City branding is not just for tourists

European Cities Marketing investigates the state of city branding in 2016 and the important role CTOs, CVBs and CMOs have to play in branding and marketing our cities in the future. The message is clear: City branding is not just for tourists – it’s a battle for growth and prosperity. And the branding discipline has become a democratic one.

Banner Spring Meeting Madrid 2016 WebsiteAt the ECM Meeting in Madrid, February 24-27, ECM and Madrid Destino will present a parade of thought leading international experts highlighting European and North-American perspectives. These experienced city brand marketeers will share their most valuable insights and learning for a full two-day conference on the latest trends, the pitfalls and the upsides of a branding discipline undergoing rapid change.

European Cities Marketing finds that a strong city brand is pivotal to any city facing the challenges of globalisation. Nevertheless, the complexity of integrated city branding is now greater than ever before. And DMOs might not always have the answer and certainly can’t walk the talk alone.

City Branding is more Complex than Ever

Speaking about the next ECM Meeting, Ignasi de Delàs, ECM President, said: “City branding is more complex than ever. CTOs have lost share of voice in the age of digital and social media. The city belongs to the people. And it’s definitely no longer just about the tourists. Cities compete more than ever for private investments, business conferences, world sports events, talents in research and science, film productions, political summits, international students, cruise ships, international headquarters and new airline connections. Ultimately, it’s all a battle for job growth, prosperity and quality of life. The winners get a global window and a place in the sun. The losers remain in the shadows among the non-places of globalisation.”

Consumers are taking over the City Branding

Among key speakers, Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company and Robert Govers, Founding Chairman of the International Place Branding Association will provide opening notes with a seemingly joint message: “Leave the branding to the people”.

Hear how Copenhagen has left the marketing voice and buzz to the people. Nantes goes with culture to morph the city from Old Industrial to New Global. Munich is challenging the city’s stereotypes and Istanbul has taken on a “dual city branding” of their own. Also, get the latest from Hamburg and Paris in our new series of City Showcases where ECM colleagues share their answers and offer all the inspiration needed.

Even the smallest of Cities can gain a global window

The conference will also investigate how even the smallest of towns can gain a global window if the thinking is big enough. Davos is the world’s epicentre of power and influence one week a year with the “The World Economic Forum”. Billund, the hometown of Lego Corp, aspires to be world’s “Capital of Children”.

The seminar day will be coordinated by Peter Rømer Hansen, Former Executive Vice President – Strategy & Market Communications at Wonderful Copenhagen and actual Founder and CEO of Rømer Agency.

To register for the next ECM Meeting, please visit


European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation improving the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of members from more than 100 major cities in 36 countries.

Contact information
Flavie Baudot,, +33 380 56 02 00