Cities are embroiled in increasingly intense competition to attract a wide range of events, with digital and social media having transferred marketing from city officials to citizens, according to the president of European Cities Marketing (ECM).
“City branding is more complex than ever. CTOs (chief technology officers) have lost share of voice in the age of digital and social media. The city belongs to the people,” said ECM president Ignasi de Delàs in the run up to the ECM meeting on 24-27 February in Madrid.
“And it’s definitely no longer just about the tourists. Cities compete more than ever for private investments, business conferences, world sports events, talents in research and science, film productions, political summits, international students, cruise ships, international headquarters and new airline connections.
“Ultimately, it’s all a battle for job growth, prosperity and quality of life. The winners get a global window and a place in the sun. The losers remain in the shadows among the non-places of globalisation.”
At the ECM Meeting in Madrid, February 24-27, ECM and Madrid Destino presented a parade of thought leading international experts highlighting European and North-American perspectives.
Experienced city brand marketeers shared their most valuable insights and learning for a full two-day conference on the latest trends, the pitfalls and the upsides of a branding discipline undergoing rapid change.
Among key speakers, Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company and Robert Govers, Founding Chairman of the International Place Branding Association provided opening notes with a joint message: “Leave the branding to the people”.
Copenhagen discussed how it leaves its marketing voice and buzz to the people, while Nantes described how it uses culture to morph an old industrial port to a new global city. Other cities showcased included Munich, Istanbul, Hamburg and Paris, as well as smaller destinations such as Davos, home of the “The World Economic Forum” and Billund, the hometown of Lego Corp which aspires to be world’s “Capital of Children”.
A day of seminars was coordinated by Peter Rømer Hansen, Former Executive Vice President – Strategy & Market Communications at Wonderful Copenhagen and Founder and CEO of Rømer Agency.