We've seen and read a lot about city reputations in the past few weeks. The looting and mayhem of early August inspired the I Love MCR campaign , a Marketing Manchester-led initiative backed by businesses with a speed and strength that showed how formidable the Manchester messaging machine is when called into action. The Facebook group for I Love MCR now has 21,500 members. I can just imagine a marketing degree module being formulated to study the coordinated activity of council, police, retailers, social media users.

Meanwhile, Liverpool has been named friendliest UK city in one poll and travel professional's favourite destination in another. The city's appeal for a cool European city break continues to gain credence, even as European Capital Culture 2008 recedes into the distance. Rather than aping larger financial and professional services bases, Liverpool's future could be better served by focusing on hotels, the arts, sport and music, than offices. The impressive Magritte show at Tate Liverpool, the third and final in a blockbuster summer series funded by the North West Development Agency, needs to be followed up next year. Thankfully, the arts managers are onto it – meeting the potentially awkward marketing challenge of the centenary of the Titanic (registered in Liverpool) disaster with a spectacular piece of street theatre planned for 2012 – hopefully another example of the sort of intelligent and accessible entertainment for which the city is gaining a reputation.

What Liverpool doesn't need after the success of 2008 and subsequent growth in hotel bookings, is any more apologetic sorry-about-past-sins-we're-nice-really campaigns like It's Liverpool . Speaking as a resident and fan of the city, I think that sort of correctional work was done three years ago and it's time to get on with enjoying our sunnier future.

Whatever the nuances of the way they're marketed, Manchester and Liverpool are on track.

Elsewhere, however, there is much work to be done. The challenge facing Chester, Preston, Macclesfield, Bury, Barrow – the list is as broad as the map of the region – is far greater. What is Chester's attack brand message today? How much do you know about Preston Guild 2012?

Place North West took part in the bold and ambitious Celebrate Cheshire expo last week , which shows the new Marketing Cheshire organisation is intent on raising the volume of an extremely capable business area which has for too long been drowned out by its neighbours' noise.

Others areas could do with following suit. It's okay to shout about how good you are, no matter how un-British it may feel.

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