City Branding

A city must be integrated in order to have a good brand.

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1 Aug

An Introduction to City Branding

Have you ever seen Iheart suit NY t-shirt or its merchandise? Or, if you are Indonesian, have you seen a sticker of Enjoy Jakarta? Well, if you do, then what you saw is actually a part of a city branding.
City branding is a part of marketing technique to create and promote the unique identity of a city. It is often done by acknowledging the characteristics, traits and the personality of a certain city. This includes a logo, advertisements and merchandises.  Branding in the concept of regional urban planning aims to form a positive image in the global industry. This also led to competition in certain groups of cities in comparing their respective cities. City branding is not only a logo and tagline that is easy to remember, but also involves a marketing strategy that includes a long-term vision of an urban area. City branding must also contain the cultural, political, economic and social order of the people. This will also impact on economic growth and the image of the people themselves. A city must be integrated in order to have a good brand. 
The force behind every city is its people. If the branding of any city is to be successful, it needs the support of residents, community leaders and state and city government to engage people in debate and motivate them to contribute time and money. All stakeholders must be involved, including the City Government, Business Actors, Media, Local Universities, Cultural Institutions and heirlooms, tourism actors, community leaders and others. The involvement of all stakeholders will ensure a diverse perspective and map the entire city problem so that it will make the implementation of the branding process a little lighter. City branding demands a strict combination of philosophy and implementation, a top down approach that is forced to build a city branding strategy will almost certainly fail.
According to Ashworth and Kavaratzis, city branding is beyond the logo and can be seen as an adaptation of corporate branding as both city and corporate share the same complexity of dimensions. These dimensions is multidisciplinary roots, multiple groups of stakeholders, high level of intangibility and complexity, oblige to take account of a social responsibility, dealing with multiple identities, and both require a long-term development. A good city branding needs in-depth research to the appointed cities. Research must cover all the current state of city culture, society even its political climate. In addition, it is also necessary to explore any other potential that does not exist in other cities. By conducting research on its citizens of the city, conclusions can be drawn to exact brand positioning and desires of its citizens. A new strategy will be created with the desired followed the research results and target markets. 
Globalization has made it easier for newly developing cities to compete with older more established cities, simply because people can live and work almost anywhere now. In the digital era, city branding is needed to attract more attention from both domestic and foreign tourists. All the strategy should be able to cover the entire city as a participatory manner. Taking examples on city cases in Indonesia, most of cities generally still use brands that are formed naturally without any planned strategist exclusively and only produce logos and tag lines. Then, in 2017 Governments and Tourism Ministry Board launched 10 branding of 10 city in Indonesia which aligned with Master Brand of Wonderful Indonesia. This 10 places, considered as the cities that already has its own fans before the each branding launched and also already fulfill the tourism requirements. There are 34 provinces and thousand city lies in Indonesia. While the message in a city branding must be clear, consistent and include aspects of city and community development planning, working on all cities will be challenge. It needs considerations from all aspects and consistency. The latest practices of city branding is the effort to define halal tourism for Lombok. It simply means the desired visitors is Muslim tourists who likes to travel without any worry. This also imply that Lombok still wants to win the competition after being re-elected as the best halal tourism destination in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Lombok’s effort is not only stands on its promotion, their governments also prepares from hotel facilities, restaurants, attractions, packages, destinations that are halal and managed specifically by them. 
City branding is not a new discourse. Although the branding process is still the same – which needs strategy and continuity, city branding is different because it should involve the citizen’s perspectives which impacted to their social and economy altogether. If you need a partner to discuss in regard of branding your city (or put some refreshments onto it) as creative agency we could be your chosen one. Hit the button, invite us, share the ideas and create the next spectacular things with us!