Jennifer Ghoni Jennifer Ghoni Speakers, Acuris

Interview with Guðrið Højgaard, Director of Tourism - CEO at Visit Faroe Islands

Following several fantastic place branding campaigns, we caught up with our judge Guðrið Højgaard,  Director of Tourism - CEO at Visit Faroe Islands

CNP: There’s been an increase in awareness about the need for effective place branding over the past few years. How do you feel that place branding has changed in the light of this?

GH: In a globalized world many places are becoming more similar. At the same time the competition to attract investors, talent and tourists in order to strengthen economic growth has increased heavily. This forces many places to highlight their unique selling points in order to be one of the winners in this race.

CNP: What impact do you see that the growth in social media has had on place branding and place marketing strategy?

GH: It has had a huge impact, especially on the small places. Today you don´t have to be the biggest player with the biggest budget to be able to get your messages through to your interest groups. Everyone with a creative and interesting message can now do that. There are many examples on that. E.g. small island groups that used to be unknown to the masses. Places like Palau and The Azores when it comes to tourism and also, if I can mention my home country, the Faroe Islands,where, for the last few years, we have tried to set our islands more clearly on the world mapthrough social media.

CNP: What, in your view, is the single greatest challenge for place branders responsible for delivering effective, international communication strategy?

GH: To set their destination apart from the rest in todays’ global competition. 

CNP:  Would you say that place branding teams are getting better at engaging citizens in the process?  Why do you feel it is important to engage citizens?

GH: According to recent reactions from the locals in many European cities, where “over tourism” and “people pollution” is the talk of the town, we have clearly not linked our strategies and set goals well enough with the locals’ opinion.

CNP: What is the key to successful collaboration between stakeholder teams and departments engaged together in a place branding strategy?

GH: It’s not rocket science really: a clear vision, where the strategy is linked between all stakeholders and where there is a coherence between budgets and ambition. 

CNP: Do you think the job of place branding is easier or more challenging now than it was five years ago? And why?

GH: It is both more challenging, but also at the same time, social media has given many places a great number of new opportunities. 

CNP: As someone who has won a CNP Award twice and is now part of the judging panel, what three things do you think make a great awards entry?

GH: The creative idea, the uniqueness and of course the results.

CNP: Which session are you most looking forward to hearing at this year’s City Nation Place Global Forum?

GH: Several actually, can’t really just mention one.

CNP: If you weren’t working for your own city, region or nation, which place would you like to work for?

GH:Well I have had the privilege to spend my last 20 years working for the tourism in three great Nordic places – Stockholm, Denmark and now the Faroe Islands. All unique places in their own right. I truly enjoy being able to create value for your place and hence all your citizens.

Missed the event in person? Don't worry...

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.