Strengthening brand identity of 8 URBACT cities

Find your greatness APN is supporting support 8 cities in their activities to define their brand position and to communicate their strategic brand messages. This has become even more important in the time of Covid-19 pandemics where attractions and advantages of cities needed to be presented to citizens, investors, businesses, and visitors.

Partners of Find your greatness action planning network have identified similar problem on national and international level: how to become perceived and to increase the visibility of their cities, how to define their brand vision and strategy, what are the key pillars defining their brand and how to communicate brand messages focusing mainly on electronic communication tools. When implementation of our APN started Covid-19 pandemics was already affecting public life. International and domestic travel was very limited, business flows were decreasing, physical meetings were more or less abandoned, work was organized mainly online from home.  

Defining brand identity, marketing strategy and communication plan was closely related to identifying actions that support strategic development and brand pillars of partner cities that were elaborated already in the first phase of APN. Transnational meetings were thus mainly focused on elaboration of these actions with the following themes: digitalization and smart development, culture, cultural and industrial heritage, tourism and experience economy and community spirit building. The importance of some of these themes differs from city to city.

The situation in APN implementation phase has even shown to 8 cities - Find your greatness partners - that the project support to their better visibility, unique brand identity and communication came just in the right time. Partners also realized that they have to adapt the organization of the project work to some extent especially on the local level with their ULGs. Core ULGs were formed with few members only depending on the subject to be discussed and elaborated during the implementation phase.  Standard ULGs established in the first phase of APN got more consultative and had monitoring functions. Extended ULGs were established in order to gather occasionally to discuss project development, brand and communication strategies proposed and actions to be planned as a part of Integrated Action Plan. Some partners have also engaged external expertise to support their work which proved to be very efficient.

The situation and activity proposals for project partners, especially the dynamics that was analyzed in the Baseline study was affected by Covid-19 pandemic. The partner cities were looking for faster, short term solutions with nearly immediate results. With ad hoc experts’ partners defined more clearly what their brand identity could be, they identified their communication target groups, e-communication channels, monitoring system and developed basic brand communication strategy.  Partners were also proposed few actions to get an immediate feedback and response if a certain brand identity idea is acceptable by the target groups.

Find Your Greatness partners have had different starting point in defining their brand identity and communication strategy. Several partner cities have already defined their brand (Alba Iulia, Limerick, Braganca and Candelaria) while the others need to elaborate their brand identity and build brand communication strategies.

Perugia (IT), situated in a central Italian region, identified their Etruscan history and heritage as the basis for their brand identity and differentiation. Find Your Greatness team and team from Fine Arts Academy Perugia have been developing the brand idea of Perugia Etruscan Spirit which integrates historical Etruscan walls as physical evidence and free Etruscan spirit that is reflecting in arts, culture and the way of living.

Voru (EE) has identified in the APN implementation process that the city can be positioned as family/children friendly city. Therefore, they have identified in the branding and marketing process their key personas, their characteristics and their expectations.

Budafok (HU) is building their brand and marketing strategy on their rich wine heritage, once produced, bottled and exported there. Budafok – a district of Budapest – is building their identity and differentiation pillars in this rich history and tradition and is stimulating individual wine producers to revitalize wine cellars – tunnels as attractive places where wine, food, culture, events and social life would enrich an attractive district on the bank of Danube River.

Wroclaw (PL), old historical Polish city has more than 100 years rich history of tram production and transportation. The partner's intention in the project was to define the city’s sub-brand of tram history with historical trams, tramlines and tram depots. This would be a part of overall Wroclaw city identity and brand and attractive histrical product as a part of tourist and cultural offer.

Alba Iulia (RO), the lead partner has developed their brand in the context of City logo project. The main aim of their Find Your Greatness participation is to strengthen innovative, smart business sector that would give an impulse for faster city development. Therefore, their activities were focused on how to identify appropriate responding market and attract start-ups, investors and business developers focused on smart industries having their businesses based in Alba Iulia.

Candelaria (ES) is offering great conditions for business development and would position itself as a place for business incubators, business developers, clean environment and easy and comfortable place to live, to visit and to work.

Limerick (IE) has just launched their city brand when Find Your Greatness APN started. Thus, they focused in the framework of this APN to define the importance of their citizens in brand building/participation. The city is well advanced in their smart solutions, digitalization and internationalization while the importance of citizens, their voice and participation in this smart development became the key part of Limerick's of FyG project.

Braganca (PT) has also developed their city brand before the project started. They focused now on an important development and brand issue: how to attract young couples to move to Braganca, running their business and enjoying quality of life the city and attractive natural surroundings. The FyG partner city faces the problem of a perception to be in a remote area of Portugal and to lack development possibilities. The city wants to present to Portuguese and foreigners that Braganca offers many advantages for high quality life and efficient infrastructure for developing and running efficient business. This was also the main aim of their SSA – small scale action – when 4 couples were hosted in the city and surroundings to experience the life and work there. The action was intensively communicated through media and attracted great attention in Portugal.

The final phase of Find Your Greatness APN will deal with completing the Integrated Action Plans of each city, where actions are planned together with resources, key actors and monitoring system that will contribute to the cities' improved performance and bigger involvement of citizens in development and policy planning.

 Janez Sirse, LE of Find your Greatness APN

Submitted by Liviu Stanciu on 14/03/2022
author image

Liviu Stanciu

See all articles