Articles

Collaboration is the key to a success of your place brand vision. Bettina Garibaldi, Senior Vice President at Ketchum, shared some of her insights with us around how collaboration can be leveraged to maximise the impact of your communication strategy and ensures that you're able to make the best use of your resources.

“Benchmarking allows us to actively share our responses to communication challenges with our peers and demonstrate our best foot forward,” stated Daniela Montiel, International Partnerships Manager at Marca Chile and one of the Jury members for the 2019 City Nation Place Awards. She added, “In my case, reviewing the benchmarks/entries from the past couple of years has truly been a source of inspiration.”

So what are our judges looking for? What do they think are the key ingredients of a great place strategy or place marketing campaign?

The meteoric rise in social media usage has provided an entirely new medium for countries to share their stories with the world. But how do you walk the line of promoting what makes your place unique whilst still acknowledging your history? Dr Robert Paul Jones, Executive Director of the G.U.E.S.T center at Texas Tech University shared his insights with us before he joins us as a speaker at City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean.

At first, Latin America seems enticing with its sunny weather, low cost of living, beautiful beaches, and incredible history. And without surprise, these features are frequently promoted in international travel and lifestyle media. 

But are these reasons enough to get a traveler or business motivated to seek out Latin America as their next destination?  Are the rich Latin culture, weather, and affordable cost what it takes to make its vibrant cities a top destination to work, live, and do business in?

Sometimes at City Nation Place HQ, it feels that we spend a lot of time focussing on the ever-evolving challenges that place branding faces – the problems that have us banging our heads on the wall in frustration. But it’s important to remember that there’s also a great opportunity to be creative and over the years, we’ve seen some truly innovative tourism and investment promotion campaigns. Here are just a few of the most imaginative and unusual place marketing campaigns that make our job, as collectors of place branding stories, so interesting.

We caught up with Daniela Montiel, International Partnerships Manager at Marca Chile, and one of our esteemed jurors for the City Nation Place Awards, to uncover her take on some of the key challenges facing place branding at the moment and what she will be looking for in an award-winning entry.

The FutureBrand Country Index measures the strength of perception of countries around the world in the same way we study consumer or corporate brands. Now in its second decade, the Index reorders the World Bank Top 75 countries by GDP according to strength of perception.

The Index examines what transforms a country from a spot on a map to a place our survey respondents ultimately want to invest in, live in, visit, and buy goods and services from. Countries have traditionally been measured and ranked by measures of might — GDP, population size, even a sovereign’s nuclear arsenal. However, in the current day when our world is defined by rapid change, do these measures continue to make sense in the ranking of nations?

June 6th saw nearly 200 dedicated place branders arriving in West Hollywood for the third annual City Nation Place Americas conference. As always, the debates were honest, the conversations cutting-edge, and it was an insightful and inspiring experience to exchange ideas with the top minds in destination marketing and economic development. However, in a day packed with perceptive commentary, there were five key ideas that particularly stood out to us.

Before he joins us as a speaker at City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean, we asked Glenn Jones, Chief Experience Development Officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority, to share their take on the key trends affecting place branding.

logo Clare Dewhirst Founder and Director, City Nation Place

Clare Dewhirst, Director of City  Nation Place, was fortunate to be invited to share what she has learned from our speakers, award entrants, and contributors around the key differences  between place branding and place marketing in a webinar session hosted by  Civitas, one of our Partners for the 2019 City Nation Place Americas  conference.  We’re happy to share the  script for that session here…

We’ve been lucky enough to secure some of the most innovative, creative and strategic minds in place branding and economic development for the third annual City Nation Place Americas conference, and with just one week to go until the conference, we wanted to share some of our speakers’ best quotes to help inspire your own place brand vision.

logo Jason McGrath SVP, IPSOS

As bite-sized vacations and road-trips are rising, Nashville sits at the cross-roads of several massive highways and within reasonable driving distance from a good swath of the population. Finally, Nashville is growing its population and its business-appeal. More people living there and drawn there for business meetings leads to word-of-mouth and “come visit me” requests that help fuel influence-based travel. Oh, and Music City is also booming because of great marketing.

But what’s next?

Leading destination marketers, economic developers, property developers and city leaders from across the UK arrived in Birmingham on Tuesday for the first annual City Nation Place UK conference. From start to end, the one-day conference was packed with exciting and inspirational conversations, as place branders shared their experiences through case studies and discussions.

Given the scope and range of the debate, it’s a challenge to sum it all up in one article, but here are the seven key takeaways that stood out the most.

With the first City Nation Place UK conference right around the corner, we’ve collated the eight best quotes to give you a quick teaser for the conference on the 14th May – but they’re relevant to place all around the world. With conversations spanning from international perceptions right down to leveraging neighbourhoods to drive your place brand strategy, the debates at the conference promise to be trailblazing.

At City Nation Place, we talk about creating and implementing nation branding strategies that engage all stakeholders. The Brand Summit South Africa is a working example of an initiative to bring together all the key voices of a nation to focus on how to develop and promote the brand to the world. Ahead of the second Summit, taking place on 6 & 7 June in Johannesburg, we caught up with Solly Moeng, the convenor of the Summit, to find out more.

Is the USA ahead of the UK when it comes to integrating destination marketing and economic development, and securing funding? Politicians and the private sector can be more supportive of economic development over tourism with funding – integrating tourism and economic strategies more effectively can secure longer-term financial security. John Lambeth, CEO and Founder of Civitas, shared his insight into the challenges DMOs face to secure funding and how collaboration is the key to long-term success.

A year ago, a report by the Center for an Urban Future highlighted a record increase in tourism to New York City over the past two decades and outlined the economic benefits that this had delivered for thousands of Brooklyn residents.  Brooklyn has no doubt benefitted from NYC & Co’s strategy of promoting the outer boroughs and lesser-known neighbourhoods.  Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Co discussed this at the first City Nation Place Americas conference in 2017, which also included a presentation from Franz van der Avert, head of Amsterdam Marketing, outlining a similar policy of sharing the load of over-tourism to create a broader distribution of economic benefits by encouraging visitors to explore further afield than the centre of the City – taking in neighbourhoods that, technically, were even outside the city.

For the first time, City Nation Place Americas will take place in West Hollywood, and we were fortunate enough to be able to discuss some of the key challenges facing Los Angeles with Ernest Wooden Jr, President & CEO at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Bureau, and our closing keynote. LA is now planning for the Olympics in 2028, and Ernest will be joining us to explore how they are developing a strategic plan to engage citizens, develop infrastructure to support sustainable development in tourism and its economy and secure collaboration between the key stakeholders to build a unified vision for the future of LA.

It’s sometimes possible that, when you are convinced of the value of what your organisation is achieving, you neglect the task of helping others to share the same vision.  At City Nation Place events we’ve often talked about engaging citizens, politicians, and the private sector in the process of place branding – working together to understand your place’s assets, creating a plan to grow and leverage your assets, and implementing that strategy with the consensus and contribution of all stakeholders.  However, in our research for future agendas, a new word is appearing in the conversations we are having with place branding practitioners around the world: “advocacy”.  There’s a growing recognition of the need to advocate for the beneficial impact of your place branding strategy – as Victor Hoskins, Director of Arlington Economic Development in Virginia USA  [one of the winning places in the race to host the new headquarters for Amazon] commented, ironically it can be when you are most successful that you need to advocate the most.

David Aboulkheir is an expert in place branding and is currently in charge of attractiveness at Lille Metropolis development and urban planning agency (ADULM). This article draws on the learnings of a workshop organised for the 39th national meeting of French urban planning agencies, which focused on design and innovation. It took place in Lille and Dunkerque, November 2018.

To make sure we’re on the right track at City Nation Place, we’ve been talking to place branding leaders around the world – those responsible for place making strategy, for tourism promotion, for economic development, for nation branding, for regional development and for city marketing strategy. There are come clear themes emerging around the common challenges, and perceived opportunities and so, as a preview of the topics we will be building into the Forum agendas, here’s our list of the eight key place branding trends for 2019…

Some of the scariest words in economic development are, “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” It’s a trope because it’s a sentiment people express every day. It speaks to the reputation of a place in general, and to aspects of that perception specifically. Cities and nations are places where people live, visit and work.

Amazon’s search for a second North American headquarters city has made economic development a headline-grabbing topic. So it’s important to ask: What drives the reputation of a place?

Bleisure travel, whereby business travellers extend their work trips for leisure purposes, is a fast-growing worldwide phenomenon.

According to a recent study by CNBC, over three quarters (77 per cent) of international business travellers have taken a “Bleisure” trip in the last 12 months, with the typical stay lasting an extra three to four days.

Cities the world over are planning furiously for their futures. But what does the future hold for travelers who visit them? How will they get there? Where do they stay when they do? What will they explore? How will they capture and share memories of their encounters? National Geographic Travel knows that tourism is booming, but in an increasingly globalized world, how do the destinations we love manage environmental impacts from legions of new fans?

From Blockchain and crypto-currencies to retail banking, FinTech has exploded onto the global stage. Average global adoption now stands at 33%, up from 16% in 2015 and one-third of consumers utilise at least two or more FinTech services and are increasingly aware of it in their daily lives. (Ernst and Young FinTech Adoption Index)

The emergence of ‘FinTech hubs’ has mirrored this growth.

As controversy continues to rage in the United States over Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad campaign, it turns the spotlight on the “values” of the brand.  Brands have always been about more than the logo or slogan: brand managers have always focused on brand values to create customer loyalty.  But in recent years companies have had to think more carefully about how the statements of CEOs around political issues will impact on customer perceptions, or on whether their communication strategies can add to their brand values by making statements about societal values.  So what about place brands?

In the lead up to the City Nation Place Awards, we asked our judges to outline what they believe is essential to a good place branding strategy. Their insights should be invaluable to anyone involved in place branding and, throughout their responses, there were key ideas that continued to resurface: community engagement, authenticity, creativity and demonstrable results.

logo Carolina Arriagada Peters Managing Director, Cities & Collaboration

Investment promotion agencies and economic development teams are increasingly adept at attracting international companies and growing their locations. We see sector specific segmentation and an understanding that “liveability” and the values behind your place brand are as important as tax incentives. However, relatively few locations have developed the policies, processes and mindsets necessary to help the businesses they have worked so hard to attract actually thrive. This blog discusses the basic principles of Aftercare, and, with a couple of examples, shows the value Aftercare can deliver.

City Nation Place Asia Pacific Post-Event Report 2018

On May 17th, City Nation Place gathered delegates from across the Asian and Pacific regions to discuss the challenges facing place branding and place marketing in the region. The delegates represented a wide range of organisations, all at different stages of developing a place branding strategy; this report captures the in-depth discussions and debates that arose over the course of the conference. 

logo Rob Hunden President, Hunden Strategic Partners

That’s right, it sounds counter intuitive. As economic and tourism developers or promoters, we are always trying to outdo our competitors with more, bigger, better (more restaurants, more tourist attractions, the largest population of college educated workers). Or perhaps, some places go the opposite direction with less, lower, simpler (low taxes, few regulations, simpler lifestyle). READ MORE

We caught up with Sylvie Gallier Howard, Chief of Staff with the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, ahead of her participation at this year’s City Nation Place Americas conference in a session that will look at what the Amazon RFP process has taught those participating about their “pitch readiness” - specifically at how economic development and tourism promotion teams can work together more effectively to the benefit of all objectives.

logo Kristian Sonnier VP of Communications & Public Relations, New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau

We caught up with Kristian Sonnier, VP President of Communications & Public Relations at the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, who will be opening the City Nation Place Americas conference on June 5th with the story of 300 years of place branding and how New Orleans’ brand strategy will capitalise on its tri-centennial.  How does he see the connection between tourism and economic development?  What does he think is the key to great place branding?

One of the most pressing issues that place brand strategists need to deal with is the increasing interest in the impact of their strategies on the places where they work, particularly from brand stakeholders, politicians and the media.

Read the perspective of leading place branding consultants who are increasingly having to address this issue for their clients and who believe that this will continue to be a major consideration for individuals and organisations funding the preparation, implementation and management of place and destination brand strategies.

On 8th November 2017, the day before the main City Nation Place agenda, the City Nation Place Think Tank convened for the third year.

This year the theme of the Think Tank was “The difference between place branding and place marketing”. The Think Tank was organised in association with the International Place Branding Association, guided by esteemed academics and place branding experts Robert Govers and Martin Boisen and was sponsored by The New York Times.

The purpose of this series of blog posts is to share our collective experience (including working with each other) as practicing place brand consultants on developing and implementing place and destination brand strategies. Our purpose is to inform current practice and contribute to the debate among practitioners and academics about what might be effective and cutting edge practice in the field.

The New York Times is hosting the pre-conference Think Tank session at this year’s City Nation Place Global conference where our delegates will be considering the differences between place branding, and place marketing. We caught up with Nahim Mehenni, Director for Place Branding at The New York Times and Raquel Bubar, Director, T Brand Studio International to discuss the media owner’s interest in this topic, to find out what The NEW YORK TIMES team has learned from working with clients in the tourism and investment promotion sector and to provide some tips on how place brands can get the most out of a relationship with a media company…

logo Jessica Wardle Managing Partner, M&C Saatchi

We caught up with Jessica Wardle, Managing Partner at M&C Saatchi, who will be hosting a breakfast briefing at the upcoming City Nation Place Global conference in November, focused specifically on the FDI Decision Making Journey. We’re keen to understand what changes she's witnessing across the FDI sector and in the promotion of investment opportunities by cities, nations and regions.

Our team of place and destination branding consultants recently prepared a strategic advice note for a seminar in Dublin for the Irish government and key stakeholders to explore refreshing the country’s national brand of Eire, the Republic of Ireland.

This is the first  in a new series of blog posts for City Nation Place created by leading place  brand consultants to share their experience and contribute to the debate about  best practice in place branding.  At a  time of political turbulence in many places around the world, this first blog  addresses the topical issue of working effectively with politicians. 

The challenges of  working effectively with politicians and the politics of organisations

Neighborhood Development: Models for Success In Revitalizing Local Brands

How can you best leverage business improvement, creative innovation, and historic districts in your place branding and marketing strategy? How can the relationship between tourism and citizen and urban patterns be managed more successfully through the effective development of neighborhood attractions?

Moderater:
Steven Pedigo, Director of the Urban Lab and Clinical Assistant Professor, Schack  Institute of Real Estate
Panelists:  
Susan Veres, SVP  Strategy, Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
Alan Boniface,  Principal, Dialog
Nicole Fichera, Boston Innovation District / Seaport


City Nation Place Survey 2017

The report provides an essential snapshot of the strategic and investment intentions of those responsible for developing and managing a competitive identity for cities, nations and regions around the world. 

Our team of place and destination branding consultants recently prepared a strategic advice note for a seminar in Dublin for the Irish government and key stakeholders to explore refreshing the country’s national brand of Eire, the Republic of Ireland.

Although the services provided by the meetings industry often go unnoticed, they are a catalyst for economic growth. They have the power to influence how a city is shaped, including who lives there, who works there and who visits year-to-year. What’s more, conferences can determine what other industries flock to the region and ultimately whether long-term investment opportunities will succeed or fail.

logo Richard Florida PhD, Distinguished Fellow, NYUSPS Urban Lab, Clinical Research Professor,, NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate

Richard Florida’s new book, The New Urban Crisis, explores the forces of inequality that are fraying the fibres of places from Seattle to South Beach, with urban real estate being gobbled up by the global wealthy while children of long-time locals are unable to get into the market. This is a new blueprint for cities who are victims of their own success, and just as pertinent as Rise of the Creative Class was more than a decade ago.

logo Richard Florida PhD, Distinguished Fellow, NYUSPS Urban Lab, Clinical Research Professor,, NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate

The election of Donald Trump has wide-ranging implications for America’s big cities and their place in the nation and the global economy. A new book by city expert Richard Florida, The New Urban Crisis, explores the forces that propelled Trump to the presidency, and offers plenty of analysis about what’s in store for large urban centers around the globe. 

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the important role that city diplomacy has to play – enabling cities to assert their own political identity, shape their own destinies and engage foreign public.

Intrigued, we wanted to dig deeper to find stories that demonstrate the tangible positive impact city diplomacy can have. This is what we discovered.

Over 50 place brand practitioners from all over the world gathered together on the day before this year’s City Nation Place conference to share insights on two key topics – when to initiate or refresh a place brand strategy and how to engage key stakeholders. The Think Tank was led by Dr Keith Dinnie, author of Nation Branding: Concepts, Issues, Practice and editor of the book City Branding: Theory and Cases [both published by Palgrave-Macmillan].  In this report, Giannina Warren, Lecturer in Advertising and Promotional Culture at Middlesex University in the UK, summarises the key findings and insights of the session.

Report topics:
When to initiate a place brand strategy
When not to prioritise place branding
Stakeholder management:

  • Identifying who your key stakeholders are
  • Be aware of points of resistance
  • Employing co-creation

READ THE FULL REPORT

As you’ll know if you’ve had any experience with place branding, it’s such a strange beast of a discipline that it’s rare to have an unqualified victory. Speaking for myself, I’ve been in the game for 13 years – which might even qualify me as a pioneer in the field –and I often wish I could go back and give my past clients the benefit of my hindsight.

In this long-form blog he explains his concept of “Experience Masterplanning” as a way of linking and integrating place branding and place making and challenges place-branders to get into meaningful conversations with place-makers in order to better understand what they can bring, together, to the creation of better places.