Branding is more than just a fancy logo. Branding is your pathway to recognition and memorability. It’s there to create trust, to draw customers in, to make your product something that inspires wonder and starts conversations.
This is true for small companies, medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, and yes, cities of the world. While city branding can be tricky and needs to be done carefully, it’s no less useful and important. If you know all the right tips and trust the right professionals to handle things for you, the city you’re trying to advertise is bound to thrive and become a famous tourist destination.
We’re here to help. If you want your city to become a success that keeps generating revenue through tourism, here’s what you need to do.
Shape people’s perception
You need to be aware of what you’re doing here. Branding a city isn’t about marketing alone, and you won’t be able to promote your city the way you would a business or a product. There’s a lot more to it.
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What you really want is to shape people’s perception about what your city is and what it can do for them. Everything from activities available to the locals to the policies that are in place can give people a picture about the atmosphere and the mood of a place, and this will influence the way you market it.
Figure out what makes you different
Don’t try to recreate the New York City feel or be the new Paris. Those places already exist and you’ll never do what they became famous for better than them. What makes your city special? Are there any signature dishes that everyone loves? Maybe there’s a very successful industry that you’re known for? Maybe it’s a beautiful local forest, or a fun festival that happens every year.
Take stock of everything that happens around the place, everything that the locals love, and turn it into the identity that you can show off to tourists.
Invest in both functionality and decorations
It won’t matter that your city is beautiful if public transport is considered to be the stuff of nightmares. An important part of branding is simple city maintenance and investment in functionality.
One of the most important parts of this is good lighting. A well-lit city not only looks more beautiful, it’s also easier to navigate and enhances the flow of traffic. Invest in good professional tunnel lighting solutions to bring some brightness to those dark corners of a city’s structure, and light up large public places so the city can maintain its liveliness well into the night.
Preserve local history
While every city should be modernized and use smart city technology, this should never sacrifice cultural heritage and history of the place. Preserve old parts of the town that hold meaning to the locals, and maintain museums, statues, and buildings of cultural significance for your people.
Encourage citizen pride
The best way to advertise your city is through the locals. If they are happy to be living where they are, they’ll act as the best possible brand ambassadors that you can find. It’s important to have a progressive vision and to involve your community into the process of city planning.
Bear in mind that while tourism is certainly useful, your own people are the ones who live in the town and need to be happy and comfortable there. Contact influential leaders and members of the community and see if you can involve them in the branding. They could act as stakeholders and offer you more resources if you simply sit down and listen to their suggestions.
Influential people are usually local celebrities, successful small business owners, politicians, or any other popular locals with the means and the clout to make things happen.
Branding a city is a process that takes a lot of time. It will happen over a course of a few years at the very least, and the length of the process itself makes it tricky to always stay on top of the situation.
That’s why it’s important to determine key performance indicators (KPIs) and monitor everything closely. Gather data and analyze it periodically to see where you stand, and then use this data to show investors that their money is being well used.
This will also make it possible to notice any flaws in your plan or change things up in case things are happening too slowly for your liking.
This is a gargantuan task that needs to be approached with caution and care. Make a budget then allocate it accordingly and develop a clear vision of what you want your city to look like. After that, it’s all about working towards your vision and continuously investing in making the brand look good.