The Green Capital

The Green Capital

Learn about VisitOSLO's Best Communication Strategy 

Entered by VisitOSLO

Oslo is the 2019 European Green Capital, chosen by the EU in competition with 13 other cities. This means that Oslo has been considered to be the European champion of sustainable city development. In early 2018 the municipality started working on an ambitious communication strategy designed to involve a multitude of relevant stakeholders in Oslo.

They challenged all relevant organisations to associate their own strategic messages to the fact that Oslo had been named the European Green Capital 2019. VisitOSLO’s contribution to the process was to create awareness of the shift that the people of Oslo are actively making towards a greener future through their everyday choices and lifestyle, and to raise international awareness of Oslo as a leading sustainable city.

VisitOSLO therefore considered in what ways sustainable city development could be made relevant for visitors and potential visitors. Furthermore, could it represent a competitive advantage for Oslo as a destination?

There were three main objectives - a 15% increase in positive international attention for Oslo to reach more environmentally conscious travellers by combining green messaging with careful digital targeting and to inspire and enable visitors in Oslo to make greener choices during their stay.

An important premise of the strategy was to use the title of European Green Capital to achieve the objectives by connecting the great challenges of sustainable development with the small stories of green activities and choices. The local campaign was focused on Oslo’s inhabitants but VisitOSLO’s content was created in English for an international audience with little prior knowledge of the city.

In order deliver their objectives, the team needed to create or foster content to influence people throughout the visitor journey. In order to create awareness about Oslo as a green city the team wanted to achieve editorial content in major news and feature publications in Europe and increase reach via an online video campaign distributed through Facebook and YouTube. For visitors planning a trip to Oslo they needed to come up with content to inspire and help people have an ecofriendly stay, and to draw attention to some of the more than 350 events, that are relevant and accessible for visitors and to draw attention to all the green experiences Oslo has to offer.

In a joint initiative with Visit Norway, the team invited journalists from international publications to Oslo in April. The Green Capital was presented through a number of themes: Urban farming and beekeeping, e-mobility, sustainable solutions at Oslo airport, green cuisine and urban sauna culture – with the target being to draw attention to the bigger picture of sustainable city development, and not just visitor consumption.

Oslo’s green profile and offerings were included in all communication with other international media and the press kit was updated to fit the city’s status as the European Green Capital. The team developed a series of films called Oslo is Rubbish – highlighting how environmental experiences, from enjoying a sauna made from driftwood to cycling around on restored bike wrecks, is part of what makes a stay in Oslo so enjoyable and interesting. is visited by 4 million visitors a year and the website is an important asset in forming visitors’ choices and perceptions. The team published an inspiring section about eco-friendly Oslo, with specific guides to green eating, travelling, shopping, playing and sleeping. At Oslo Visitor Centre, a section was dedicated to showcasing Green Oslo, with information about the European Green Capital, green city developments and bookable experiences to enjoy Oslo’s clean beaches and nearby forests.

By the end of August, the potential reach of editorial content about Oslo had increased 25% YoY. More than 20 highly relevant articles about Oslo as a green capital have been published since April 2019, in publications like The Sunday Telegraph, Vogue Italy, Berlingske (DK), and Suddeutsche Zeitung. The Oslo Is Rubbish films have been viewed on social media more than 3 million times in VisitOSLO’s and Visit Norway’s official channels so far. One of the films made Visit Norway’s top three engaging videos of the year. On the English language content about Green Oslo has been viewed by over 30 000 visitors. The Green Room at Oslo Visitor Centre proved a real success in drawing attention to
Oslo’s green offerings, and visitors have generally provided positive feedback. Through engaging visual and audial installations, it has convinced an increasing number of visitors to explore the green scene of Oslo on hiking tours and outdoor activities, and also choosing public and electrical travelling in the city.

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