Cities are like companies. They offer a wide range of products and services, but also compete with one another, just like commercial organizations. Cities, like companies, care about attracting a greater number of tourists or investors. Thanks to an effective strategy and communication, they may receive financial benefits, but also often significant benefits for their inhabitants. No wonder that cities care about effective promotion campaigns, just like brands.
City as a brand
Why do cities need logos, strategies and promotional campaigns? When you compare a city to a brand, the issue becomes quite clear. The logo is supposed to attract one's attention, distinguish its owner and excite specific associations. An effective long-term strategy is supposed to help increase recognition and meet specific targets. What about promotional campaigns? They are supposed to build a strong, consistent and recognizable image of a city which will attract tourists and investors.
More tourists mean more points of sale which, in turn, is reflected in the possibility to generate additional jobs - this is only one of the benefits why it's worth organizing city branding as if a brand's strategy. After all, a city is a brand. Despite the different nature of communication - as compared to companies - the communication tools and channels remain the same. City branding has been effectively used for many years in numerous European countries.
Barcelona or Amsterdam are the perfect examples proving the effectiveness of such actions and they show how to organize long-term city communication without the boredom effect or falling into the trap of a rut. Cities in Poland have only started such activities some time ago, because they saw the benefits coming from promotional actions. It's worth taking a closer look at the communication of Łódź, Poznań, the Tricity or Katowice. The communication potential of a place is sometimes huge. Therefore, it's worth investing in promotion so as to reap a harvest in the future.
What's the secret of effective place branding?
As in the case of company branding, place branding may be effective or not, but the need to conduct activities promoting cities is indisputable. Of course, this should be done skillfully. The strategy is very important, because it determines the actions and measurable factors thanks to which we may see whether our actions bring a specific effect. The visual part is an indispensable element of the promotion campaign, and the logo is it's absolute foundation. This is a sign which must be strictly connected with the previously mentioned strategy
Communication should be consistent. The logo is an element with which the inhabitants will have the most frequent contact. It should be consistent with the communication, but it should also reflect the nature of the city and the inhabitants' values. This is an element that raises the biggest emotions among the inhabitants, and each change in this area involves the risk of criticism. However, as in the case of a company or a product, refreshing the image is sometimes necessary and giving up this action may involve yet greater losses.
Important opinions from inhabitants
Many specialists don't even question the need for city branding, regardless of the possible criticism from the inhabitants. Choices regarding the city's logo, slogan or promotional materials are not easy. The matter is complicated even more taking into account the fact that decision-makers dealing with a city's promotion campaign are usually in the spotlight. Their duty is to promote the city, and the inhabitants' privilege is to express their opinions. As a result, it's worth thinking about the form of social consultations when working on rebranding or launching the latest campaign.
Cities often do this in a non-committal form, asking about suggestions or opinions in the social media. The inhabitants are willing to share their ideas, and their opinions are often taken into account at the project stage. In addition, the inhabitants' opinions are important also for another reason - if they have a possibility to express their opinions, this means that they co-create the city. They add their contribution to the promotion and development of the place where they live. This is an element of local patriotism which should always be present in the promotion of cities.