City brands and marketing



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City branding and marketing
City Mayors examines city branding, place branding and the international marketing of cities

Tokyo promotes cool image
after winning 2020 Olympics

12 October 2013: The name alone of Japan’s metropolis underlines its historic and political significance: Tokyo, or ‘eastern capital’. Having relocated the seat of government from the ‘western capital’ Kyoto to the ancient port of Edo in the 19th century at the behest of a modernized, open and newly unified nation, it was the capital’s post-war reconstruction which was to usher in the hyper-modernity which we all associate with Tokyo. Within Japan however, such modernity is often seen as a byword for inauthenticity or assimilation of the west. The Tokyo city brand is one of the world’s most embedded yet least studied. More

America’s most popular
city mayors on Twitter

18 November 2012: With a few exceptions, all mayors of America’s largest cities use social media to communicate with residents but, with more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter, the Mayor of Newark, NJ, is in a league of his own. Cory Booker’s personal Twitter page records almost five times as many followers than his city has residents. New York’s Michael Bloomberg has the second highest number of Twitter followers of any US mayor. The mayors of Portland, Illinois and San Antonio complete the top five of most popular Twitter mayors. More

The London brand:
2000 years young

20 October 2012: London may have long survived on Dr Johnson’s well-worn dictum that “there is all in London that life can afford” but it was iconography, which established it as the world city during the 20th century. As a nexus for world trade at the peak of the British Empire, the city remains pre-eminent as global hub in the 21st century, the ‘capital of capitals’, despite the occasional wobble and dented prominence following its de-industrialization and struggle to find its place in the world.  In 2012 it benefited from considerable exposure via the London Olympics and Paralympics and continues to market itself on the back of staging the games as the world’s next big tech centre. More


Jakarta fuses heritage
with touristic delights

25 August 2012: Jakarta, Indonesia’s only megacity, far outstrips the population of any other city in the country. As both the nation’s capital as well as a special regional autonomy zone, Jakarta has managed to establish itself as the hub of retail, real estate development and financial services within the country. Over 60 per cent of the nation’s wealth is situated in the city and it is the gateway to foreign investors coming into the country. In terms of tourism its brand has still to reach its potential with Bali far outpacing it in terms of the offering. The Jakarta City Brand aims to incorporate something from everyone – to be a city on the global stage with a diverse offering. More

The Bucharest brand:
Raw and unpolished

23 July 2012: Having been fêted as the ‘Paris of the East’ at the beginning of the 20th century, Bucharest is now best known for its socialist realism era, the bloody scenes of the 1989 revolution and a difficult transition to a modern metropolis in spite of Romania’s accession to the European Union, where it is the seventh largest city. Today incoherent governance arrangements and a lack of political will or maturity have seen the city’s brand neglected amid crucial indifference by its authorities. More

Conceived by an Italian saint, Brasilia
is the world’s most striking capital city

28 February 2012: First conceived of in a ‘prophetic’ dream by Saint John Bosco of Italy*, Brasília is the federal capital of the Latin American republic resembling its name. It was inaugurated in 1960 by President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira and took only 41 months to construct. It is regarded as one of the most visually striking cities in the world on account of its Le Corbusier-inspired architecture by the renowned modernist Oscar Niemeyer and was planned by Lúcio Costa. It is a World Heritage Site. More

Reunification with mainland China
has not hurt the Hong Kong brand

26 November 2011: The reunification of the former British colony and the Chinese mainland in 1997 was seen by some as the death knell for the investment hub as a global city. Yet careful branding and a robust economic offer underpinned by legal and political stability have seen Hong Kong prosper in its declared aim to be ‘Asia’s world city’, rivalled only by Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. The city also serves as an exemplar in smart city growth and urban living, with high standards of design and an educated workforce. More

Amsterdam, a brand that appeals
to tourists and business alike

3 October 2011: Ever since the late sixties, early seventies Amsterdam has been known as the city of ‘sex, drugs and rock-and-roll’. But since these flower power years, a lot has changed. Amsterdam still breathes its liberal and tolerant atmosphere. But there is more. In August 2010 the 17th-centrury Amsterdam Canal District was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List; hence the city is now recognized as an international icon of urban planning and architecture. More

Chicago: The most
American city brand

16 August 2011: ‘Hog-Butcher of the World’, the ‘City of Big Shoulders’, a ‘City on the Make’, ‘The Windy City’ and ‘The City that Works’ are just some of the names that have been given to Chicago. Its best-known name is America's ‘Second-City’. For a long time Chicago was the second largest city in the country and has played an important role in the nation's growth, both culturally and physically. More

The Singapore brand offers
a thoroughly modern city

8 June 2011: Singapore as both an island entity and governed project, has long embedded branding practice into both of these elements. From the ‘Lion City’ free port of founder Sir Stamford Raffles in the 19th century, which became as Sir Winston Churchill later dubbed it the “Gibraltar of the East”, through to the modern-day independent city state Lee Kuan Yew guided under his tutelage from third world shantytown once populated by the “dregs” of Asia in 1965 to first world global hub today. More

Local democracy strengthened
by new social media platforms

2 June 2011: Around the world, governments at all levels are facing new demands, new expectations and a fast-growing array of new technologies and tools by which such demands and expectations can be met. At the heart of those new technologies lies social media and it promises development towards increased and enhanced citizen participation in politics. More

EUROCITIES branding report is
obsessed with logos and slogans

20 March 2011: Amid great anticipation the EUROCITIES report, A Shared Vision on City Branding in Europe was published late last year. The network of major European cities needs to be commended for taking the initiative to establish a working group of 40 cities in an attempt to make sense of city branding practice in Europe. The Shared Vision that is presented in the report emphasizes some valid and, indeed, various vital points. So why didn't they practice what they preach? More

City branding must reflect on
the past and point to the future

10 January 2011: City branding and identity of place have assumed centre-stage in policy debates around both economic development and urban leadership in recent years, as urban areas are forced to increasingly compete against each other for investment, talent and visitors. A new report by EUROCITIES examines best practice among Europe’s leading metropolises. More

Top level domains to become
powerful city marketing tools

21 May 2010: The internet has become one of the most important marketing and branding tools for cities worldwide. In an age when Google search results often determine marketing success or failure, cities must find unique selling propositions on the net to safeguard their global digital competitiveness. In this article, Dirk Krischenowski examines how future city and regional top-level domains, such as dotBerlin or dotParis, can become powerful marketing tools. More

Cities have to develop
into successful brands

19 January 2010: In today’s environment cities compete against each other for talent, business and resources. In many ways they have to act like commercial enterprises by selling themselves to potential customers – business investors, visitors and the creative classes – as successful, vibrant, forward-looking brands. More

Gallup can offer cities the tools
to attract the ‘creative classes’

20 October 2008: In a rapidly globalizing world, cities are increasingly competing with each other for the most skilled and talented people. Robert Manchin, Managing Director of Gallup Europe, believes that only by understanding the needs of their citizens and by providing them with a high quality of life can cities appeal to the ‘creative classes’. In an interview with City Mayors editor Tann vom Hove, Robert Manchin explains the background of Gallup's Soul of the City tool and how cities can gain a competitive advantage by using it. More

Paris, London and Barcelona
are Europe’s top city brands

28 August 2008: In a unique study, which ranks Europe’s largest cities based on a comparison of their assets and attractions against the strength of their brands, Paris emerges as Europe’s number one city brand, followed by London, Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam. The research also reveals that the French capital is the most asset-rich city in Europe, ahead of, again, London and followed by Munich, Barcelona and Amsterdam. Bradford, UK, is the lowest-ranked city in both categories. More

London remains number one
but the future belongs to Asia

10 June 2008: London remains the world's best financial and commercial city, the future, however, appears to belong to Asia and Eastern Europe, whose cities represent the fastest rising world regions in the latest commercial and financial research by MasterCard. Shanghai had the largest jump in overall rank - moving eight places from 2007 to 2008 - bringing it into the top 25 of this year's index and demonstrating the growing importance of Asian cities to a progressively urbanized global economy. More

Matsuyama banks on tourism
and information technology

10 May 2008: The tourism hotspot of Matsuyama in southern Japan has forged a reputation as an early adopter of optical capabilities in local industry and town planning, earning it the designation IT Business Model District by the central government. More

Eight cities in final round
to become ‘British Vegas’

28 May 2006: Eight British cities and towns have made it into the final round of bids to build the country’s first ‘super-casino’. Of 27 applicants, the final eight will have to make a further case to be chosen as the site for Britain’s only Las Vegas-style unlimited gambling hotspot. The already unsuccessful candidates expressed dismay at the decision of the government’s new Casino Advisory Panel, though 16 licenses for smaller casinos will also be awarded. More

Even hurricane seasons can’t stop
Florida cities from powering ahead

25 February 2006: For the second year in a row, Florida’s cities have been named as the top job-creating metropolitan areas in the US. Even severe hurricane seasons could not stop Florida’s growth trends. The state’s metro areas hold not just the America’s top three slots, but five of its top six and 12 of its top 30 places. More

Cologne starts China Offensive
to attract tourists and business

31 October 2005: The City of Cologne together with the Cologne Tourist Board, the Cologne Trade Fair, the Cologne/Bonn Airports and the Cologne Chamber of Commerce have embarked on a joint initiative to attract more Chinese companies and visitors to the city. Cologne hopes to double the number of Chinese business investors as well as to increase the number of tourists from China. The intention is to strengthen Cologne’s role as a gateway to Germany and Europe for Chinese tourism and business. More

New York, Hong Kong and Paris are home
to world's most expensive shopping streets

30 October 2005: New York’s Fifth Avenue, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and the Champs Elysées are the world’s most expensive shopping streets. New York City shopping streets make up the top three places of the American top ten of most expensive locations. In addition to Fifth Avenue, the city boasts East 57th Street and Madison Avenue as prime retail streets. The European top ten of most expensive shopping streets is dominated by retail locations in London and Paris. More

London, Paris and Frankfurt remain
Europe’s favourite business cities

25 May 2007: London and Paris are by a long margin Europe's two top cities to locate a business, with Frankfurt in third place. The Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid are rising up the ranking to challenge the likes of Amsterdam and Brussels. In the 2005 edition of European Cities Monitor (ECM) Barcelona has overtaken Amsterdam to break into the top five, while Madrid closes up to form a leading group of seven cities. More




If you think your mayor has been outstanding, nominate him or her now for the 2014 World Mayor Prize


World Mayor 2014:
Candidates sought

The City Mayors Foundation invites you to nominate a candidate for the 2014 World Mayor Prize. The Prize is awarded every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his / her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world.

Previous winners and runners-up include the mayors of Bilbao, Perth, Mexico City, Oklahoma City, Cape Town, Zurich, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Athens, Mississauga and Tirana. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.

During the first round, suitable candidates may be suggested until the middle of May 2014. A shortlist of 25 nominees will be announced in June.

Please nominate your candidate for World Mayor 2014 now.