Thorsten Kausch, independent advisor and expert for place branding and identity in Hamburg, in this interview shares insights from his work as head of Hamburg tourism marketing and its convention bureau. He also discusses the changing role of city marketing, and how urban sustainability has become an important factor for the attractiveness of cities as MICE destinations.
Thorsten, early in your career you had the opportunity to get to know the political side of city work. Reflecting on your many years in Hamburg, what role do politics play in the context of city brand development and -management?
It is an undeniable fact that politics plays a central role in the whole context of city marketing and city branding. That alone is already a challenge as we all know the game of politics. But it becomes a real problem when the city government is focused on short-term effects – mostly expensive, but inefficient – than on an overarching idea of their city. An idea that is being developed by the city brand professionals in close interchange with the citizens, as well as the multiple city stakeholders; of course including the political representatives.
I am convinced that this ‘big idea’, combined with the ability to recognize the true potential of a marketing strategy and the willingness to think, plan and act according to a long-term perspective, unleashes the true power of city marketing.
Sadly, from my own experience I know too many cases of going for the quick-and-dirty, non-sustainable sprint, instead of the long but rewarding marathon.
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