City branding strategies have moved beyond the creation of an attractive logo and a graphic poster with a bold catchphrase. Once seen as a decorative afterthought, city branding is gradually evolving into an urban management philosophy. A multidisciplinary approach is emerging, tapping into experience previously set aside for corporate marketing. New branding synergies are increasingly an indispensable part of the city toolkit to compete culturally, economically and socially.
City marketing continues to be driven by a desire to re-adjust city image among national and international target groups to correspond with an emerging on-the-ground reality. Most world cities continue to prioritise investors and tourists as the main audiences of their marketing initiatives. In other cases, local residents and ‘internal stakeholders’ are the target, while sometimes more specialised audiences, such as professional foreign talent, international students or sector-specific corporations are the key audience. Increasingly, city governments are investing in building the brand platform of their cities so that a consistent set of messages, and style of messaging, can be used to reinforce the positive elements of the city’s offer.
The Business of Cities provides clients with advice on and analysis of city branding and marketing strategies.