Finland made headlines last week with its innovative country branding idea of using emoji – small symbols representing its national identity. Coincidentally, our interview this week is with Teemu Moilanen, Finnish city and nation branding adviser and scholar.
Teemu recently featured in our place branding research insights series (in collaboration with academic journal Place Branding & Public Diplomacy). In this interview he tells us what got him interested in place branding, whether place branding research is on the right track and which challenges city branding and marketing professionals struggle most with.
- How his view on the branding of places has changed over the years;
- What nation branding is all about;
- The cornerstones of success in place branding;
- His thoughts on the current state of place branding research;
- His favorite examples for city- and nation branding;
- Which issues city and nation brand managers struggle most with;
- The nine major challenges faced in the city branding processes.
Teemu, do you remember the first time you heard about city/nation branding? Who or what got you interested?
Around the year 2000 I was working in a large consultancy employing some 800 consultants, and we were developing a Master Plan for Levi Ski Resort in Lapland (Finland), one of the largest ski resorts in Northern Europe. At some point it became clear that branding is one essential part of the development. As a diligent consultant I tried to do my homework and immersed myself into the topic of branding, but while doing so, it became clear that the models and practice did not match.
In the Levi Ski Resort project we tried our best to make the models fit, but several questions remained open as they were not at all present in the branding models. For example, lack of ownership and chain-of-command; in the context of companies there’s always somebody who can decide, the CEO or the owner, but in the context of a place that one person does not exist.