Attracting visitors, investors and new residents with your city marketing can prove to be an arduous task. Neighboring towns are often equally financially advantageous, and, at first sight, they offer almost the same. But then why does a family or a new company choose your neighboring town over yours? Why does a nearby town attract more visitors, investors and more new inhabitants?
Tip 1: More than tourism alone
If you want to present your town as the ideal destination for a next city trip or excursion, boosting tourism is a necessary step. However, it’s not the only point you need to tackle if you want to promote every aspect of your city. If you position your town as the perfect weekend getaway, you will not attract enough investors and new residents. If you implement a city marketing strategy, it’s of the utmost importance to also pay attention to economic aspects.
Your strategic plan of action must also appeal to other target groups such as investors or possible new inhabitants. If companies decide to settle their business in your town, this will in turn be better for the local economy. Besides, these businesses will create new jobs which will make your city, in general, a more attractive place to live. A win-win for everyone, right?
Tip 2: Collaborate with every stakeholder
As we just mentioned, city marketing projects are often only directed towards tourists. However, isn’t the citizen supposed to be the focal point of your projects? After all, they live in your municipality. Maybe they have some interesting insights or stories about your town that deserve local and national attention.
That’s why we suggest you involve the citizen and other stakeholders – such as local companies or schools – in your project. Collaboration or co-creation, to us, is a very important aspect of successfully finishing a project. It enables others to share their opinions and insights, which in turn, will lead to a better outcome. Let’s look at how the city of Eindhoven handled the process of collaborating with multiple stakeholders.
When the city wanted to introduce a new plan to attract visitors, investors and possible new inhabitants, they asked their citizens for advice. What are your wishes and desires for the city? Where do you see Eindhoven in a decade?
Straightforward wishes such as good shopping facilities, safety and a good climate for work, sport and culture came forward. Surprisingly, other subjects were addressed too. Various citizens saw Eindhoven as a city that could develop further in the areas of knowledge, technology and design. They especially thought this was the case because Eindhoven in the past proved to be a technically advanced city. That’s why the council unanimously decided to implement these aspects in their city marketing strategy.
Tip 3: Organize events in line with your values
Putting your city on number one of everyone’s bucket list is not an easy thing to do. You have to grasp your audience’s attention and keep them entertained. One way to do so is by organizing events or by convincing organizers of exhibitions and shows to call at your city.
However, not every event will do. For example, at the end of November, Christmas markets start to emerge in city centers all over Belgium. But, an ice-skating rink on the market square no longer is an event itself. Over the past few years, more and more cities started to offer these skating rinks too. Because of that evolution, fun on the ice became a service instead of an event. Should we stop organizing all of these things then, we hear you ask? No, you don’t need to give up those events.
Nonetheless, you should organize different events, all with a distinct focus. What matters most is that you carefully select events that have sufficient power to strengthen the values of your city. These events need to highlight what you – as a city or town – find most important. Which elements or special stories of your municipality would you like to put in the spotlight?
Let’s say you have a museum in your town celebrating the municipality’s rich music history. Your town could then annually organize an event, with the local brass band, honoring local music or a birthday anniversary of the band. However, you could also link this event with the restoration of the church’s 18th-century organ. In sum, the possibilities are almost endless.
The message here is to link and cluster similar issues. Only then will your events be successful. If you organize events that have no specific link with your municipality, inhabitants or visitors will not remember these events for their uniqueness.
City marketing is a very wide term and we’re very well aware that it is close to impossible to cover every aspect of it. However, we hope that with our three tips, you’ll be able to make your city marketing project a true success.
So, a short recap. First, don’t forget to remember that promoting your municipality is about more than just attracting tourists. Secondly, make sure that you involve your inhabitants with your project. And thirdly, organize events that are in line with your municipality’s values.
Have you learned some new tips and tricks about city marketing? Or have you already rolled out a fruitful city marketing strategy? Don’t forget to share your comments and experiences with us. Make sure that you share this blog post with your colleagues!