In this interview with Ben Knapp, Chief Strategy Officer at Saffron Consultants, we discuss a simple but profound truth about place branding – the need to focus on placemaking: investing in assets and projects worth talking about and only then focusing on communicating their uniqueness to the world with branding campaigns.
- Place brand building through placemaking, rather than communications only;
- Why the limited nature of political mandates poses a challenge for nation and city branding campaigns;
- What makes Scandinavian countries and cities so successful in place branding.
Ben, how did you first get involved in place branding for cities and nations? What stirred your interest?
Working at Saffron together with Wally Olins, on place branding projects. Starting with Poland, then London, Durham and so forth.
Saffron Brand Consultants regularly publish the city brand barometer. How does this ranking work? And how has it changed over the years, in terms of criteria and results?
We compare the factual assets that might make a city attractive (tourist sites, tax breaks for investors, leading universities, safety, etc) with the brand strength a city generates from different factors such as media attention. Some cities have a stronger brand than their assets would suggest, while others have strong assets but aren’t, for one reason or another, able to generate brand strength from these.