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Sustainable Rotterdam

The city is re-inventing itself

Get a World-class Branded City in 5 Steps

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How does the city contribute to make citizens' life meaningful? How does it serve as a tool to develop their activities? Shoot-&-run doesn't work here. Branding requires long term commitment to the story and values of a product or service.

It is what you have to offer that counts, and a bit of communication:
  1. Identify core values of your city. What does it stand for? It is about accepting reality and extracting those values that unify every single citizen.
  2. Define your personality. Every city has its own characteristics that make it unique; some are classic, contemporary, or eclectic. Can you clearly define yours? Act consistently.
  3. Develop a consistent imagery. If branding is about telling a story that adds value to the product, it helps when there are recognizable visual elements attached to it. Design a logo, font type, colors, and style. Stick to it and apply to any media support. Additionally, exploit local imagery.
  4. Preach by giving example. Translate values into actions when practicing city management and policy making. (I.e. don't spend money publicizing the economic penalization of littering and at the same time allow it in public events)
  5. Be open to ideas and contributions. Let the community build into city values. Provide communication channels; make it easy to speak out and always provide coherent feedback.
Note: Landmarks definitely contribute to build city brand, as long as it adds to the story and it is appropriate for the context.

I bet that if for your city, you're able to tick each element of the list with the mark done & in place, then we are talking about a world-class branded city. Citizens become fans when high level of engagement with the story is achieved.

Proposal: For your city or town, name two examples for each element of the list. How many can you get on a scale of ten? Use the result as yardstick and act accordingly.

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posted by Oriol P., 12:26 AM


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