Which global cities have the strongest Place Brands in 2020?

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The Pinnacle of Place Brand Reports.

Each year Saffron, a global branding agency with specialist experience in Place Brands publishes a report looking at the strongest city brands around the world. The Saffron City Brand Barometer 2020 explores which cities have built the strongest brands to attract tourists from around the world.

As Saffron state; “Cities compete to attract visitors on a global stage, many relying on tourism as an essential part of the local economy. The global lockdown in early 2020 brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the competition to attract tourists in mid and late 2020 has grown even more fierce.  More than ever, cities must build, manage and measure their brand to attract tourists in the same way that commercial companies would to attract customers.”

The report which is the most comprehensive of it’s kind in the world, includes a power of depth as-to the criteria for a powerful city place brand and looks at key cities in detail. Below is a top line summary from the report. At the end of the article is a link to the full report. If you’re half as excited about brands and places as we are this may just be the highlight of your year.

The Top 10

These are the cities with the strongest tourism brands, earning the highest scores overall in our final ranking when both their assets and reputation data points were taken into account.

What might be regarded as ‘the usual suspects’ find themselves at the top of our ranking. Strong asset scores, often thanks to a vast number of attractions, low crime index and even high levels of annual sun hours have contributed to a positive perception amongst international tourists.

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The Challengers

These are the cities with strong tourism brands that look set to challenge the Top 10 in the near future.

Overall, The Challengers tend to receive fewer inbound visitors and have a lower level of consideration as a top tourist destination than those in the Top 10, but have shown promise in terms of strong assets, positive reputation and high quality of life. Amongst the challengers, Kyoto, Prague and St. Petersburg stand out for their high number of attractions, with Kyoto outperforming Tokyo in this respect.

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The Underperformers

These cities are not realizing their full potential when it comes to attracting visitors. Although they rank highly on assets, they have an average-to-low reputation score, which has resulted in a lower ranking than their assets might suggest they deserve.

Besides leveraging their assets, these cities need to work to build more positive perceptions in order to generate a stronger reputation and establish themselves as a top destination for tourism. Cities such as Athens and Seville that offer a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of celebrated historical attractions must do more to resonate with tourists. Investigating why perceptions are not in line with their offering is the first step in identifying areas of improvement and opportunities to develop more credible, attractive tourism brands.

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The Ones to Watch

These cities are the ones we believe will be rising even higher in our rankings in the near future. They scored in the Top 10 for reputation, but did not make it into the Top 10 of the overall ranking, indicating that their assets are not yet as strong as they could be. Whether by investing further in their built and natural environment, making strides to leverage existing untapped potential or shifting the focus of their marketing efforts, there are a number of ways that these cities could increase their ranking in future. By making smart decisions today to improve their asset strength, these cities could rank even higher in future.

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You can access the full Saffron report here…

Truly Deeply is an Australian-based branding agency with 30 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. Our deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. We have a deep expertise working with corporate, retail, food & beverage, health and property clients. Find out more here
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