Place marketing, or how to make cold Sweden a paradise on earth?

Marketing strategy
Place marketing, or how to make cold Sweden a paradise on earth?

Compared to cheap and warm countries, Sweden is not a very interesting destination. It is one of the most expensive places in the world, sparsely populated, not very entertaining, and cold and dark for six months. And yet the world is crazy about Swedish crime fiction, the hygge trend and trips to Stockholm. Where does this discrepancy between facts and media reality come from? Marketing your space can work wonders.   

In order to answer the question of how it is possible that Sweden has such good associations, one must first realize that the organization promoting the country, Visit Sweden alone, has an annual budget of about 50 million. zlotys. It is published, among others, by for cooperation with influencers, video campaigns or promoting yourself on Airbnb. 

What is place marketing? 

Place marketing is about promoting a site in the same way as promoting a product or service. It can be a private initiative - financed by a hotel or association, or a public one, initiated by the government or an association of municipalities. A place can be understood as any area - street, district, city, province or country. Place marketing focuses on one or more aspects. It can relate to culture, education, natural values or more abstract values such as the style or character of the inhabitants.  

Marketing of the place

Place marketing dates back to the 19th century, when local governments in the US tried to attract residents to a specific agglomeration. From pre-war Poland, examples of promoting the first emerging spas through articles or posters are known. After the war, the newly built blocks of flats and newly built cities. At the beginning of the 21st century, it began to be dynamic branding Polish cities and municipalities. The first attempts were not always successful. Often the idea arose first, and then people wondered whether the region actually offered such attractions.

Ewa Zadęcka in the work "Promotion of a small town - new trends and challenges" points out that problems usually begin when the marketing of a place is created spontaneously, without a coherent promotion plan. Later it is very easy to make random moves. Therefore, it is worth approaching this type of marketing similarly to any other marketing campaign - comprehensively. 

Marketing of places not only directly 

More and more often, place marketing works subliminal, without billboards or leaflets, and with the help of thoughtful investments in culture or infrastructure. An example is Woody Allen, who made New York famous thanks to his films. The city funds him with murals and organizes festivals, attracting more fans of the famous director. The organizers of one of the Łódź film festivals had a similar idea, inviting director David Lynch to cooperate with him. Later, the cooperation ended because the city authorities were not sympathetic to it. This shows that a private company can also try to build a place marketing according to its own idea, although it should be careful about the surroundings of such a project. The authorities and private companies in Great Britain are mastering it. Examples include a state-promoted Paddington tour or grassroots initiatives to guide tourists in the footsteps of Harry Potter. 

Check how to stand out - comprehensively!

Marketing of places is also developing strongly on YouTube. The episode of Robert Makłowicz's program, filmed in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden, proves that such content can be valuable and targeted at a mature audience. The cooperation between the Białystok authorities and Lord Kruszwil, popular among young people, was somewhat different. For 50 thousand. PLN, the office got a video in which a young man carelessly describes the city, focusing on its… flaws. Before signing a contract with an influencer, it is worth considering whether the action fits in with the image strategy of the city or region. 

City promotion strategy 

Place marketing based on marketing audit has a good chance of success. It allows you to check what a given region or district is already associated with. It is necessary to be able to build a new narrative. Among the activities that make up the marketing of places, you can mention those related to branding, as well as the current one communication strategy. Branding is a logo and everything visual identification. At this stage, you can also define the character and style of the brand, which is the city (slogan, vision, unique selling point, etc.).   

Marketing of places

Communication strategy may in turn be based on one or more of the following: 

  • native marketing, 
  • sponsored articles, 
  • affiliate content, 
  • custom publishing, 
  • cooperation with ambassadors, 
  • events and special events, 
  • promotional films, 
  • posters, billboards, leaflets, 
  • gadgets, gifts. 

Many of these activities may take place in many different places marketing communication channels, such as radio, social-media, press, television, etc. Recently, marketing campaigns with the participation of Youtubers are very popular.  

Can a company benefit from space marketing? 

Marketing of the place. It can be difficult for one small business to profit from space marketing. It is worth joining forces, as do, for example, entrepreneurs promoting handicrafts in communes or villages. This is the case in Kruszyniany, which "lives" from the infrastructure concentrated around the Tatar heritage, or in Zalipie, which is promoted with colorful drawings in the huts. It is worth looking for this type of distinguishing features. Even a region without an interesting history can gain popularity due to the presence of tech start-ups or other local initiatives. In the extreme case, one company becomes the driving force behind the marketing of the place. This was the case in the Swedish city of Huskvarna and the American Hershey.

Marketing of places. As you can see, sometimes it doesn't take much to make a region famous. Sometimes, marketing based on one aspect of a given place helps brands that seemingly have no connection with it. For example, music or theater festivals help local restaurants, even if they are niche and targeted at a narrow audience. That is why it is worth not only investing in the marketing of places yourself, but also supporting such initiatives in your region. Do you need a proper strategy? contact us.

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