Last month, CivicBrand traveled to London, UK as we were named a finalist in the City / Nation / Place Awards in the “Best Use of Design” category for our work with the CVB and City of Waupaca, WI.
City Nation Place is a global forum for strategic place branding and marketing. This year’s conference hosted 200 delegates from 37 countries and took place in Shoreditch, London, the city’s hub for the creative and tech sector. The conference was filled with speakers and breakout sessions to discuss how to engage citizens, build civic pride and develop a strategic approach to attracting talent, tourism, and investment. At the end of the conference, the finalists of the 2019 City Nation Place Awards were showcased. The goal of these awards is to benchmark and celebrate best practice in place branding and marketing work being done by towns, cities, regions, and nations around the world. This year’s awards had entries from over 24 countries and from every continent and we were honored for our work to be recognized on a global stage.
The conference’s first speaker was Geerte Udo, CEO of amsterdam&partners and she discussed the importance of putting citizens at the heart of your place branding strategy. In Amsterdam, their new strategy puts its residents as its priority. When you add value to neighborhoods and focus on locals, you increase pride and unity among residents. Visitors will follow once you’ve built a reputation for your locals. When working with cities, we shouldn’t ask what the citizens can do to support tourism, but instead we should be asking what the tourism strategy will do for the citizens.
Collaboration was a key theme throughout this year’s conference. We heard from Rose Wangen-Jones with London & Partners and Alice Rampelberg with Paris CVB about how London and Paris joined forces, rather than competing, to create a campaign to reach US millennials. They both realized that London and Paris are distinctive cities but complementary. There were some challenges of collaborating such as learning to compromise but their campaign was ultimately a success and maximized the reach to an audience they were both trying to market to.
During our breakout session with Kristine Schmidt from Billund, Denmark, the importance of including children in civic branding and planning was discussed. Billund’s Vision is that Billund is the Capital of Children, where children learn through play and become creative world citizens. What makes Billund unique is that they believe children are just as capable as adults and are great creative thinkers. An example of this is when the Billund airport redesigned their airport experience, they invited children into the design process. CivicBrand was excited to hear about the push for children to be included because that is something we are passionate about and have implemented in city branding and public engagement projects. CivicBrand regularly hosts children branding workshops alongside public meetings and conducts focus groups with the youth.
“We are fortunate that City Nation Place recognizes the importance of place branding and gives us opportunities to discuss topics and share ideas. CivicBrand enjoyed this year’s global conference and we are taking what we learned from the discussions and using those in our civic projects. CivicBrand loved exploring London and the Shoreditch area after the conference!” -Banner Short, CivicBrand Founder