There’s no denying that first impressions count. And when it comes to cities, that first impression is often made based on the way the city looks. Is it clean? Attractive? Modern?
All of these are important factors in how a city is perceived, both by its inhabitants and its visitors. And whilst a city can improve itself with regeneration schemes and refinements to its transport and infrastructure, these are very much long-term projects.
A faster, and less expensive approach method of revitalising a city comes in the form of city branding.
What Is City Branding?
Also known as place branding or urban marketing, city branding is the process of applying branding processes to an urban environment, rather than a business or product.
Beyond just improving the aesthetics of the local environment, city branding can boost tourism, stimulate the economy and build community bonds.
This kind of branding can take many forms, but typically follows traditional branding methodology, including the use of consistent design and colouring and the creation of memorable taglines and logos.
This single, consistent brand is applied to the city and all its offerings. This paints a unique picture of the city in the mind of its visitors and inhabitants, and helps many cities stand out from their neighbours and from other popular tourist destinations.
Examples Of City Branding In Action
Many cities make use of large lettering structures such as the I Amsterdam sign in the Dutch capital. These are popular with tourists, often used in selfie photographs which are subsequently beamed around the world to the friends and family of the city’s visitors.
In fact, the I Amsterdam sign was so popular with tourists that it was removed from its original location on the Museumplein to ease the crowds it was drawing, and now moves around the city to appear at various events and festivals.
I Love New York
I Love New York is the official slogan of New York. The slogan, its logo and song represent the foundations of a branding campaign used since 1977 to promote tourism for the city and state.
The slogan is stylised as I NY, and has endured for 45 years, appearing on windows, in shops and on products throughout the region.
People Make Glasgow
People Make Glasgow describes itself as the world’s first crowd-sourced city brand. A great deal of effort went into the branding choices, which aimed to highlight the character of the city – ‘direct, ambitious and unapologetic.’
A bright, vivid pink was chosen as the branding colour, described as an ‘unexpected choice’ which ‘challenges preconceptions’ about Glasgow.
The simple but unmistakable branding was replicated across the city, including a huge display on the Met Tower – a large office building in the centre of the city.
How Can Outdoor Advertising Help?
Once a city branding design has been decided, it must be displayed clearly throughout the city. Signs bearing slogans and large scale displays are highly effective, but limited in number.
Outdoor advertising sites can address this. Formats such as lamppost banners are limited only by the number of suitable street columns in a city, of which there are typically thousands. These columns can be carefully selected to target specific districts, or to effectively blanket an entire city with clear, prominent messaging.
In fact, when Glasgow were promoting their People Make Glasgow campaign, Bay Media were contacted to support the project through the provision of banners in key areas. We printed, installed and maintained the banners for the duration of the project, ensuring the branding was on clear display for the city’s population.
Cities Of Culture
Another benefit of outdoor advertising is the ability to create large, visible campaigns for a shorter period of time. At Bay Media we have supported numerous cities with ‘city of culture’ campaigns, including projects for cities which have received this award, and for cities which were bidding for it.
Such campaigns can be installed rapidly and on a large-scale, ensuring the message is clear to the entire local population. Lamppost banners are especially effective, but other formats such as raised 6 sheet posters are ideal for targeting busy roads within a city, spreading the message to those entering or leaving it.
Something More Subtle
We work with many of the UK’s local authortities, and one commonly used method of increasing city branding is through the addition of footers on their banner campaigns.
Whilst the ‘city of culture’ banners above are examples of projects we carry out for the local authorities themselves, we also have agreements in place across many cities and boroughs for commercial advertising.
These campaigns help stimulate the economy in the area, allowing local businesses to promote themselves to residents and visitors. They also work to support the local community in another way – Bay Media return a large portion of our turnover to UK councils, as we share the revenue earned by commercial banners. In 2021 we gave £900,000 to local councils.
In addition, many of the local authorities benefit from the use of branded footers on banners in their districts. These footers typically include the city’s logo and tagline, and are used consistently across all of the banners in the city. This is a highly effective means of promoting the city’s brand, ensuring it is noticed and remembered by the resident population.
If you are planning a city branding campaign, we highly recommend that you consider outdoor advertising. The format is abundant and able to deliver huge reach, either short or long-term.
Providers of this service can accommodate all budgets, and can help identify the most effective locations for your branding. Busy high streets can be adorned with bright, raised banners, whilst many more can be dotted around the city in its high-traffic areas.
If you would like to find out more about this service, please get in touch and our friendly team will be happy to provide you with more information on formats, locations and prices.