March 23, 2016

City branding: the European approach

CityLogo Project, funded by URBACT, the EU's urban development program, has great results about the new appoach of city branding. I selected some exciting findings from the report on project closing event.
The key strategic statements of CityLogo Project:

  • The need to re-learning city branding. Fancy logos and self-promoting campaigns are dead. Long live local competitive identities!
  • Narrative is the first and most fundamental. Data-driven storytelling is the most difficult but most effective way to fight against marketing bullshit.
  • Cultivating uniqueness to avoid the lack of differentiation in today´s city branding. Do you brand your city/region/state as a modern, outstanding place (even more: a capital of something), providing fantastic opportunities in biotech/infotech/cleantech/nanotech etc industries? Now the bad news: everybody does it. To be interessting, you should be different.
  • Crowdsourcing the city story. Your team is probably great. But your place brand is stronger if you involve local people to tell the city's story. You have to support it and not to create it. "Branding is a question of internal marketing".
  • City branding is basically an organisational challenge. "From a governance perspective, city branding is about creating a shared working area for the diverse entities in the city targeting and interacting with the different audiences."
  • City branding does not come to replace the different sector-focused city marketing practices. "...specialized marketing teams will keep a vital role for sure, within a new context where synergies can be now fully exploited and the range of city messages and stories will gain in consistency."
  • Cities need to expand the concept of what communication action is.  On this way, feel free to study my guide on economic development blogging, economic development slidesharing and more. These 21st century communication channels cost almost zero but deliver great results.
I say, these findings are not earthquaking but can provide a little different insight into the European city branding challenge.
Finally, I embedded here the 'final conclusion' video of Oslo, a partner city in the CityLogo Network:

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