Culture plays one of the key roles in facilitating an authentic experience of a place and is one of its liveliest assets. Many famous cities successfully use their cultural assets to motivate people to visit them. Simon Anholt considers culture as one of the most relevant elements of a city’s “Brand Hexagon” – and as such an essential part of its competitive advantage (well explained in his book Competitive Identity). In fact, culture has a capacity to influence and underpin all city brand components, from a city’s physical and economic aspects to its presence on international markets.
Culture has a huge potential to leverage residents’ and visitors’ behaviour and perceptions. It adds an emotional value to the city brand. The cultural distinction of a place can evoke emotions and create memories which, combined with personal experience and expectations, can be a strong driving force in terms of consumer behaviour.
Nowadays cities use increasingly more cultural events to enhance their image, to stimulate urban development and to attract visitors and investors.
How culture can serve a city brand: Example Verona, Italy
The second largest city in Italy’s Veneto region, Verona is globally known for its unique cultural heritage. Art and architectural monuments ranging from Roman, Middle Age to Austro-Hungarian Empire – protected as UNESCO World Heritage – attract about 750 thousand visitors each year.