I just finished reading the book “City Branding” by Keith Dinnie. It opened my eyes to how hard it is to build a sustainable brand. It takes years to allow the message to get out and for the message to remain consistent. It needs to be funded and there needs to be constant commitment. I feel some cities and countries today are just trying to launch flashy and fun campaigns, within a short period of time, to gain instant buzz.
The definition of city branding is a combination of marketing and urban studies. The city administration must complete a strategic examination of trends in the social and economic environment before even coming up with a brand. A brand is based on city values, attitudes, behaviors and characteristics. It’s hard to come up with a brand building marketing campaign if you really don’t know much about the city. Residents are instrumental in building a city brand, without them the brand is weak.
Lately, I’ve seen many country and city brand building marketing campaigns, and I always wonder if residents were involved in the process. Resident satisfaction is the ultimate outcome for city branding. If the residents are happy with the branding campaign then it has been a success. Residents are the most loyal ambassadors, and if you take their feelings and opinions into consideration you’re on the path to success. It takes more time to get residents, businesses, city government officials involved in the process, but it’s worth the effort.
Could you give me some examples of cities or countries doing a good job in getting important stakeholders involved?