Places as Brands

Brands are very important in our lives, in our day-to-day lives, more than we think. An example is the tourism industry. Nowadays, cities explore and exploit Brand Management, as if it were a real company.

Place Branding

aims to connect a country, region or city with its audiences in order to compete, differentiate and attract tourism, investment, talent, etc.

It’s not just about creating a logo and running a communication campaign. It is an urban management philosophy in which all social agents must be involved. It consists of applying the fundamentals of branding and communication strategies to cities, regions, countries or states with the aim of captivating tourists and new residents, increasing positive reputation or attracting foreign investors, among others.

Although one of the main objectives of destination brands is to increase the reputation and image of a place, it is important to keep in mind that the first ambassadors should be the citizens. For them, it is important to provide them with a sense of identity, pride, and self-worth.

The rebranding of Barcelona

A clear example can be found in the city of Barcelona. In the 80s, the city needed to transform itself after the dictatorship. The ’92 Olympics helped. Since then, the strategic plan for the new Barcelona has been conceived. Officially, the city has
the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan (PEMB-Visió 2020),
a proposal based on several challenges such as sustainability, education and entrepreneurship.

In recent years, the city has managed to position itself among the best in the world. It is usually associated with creativity, culture, sport, gastronomy, modernity, cosmopolitan, open, inspiring…

Place Branding Barcelona Visió 2020 Branderstand

If you want to go deeper, Albert García Pujadas, co-founder of Foxize School, already summarized and gave his opinion in 2010 in his blog about the PEMB. On the other hand, the case study of Barcelona’s new brand strategy (rebranding) has been analysed by Juan Carlos Belloso, an expert in City Branding, in The Place Brand Observer.


Game of Thrones, Sudden Notoriety and Brand Image

However, sometimes phenomena occur that enhance, favor or facilitate this arduous and laborious process.

Some may call it a stroke of luck, others an elaborate strategy, others a self-interested negotiation… The point is that there are moments that become opportunities, truly unique occasions. There are many locations outside our borders that have experienced this phenomenon before, such as Iceland, Croatia, Ireland or Malta. But, recently, cities closer to us such as Seville, Osuna, Cordoba and Girona have been able to experience and enjoy it.

Many already know it, but for those who have not yet been lucky enough to approach it, Game of Thrones is a series (a current and real phenomenon) that is followed by a large number of readers and viewers around the world.

It premiered in 2011 and has already broken all records: it is the most downloaded series on the Internet, the most talked about, it has multiplied the sales of the saga (more than 46 million copies worldwide), it breaks records for statuettes at the 2015 Emmy Awards (12 statuettes) and it continues…

On this occasion , the magic wand has come to Girona. Recently, the city council commissioned a study to analyse the impact: 10,443 publications have been made on the Internet relating the series to the city of Girona and with an impact of 1,333 million views worldwide, which represents an advertising impact for the city, of 3,670,244 euros.

Tactical Opportunities for Brands

In these cases, we don’t know exactly if it has been the product of “pure television magic”, of the stars that have aligned or if there really is a process of Place Branding behind; In any case, from now on, it is clear that the series of the moment has opened a window, a window rather, to the world for these cities, which not even by collecting taxes from their citizens could achieve such a budget and advertising impact.

Now it would be necessary to take advantage of the tactical pull and develop a more strategic process of Place Branding on a large scale, don’t you think?

Winter is coming…


Marta Lopez

Account Manager at Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock