Øyvind Såtvedt, Managing Director at Osloregionen (Oslo Region) and former Chief of Staff for the Governing Mayor of Oslo, in this interview tells us how the Oslo Brand Alliance was formed and how the organization manages stakeholder relationships with the 79 municipalities and 5 counties which are part of the wider Oslo metropolitan region. He also shares his thoughts on the latest trends in city region branding, and how to measure impact of place branding initiatives.
- How place branding and storytelling are related;
- The biggest challenges of the Oslo Brand Alliance and how they are being dealt with;
- How to engage local communities and manage relationships with key stakeholders;
- How Oslo Brand Alliance differentiates between place branding and marketing;
- How the Oslo Region measures the success of its place branding work.
Øyvind, what do you understand as the “brand” of places, and what is place branding all about?
The “brand” of a place is its essence. I believe there exists still a common misconception that a place brand is something you “make”. In my view, it’s more about uncovering the attributes of a place, as defined by those who live there or visit.
Branding has to do with researching the “DNA” of a place, by talking to people, and trying to extract this essence of place. Branding, for places at least, is not the same as marketing.
Importantly, there are no quick fixes in branding. The essence of a place cannot be communicated through a logo or a simple slogan. Place branding is about telling your story. And it is an ongoing process.
If you want your place to be perceived in a positive way, it must have a quality which justifies it. It must be true – you cannot invent it.
Place marketing is most useful when there is an obvious gap between the realities of a place and how it is perceived. If there are shortcomings in both, you should start by improving the actual assets of the place, rather than trying to hide the realities behind “propaganda”.