Place Branding Success with Andrew Hoyne

Place Branding Success with Andrew Hoyne

With international travel, tourism and migration slowly returning, cities and countries will once again have to consider how they position themselves in a fiercely competitive market says Andrew Hoyne.

A strong narrative and place branding has never been more critical to a city’s success.

With over 3,000 cities globally targeting talent and investment, it is an extremely competitive market out there. So I’m truly shocked when I hear intelligent, business-minded people fail to understand the power and importance of a great place brand. Do they want their city to flounder amid myriad better branded, engaging cities and bid farewell to the significant social and economic benefits a strong place brand could bring? Place branding helps to shape a community and increase economic opportunities for citizens, and for businesses of all sizes. It can create competitive commercial advantages, communicating why people should visit, open a business in a place or invest money there. This helps to future-proof your city, ensuring success now and for decades to come. It should be seen as an optimistic, positive endeavour that creates value. It amplifies positive differences and celebrates what makes a place unique. It’s a call to action and today it is a non-negotiable factor for any city wishing to prosper. The right outcome will also deliver an improved reputation and increased civic pride.

But how do you measure success?

Firstly, go back to the original goals determined at the outset. Secondly, benchmark yourself against other comparative cities or destinations. These may include numerical markers, such as the local economy, investment, jobs, and the number of people moving to your city. Numbers are not the only measures, though, and some are much harder to quantify, including happiness, quality of life and access to opportunities. With the advent of a new wave of benchmarks, urban growth and management agendas have become far more holistic. Today, we look at factors like resident and long-term liveability, national and international identity and perceptions, smartness, culture and neighbourhood vibrancy, resilience, business and institutional investment, social cohesion and integration, leadership and institutions, plus innovation ecosystems. These all help to understand whether a city has ingredients required to attract and stimulate growth.

Or measure talent attraction initiatives?

The number of new start-ups and growth of the local innovation ecosystem. The increase in the number of international businesses who have established or meaningfully grown offices in that city. And any increase in the number of people migrating with professional qualifications who plan to stay as residents.

And how do you overcome negative perceptions?

Switzerland’s recent campaign tackles the perception that their country is rather boring. So while Switzerland is often portrayed in the media as being quiet and without drama, through their recent tourism campaign they’ve turned a negative into a positive. They’ve taken the Volvo approach, whereby owning the positioning of safety has set their brand apart and created global appeal. At a time when the world is so unpredictable, the idea of visiting a country where there is ‘no drama’ is very appealing.

You can view and download Andrew’s article from The Place Economy Volume 2 on building place brands from the ground up here.
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