Why Cannes Mission was only the start


“Did you have a good MIPIM”?

That’s the question asked of, and by, many in the departure lounge at Nice airport last week as a tired army of UK property, investment and promotion-related stakeholders waited to return home.

All answered invariably in the affirmative...”yep, best ever”.

Seems you don’t fly down to Cannes for a week and declare it a waste of time.

As I sit writing this, back in Derby, the MIPIM week already seems such a long time ago. However, 2019 will not be easily forgotten as it was bracketed by two dramatic events.

A tailwind of 125mph whisked our team Midlands plane down to the Côte d’Azur on Monday where we were consequently welcomed by the bumpiest of landings (actually so serious that Manchester’s plane aborted landing and ended up in Italy and other flights were simply cancelled).

Any schadenfreude felt on Manchester’s mishap soon disappeared when our return trip on Friday suffered the same fate, as our windy landing back into Birmingham was aborted with only a few hundred feet to go.

Frankly a bit scary, and the second (successful) attempt to land was made in a quiet, compliant and slightly nervous atmosphere, punctured by relieved clapping once back on terra firma.

MIPIM, in French, le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier - (I know I still don’t get MIPIM out of this, but MIPIM it is) - is the world’s leading real estate and property investment event held annually in Cannes, France.


MIPIM is huge - 26,000 urgent delegates, suited and booted, 3,350 companies exhibiting from 100 countries – but nobody simply rocks up and does the business. It doesn’t work like that and takes a couple of goes to get it.

This year was MIPIM’s 30th edition, Marketing Derby’s 10th and my 19th.

For us, MIPIM fits as a key milestone in our year of promoting city and county, complementing activities such as our London Embassies and the Derby Property Summit (16th July at the Roundhouse for your diary).


Our class of 2019 was our biggest and best yet - a diverse group of talented people mixing experience, sectors and styles – all sharing a genuine passion for the promotion of place.

We went as part of the Midlands UK Pavilion, which itself attracted 5,000 visitors and, in my view, was an appropriate platform from which to promote Derby and Derbyshire at such a large global event.

Cornerstone to our team D2 calendar were the many pre-arranged one-to-ones with investors - conversations to create or cultivate relationships that bring jobs and investment - all supplemented by our events, most especially the packed Marketing Derby Embassy breakfast event which is now a landmark for many in that busy week.

For a country that parades its international status and ambitions, MIPIM can still raise envious comments about ‘jollys in the sun’ from some here in Britain. Some in the media cannot resist snide remarks about the sunshine, the yachts and the champagne. I have no respect for this perspective – if you are not on the pitch you do not get the ball – and, over the years, Marketing Derby has developed the experience to better understand what is reasonable to expect from the event and how to plan to achieve this.

Since returning I have already had two days in London in detailed one-to-ones, following up conversations initiated in Cannes.  


The added extras include the offline conversations that further strengthen the inter-team D2 relationships, the ability to assess the competition from other places and access to thought-leadership sessions that go beyond the world of property – this year’s keynote was the General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon.

A bonus for 2019 was the award we received from the Financial Times Foreign Direct Intelligence magazine for having the best inward investment digital strategy in the world (beating New York and Hong Kong into 2nd and 3rd place).

Yeah, no typo there, Marketing Derby’s digital strategy is the best in the world according to the Financial Times no less!

So, did we have a good MIPIM?

In truth, we didn’t have any stellar announcements to make in 2019 – our projects were either ahead or behind the MIPIM timetable. The real benefit this year, I think, is very much in the intensive meetings we had on specific projects in the hope of progressing delivery.

The proof of the pudding though will be in the outcome of the numerous meetings to follow, seeking to move investment forward, plus our ability to support achievement on the ground over the coming months and to start to think about our pitch for MIPIM 2020!