID Levy funds misused? In many organisations, this would lead to instant dismissal.

Not to be left out, the local freebie rag (with a seat on the board), promotes the restaurant of the chair of the board. Which of course CEO of Beyond Parody retweets (we would not expect anything less).

Following the recipe (I would rather look to see what expert chefs have to say), has nothing to do with saving the planet. We are told to buy from corporate chains (which extract wealth from the local economy. No reputable chef or butcher would sharpen knives in the way recommended. Use a steel. Ideally use a stone, then a steel to finish off. But yes, knives must be kept sharp. Where are the ingredients sourced from? No mention of regenerative agriculture.

If I wish for pasta, I visit a deli with excellent fresh pasta which they make on site.

He cannot resist can he, here we go again, promoting the restaurant of the chair of the BID.

Note: These tweets are within the space of 24 hours.

It is not though only tweets that are of concern. Promoting board members in a tweet, dissing businesses he does not like in an e-mail to all BID Levy payers. [extract from a recent e-mail sent to BID Levy payers]

  • Cold Call Advertising Opportunities (not supported by the BID)

Recently I have become aware of BID businesses being contacting out of the blue by phone or email offering advertising opportunities with two publications. One being the Bury & Thetford Tourist Guide and the other the Bury St Edmunds & Thetford Map.

It is of course your right to advertise your business with whoever you wish but it is my view opportunities like this need to be carefully considered to ensure that they represent good value for money.

Myself or my colleague Mike are very happy to have a conversation with you, should you so wish, to provide an objective view on adverting opportunities and whether they represent good value to your business. Feel free to get in touch about this should you so wish.

The BID provides over 40,000 copies of free maps throughout the year and Bury St Edmunds & Beyond is currently working with WSC to replace the existing maps around the town, where there is a charge for the maps.

BSE & B is the official Tourism brand for the town and as a BID member you are a member, at no additional cost.

BSE & B has a clear strategy of utilizing digital marketing as this can be regularly updated to ensure accuracy and accessed at any time.

Hard copy advertising, which can be very effective does not have these advantages and ”opportunities” like these two should be, in my view, considered in that context.

I know nothing of these tourist guides and maps, whether provide good value for money or not, that is for local businesses to decide, not Bury Beyond Parody.

The ‘services’ provide by Bury Beyond Parody, I use the term lightly, are not free, they are paid for by a compulsory BID Levy, you have no choice, whereas the tourist guide and map, have a choice.

It is not acceptable for CEO of a local BID whose only rationale for existence is to promote local businesses, to be dissing a business offering to promote local businesses.

It would never do of course, for a service to be provided, that shows the local BID to be redundant, grounds for it to be wound up, and the money saved, used to pay for extra services if thought to provide value for money.

BID Levy brings in £440,000. Salaries of three employees £120,000.

Maybe though they are doing an excellent job for Bury. If their recent posts earlier this month of empty streets is a guide, then maybe not. But comment on these photos, empty streets, comment will be deleted, blocked from making further comments. [see What the hell is the Our Bury St Edmunds BID doing?]

Market traders would also say not, their pitch fees have doubled. And why a one way taped of system to visit market stalls? And why are the market stalls not in one place?

Is this how local businesses in Bury St Edmunds like to see their BID Levy spent, an incestuous tweet from the CEO, an e-mail dissing business he does not like?

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