Picture: Lamerie on Flickr

What is the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Lancashire?

That’s the simple question was asked in a series of polls in the run-up to today’s Lancashire Day celebrations to establish what the county is most commonly associated with.

And the survey carried out by Manchester research agency Mustard found that more than half (53%) selected a food item rather than anything relating to its history, culture, society, emblems or landmarks.

By far and away the most common of these was that Coronation Street favourite, the Lancashire Hotpot (36%). But it is not just lamb and potato that people think of, with people far more inclined to mention Lancashire Cheese (9%), Pies (4%) and Black Pudding (4%) than, for example, the traditional Red Rose emblem (3%).

Geoff Barnsley, Director of Brand Alignment and place marketing experts Brand Vista, believes the stand-out resonance of Lancashire Hotpot is no bad thing:

“Given the rich diversity within the British Isles, it is notoriously difficult for place brands to cut through to a UK wide audience. The key is to be known for something unique that you can own and being recognised for great food is certainly no bad thing. However as a place you would want to be recognised for the range of things that make you special. Such brand perceptions and reputations can only be enhanced through a deep understanding of your audience, and a compelling brand vision that is communicated relentlessly and matched by the visitor experience.”

The survey showed women more likely to make food associations with Lancashire and men are marginally more likely to make sporting associations, including 7% of males who first associate Lancashire with cricket.

Around one in ten (9%) say Lancashire has “no meaning” to them, and a further 4% say “up North somewhere”. The lack of any association is particularly prevalent among younger audiences (17% of 18-34 year olds, compared with 5% of those aged 55+).

What do Lancashire mean to you? We’d love to hear in the comments below.