August 30, 2012
Amsterdam has long been a required stop on any European Grand Tour. But in the early 21st century, the city of Amsterdam noticed its position on various international rankings—top tourist destinations, top convention cities, etc.—had fallen due to increased competition from other destinations in Europe, particularly to cities in Spain and Eastern Europe. To maintain the city’s position as a top spot for tourism and business, a private-public partnership was formed to rebrand Amsterdam with a new city marketing campaign. In September 2004, I amsterdam was born. I Amsterdam is a motto and a brand all in one for both the people of Amsterdam and the city itself.
We’re all familiar with commercial brands, but what does it mean to brand a city? According to Saffron Brand Consultants, creators of the Saffron European City Brand Barometer (pdf), the “brand” of a place is “the average or common perceptions and associations people have with that place.” It is, of course, a subjective perception based on personal taste and experience but, generally speaking, there is a definite cultural awareness of cities—the idea of a city—that is shaped by media and marketing.