This study attempts to understand the concept of city branding and its applicability to cities across the world. It delves deep into the making of a brand from a city, what are the factors involved, the models used and the theories published. It tries to understand what advantages a city receives upon being branded and what are the risks involved in such a branding exercise. It also explores how a city branding is different from a product branding. It further investigates whether the overall acceptability of the concept of city branding, whether it is a trend, a fad or a necessity of today’s time.
Using these learning’s, this study attempts to undertake the case of Delhi in the lieu of Common Wealth Games 2010, and builds a branding methodology for New Delhi, the capital of India.
At the dawn of globalization, a new world has emerged. A world which is vast, but is well connected, a world which develops and gets smaller with it. This is no more a time of a few big cities, where all the attention used to exist. This is no more a time, where these big cities used to compete with one another to attract the Headquarters of Global Corporations, Neither is this the time, where tourism was the way to attract people to a city.
Cities now have evolved and learned to showcase that something special about them to attract audiences of all sorts. Cities have carved niches for themselves, hitherto unknown. Branding cities is no more a fad or something different; it has become a well accepted phenomenon by the marketing gurus of today. In fact, branding a city is no more the extra effort, but the required effort in the contemporary times today.
Cities have realized how a well strategized and well executed branding exercise results in a 360 degree development to the fabric of a city. They have understood that branding is about everything that a city offers to its target audiences. An important thing to note is that cities, through treated like products while branding them are vastly different in their inherent nature. Cities are a brand to begin with, branding is undertaken to change the brand perception. Also, they cater to audiences or consumers differently, as they directly affect the living conditions of the consumer.
A city has three different types of target groups, which are; people who live in the city, people who come to work in the city and people who come to visit the city. Therefore, a city needs to develop value propositions which cater all three separately and all three together.
A successful city branding needs to involve stakeholders at all the levels, which includes the government, the industries, the educational institutions, the citizens, and everyone else associated with the city. A clear, strategic vision followed consistently through all the stakeholders is pertinent for a city to turn into a brand.