Place marketing: is a city just a brand like any other?

Faced with strong competition to attract tourists and business, municipalities must step up efforts to modernize their service offerings and revamp their communications. The challenge is twofold: touristic and commercial; and to tackle it, cities need to switch to brand marketing tactics.

 

The new brand posture of cities

Cities have benefited from decentralization, which gives them more power, latitude and longitude to design and initiate programs based on place marketing. As a result, cost-effective communication and marketing are increasingly being seen as an investment that feeds the transformation needed to stand apart from other cities, those competing to attract both travelers and investors.

For cities and their local governments, messaging has become vital, and includes the design of unique graphic guidelines, outdoor advertising campaigns, as well as public speaking in the media.

City marketing : how to design a loved brand

Wi-Fi, a attractive engine, and the cornerstone of place marketing strategies

To maximize their reach and deliver a more modern and attractive service to tourists and citizens, cities have triggered their digital transformation. To promote their events and historical sites, cities have set up online agendas, designed valuable content, and implemented an online showcase that drives visibility.

User experience is the key goal of such undertakings, and cities have profit in deploying a connectivity offering that boosts value. Free Wi-Fi not only improves the delivery of services to users, but also enables a privileged access to data which is essential in shaping municipal services and offerings. This allows, for example, displaying web pages in the user’s language to make experiences more meaningful. Besides such practical considerations, cities have a true ambition: transform citizens into advocates, just like a brand would do for its own products.

 

With increased targeting, and delivering a stronger, immersive experience, cities are turning out to be more interconnected, digital and data-driven. This is the path for them to benefit from increased visibility and attractiveness.