Cities are brands

If we think about Rome, Tokyo and Copenhagen – just the mention of these cities bring imagery which adds intangible value to their brand equity.

But do cities and places really need brand and marketing? I mean; famous places don’t need to become more visible to compete, do they? Umm. Yes they do. Read on:

DUMBO Long & Co

Brands are ideas 

Branding is often accepted in product or corporate branding. But I believe cities and places needs a distinct brand that leads to social, financial and cultural progress.

Just think: the right brand for a city can contribute to infrastructure investments from government, property developers, education facilities and employers.

Injection of dollars and human capital into our community, creates jobs and opportunities. It moves us forward. And what’s not to love about that?

Newcastle Long & Co

Photography by Nithu.

How does it work?

Cities already have a brand identity: A name, often a visual identifier like a logo/coat of arms, symbols (buildings, landmarks) and a brand image (a perception about the place).

This alone can’t build a successful brand. Key is to create a connection between the brand (city) and the people. Ideally one that is a fit between the people’s needs (physically and psychologically) and the brands functional and emotional benefits.

In modern societies, needs are surpassed by desires. We have moved from Maslow’s basic needs to higher needs of emotional satisfaction and self-actualisation.

Buildings, places and cities, just like products, fulfils this yearning. Just as branded products fulfil a value, places provides an environment people can relate to. It impacts their emotions and lives.

Online city brands

Back in the day, we would visit a place or a city to get a sense of what it was all about. These days (especially in the year of Covid) we visit that place from our mobile phone before we set foot there. We scroll Instagram and Google.

What we find impacts how we feel and what we do. Do we book that trip? Go to that shop? Decide this place is definitively for people like me?

City and place brands today need to build an online, as well as an offline, presence. Invest in brand building social media content. Release digital platforms that attracts, informs, seduces and converts. Build relationships with locals and out-of-towners.

This all shapes the share of the dollars a place brand attracts for its residents. And the social and cultural assets that place can offer to elevate our lifestyles.

Architecture + brand = $ value

Architecture is an important ingredient in our social, financial and cultural progress. In many ways, built environments becomes a catalyst that brands it user. This is why architecture plus brand equals value. The built environment we pursue in our cities shape us. It connects us to what is possible. Who we can be. What we can achieve.

It supports and boosts the identity and aspiration of people. It fulfils their emotional and economic ambition through new structures, interfaces and networks. This facilitates growth and transformation.

Architecture becomes a platform that changes and defines people’s experience with a place.

Place creation requires strategy

Cities and places can’t be treated with a short-term view. Governments need to consider policies that will impact the way people participates in the economy and culture.

Branding of a place or a city should not be done with the aim of selling, but rather enhancing the status of the place and the lives of the people there.

There is more to place-branding than selling or emblems – it goes into experience and perceptions that unlocks innovation and progress. By building the right place brand, this becomes the catalyst for social and economic transformation.

What Long & Co are doing about this

We are working with local and state government, architects, interior designers, property developers, surveyors, builders and engineers who see the world like we do:

There is a link between what we think about a place, the decisions we make for that place and the impact this has on people.

This is not woo-woo. This is economics baby. Its culture, innovation and humanity. Where do you want to take your city, place or space next?

Check out our latest space creation project with Newcastle City Council and EJE Architects.

About Long & Co

Long & Co is a small strategic brand alternative to a big agency. We offer everything an agency does, without the overhead.

We have a network of web developers and creatives across Sydney, Newcastle and Byron Bay.Get In Touch With Long & Co

Long & Co King St Newcastle