Author Archives: Julian Stubbs

Place Branding. Copenhagen is losing out to Stockholm. And now they have another problem…

Copenhagen is losing out to Stockholm when it comes to inward investment. Between 2006 and 2009 Copenhagen attracted just seven global companies, whilst Stockholm attracted 23. This article, Fighting for the Lead in Øresund Magazine, admits Copenhagen has been losing the battle for investment as companies flock north to Stockholm. I believe some fundamental mistakes were made in the approach and process used in developing the brand positioning, selection of the wrong brand (Øresund – where’s that etc?) and also the wrong positioning. The Øresund brand, developed by Wally Olins at considerable cost, has now been dumped, but will Copenhagen / Malmö region be able to develop a strong new brand and strategy? And now Copenhagen has a new problem – Oslo. The city is getting itself geared up to stake-out its own positioning and Oslo Gardermoen airport is rapidly catching Copenhagen Kastrup as Scandinavia’s number one airport in passenger numbers- and we all know companies put accessibility at the top of their wish list when it comes to selection of places as potential locations. Seems like things are getting interesting. Source: Statistics Øresund Magazine.

Place Branding: Liverpool. City on the UP

I’m lucky enough to be visiting one of my favourite cities in the world – Liverpool. I’m here meeting some of the people behind the branding of the city and carrying out some research for my next book on Place and Destination branding. Now, not only do I love the local football team, but I also love this Victorian port city built on the banks of the river Mersey. It was once the commercial gateway for the British Empire, home of The Beatles, two cathedrals and a famous football team (or two depending on your point of view). However, in the last seventy or so years, Liverpool has seen difficult times. Being heavily bombed in the second world war and then devastated by recession during the 1970s, has made it a city with true grit. The city has refocused itself in recent years, making significant investments in a massive urban renewal programme. In 2008 the city was rewarded by being named European Capital of Culture. Walk the streets of the city and you realise Liverpool still has a way to go but it is now heading in a confident new direction. Liverpool is part of a wider region called Merseyside and according to Liverpool Vision, the organisation behind the Liverpool 2008 brand, there has always been confusion when talking to external and international audiences about Merseyside. Liverpool Vision recognised the strength they had in the city of Liverpool and developed it as an attack brand to help market the whole region. Liverpool did not have its own strong brand identity up to that point. However being Capital of Culture gave it an opportunity to create a new brand for that year. There was a need to ensure that the positive work the region had started, was then continued after the year as Capital of Culture, so new branding work was required. Stakeholder driven The city saw stakeholder involvement as a key part of their work. Liverpool already had an influential group called Liverpool First – a group of important stakeholders consisting of major businesses, governmental organisations, public sector agencies, as well as representatives from voluntary and community groups. These groups all worked together to discuss important issues about the area. It was Liverpool First who commissioned Liverpool Vision to develop the new brand. Therefore stakeholder engagement was already achieved. Leveraging the city’s strength Research established that the city had an impressive number of icons to leverage in developing the city’s new brand identity. As well as worldwide strengths associated with The Beatles and football, Liverpool is recognised as a city on the up. Extensive regeneration projects combined with warm welcoming people and a unique waterfront, helps it to stand out over other northern UK cities and destinations. A new brand logotype was developed along with launch events and a new web site, all of which were supported by a media campaign and extensive PR work that encouraged local businesses to use the new brand image in their own advertising. It’s still early days for the Liverpool brand, but the city has already seen success in companies working with their new identity and downloading it from their website. The question is now what comes next. Brands are about more than just logotypes and Liverpool has to re-asses its role not just in a northern UK cities context, or even a UK one, but more importantly as a world class city. I believe Liverpool is a city on the UP, and I think it’s best days are yet to come. Check out the Liverpool brand at: This blog is mostly reproduced from Wish You Were Here the first book on Place and Destination branding by Julian Stubbs. Wish You Were Here Too will be out in Spring 2014. Wish You Were Here on Amazon:

Place Branding. Place Matters.

My mother, who is 86, slammed the phone down yesterday on her well known UK bank after being transferred to some foreign call centre. Was it because my Mother doesn’t like foreigners? Well actually no not at all. She objected to her bank, which positions itself as English, not living up to what it promises. Being English. Doubtless the bank in question would say it has to do with lower costs, improved service blah blah blah. Rubbish. It’s just penny pinching and losing sight of what their brand is all about. Over the years I remember sitting in a few meetings, with heads of marketing, communication and even senior managers, where they proclaim – almost proudly – that ‘Where we are located doesn’t matter. We want to be seen as global‘. What a load of tosh. The fact is where you come from often makes you what you are. More importantly it can provide a real differentiator when it comes to positioning and actually saying something authentic about yourselves. Pity a few more senior execs in anonymous global conglomerates didn’t understand that. They often talk about being different, and then deny one of the most important elements that helps makes them so.

Made in Italy means money

I read in this mornings FT that Bottega Veneta, the maker of posh handbags, had seen revenues rise by a third and were making more money than ever. CEO Marco Bizzarri said ‘For us Made in Italy is so important.’ He continues ‘We’ve found that as long as our quality is maintained the customers are willing to pay a premium.’ Just a fluke? Take a look at the automobile sector, where having a premium brand with the German engineering stamp on it adds value and customer loyalty. Be proud of where you come from. Place matters.

Place Branding: Speech at MIPIM

In Cannes for MIPIM the world’s leading real estate development event. Giving a speech here today at the Palais des festivals, on the Branding of Cities. Will be on the Oslo stand, with Oslo’s governing Mayor Stian Berger Røsland, talking about the work we are doing at UP with the city’s branding process. Oslo is a fascinating city with very much its own pulse. It’s a place going through rapid change and it’s now examining its identity. Like all places it needs to find its own positioning and that is what we’ve been asked to look at. It’s not about slogans – it’s about developing a long term strategy and process that builds a strong positioning. We’re obviously delighted to be asked to be involved in this project and I think the extent of the media coverage we’ve been given in the national newspaper Aftenposten as well as on radio, shows the strength of the interest locally. UP FOR REAL is the new Place Branding focused organisation within UP THERE, EVERYWHERE.

Yahoo! or Yahoo? Have they totally lost the plot regarding remote working?

Yahoo has announced it is taking measures to ban its staff from “remote” working. After years of predicting working from home as the future for everybody, why has this high tech company taken this step? “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.” says the memo from the Yahoo! HR department. Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, who spends much of his time working on Necker Island in the Caribbean, was quick to respond calling it a “backwards step in an age when remote working is easier and more effective than ever”. I like to think of us at *UP as pioneers of remote working with over 130 people working remotely around the world – so we know a thing or two about it. I used to spend up to three hours a day in my car driving to and from work. I’d sit in an office with a large number of other people who had all done pretty much the same commute. It dawned on me that there had to be a better and more productive way of working in this new digital age. I’m truly baffled by Yahoo’s! announcement – I think they’ve lost their way. Maybe they should change their logotype to Yahoo? It seems a very odd move, for a supposedly high tech company’. What makes *UP so different? You won’t find any fancy offices or executive creative directors. *UP works with distributed project teams, assembling senior level ‘doers’ to meet each client’s needs after a careful input and evaluation session. Team members may be located in the client’s home city, or halfway around the world. One of the keys might be that the majority of *UP people have worked together in the past either at agencies or as clients. We’re extremely selective and careful in who we allow to join and having a past shared experience better enables us to work successfully without sitting in the same physical room. *UP There, Everywhere is already working with a number of clients in the US, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, USA, UK and Switzerland. Global Connected Co-operative Communities

Stubbs in the cloud

We believe that Connected Co-operative Communities working through the cloud will make major changes to the working patterns of people around the world. *UP There, Everywhere is one of the very first of these to be put together in such an organised and truly international fashion. Our mission is to help change the way the world works. It’s a big mission, but we believe one that is now possible with the tools we have available. And if that new way could address CO2 emissions and its effect on climate change, then all the better. *UP There, Everywhere has emerged as part of that totally new way of working. The dream of teams of people working remotely has been around a while, but only now, with today’s technology and applications, is that dream becoming a reality. The focus at *UP is on delivering creative and brand services that helps clients, especially those in “high involvement” or ”considered purchase” areas, to develop brand strategies, identities and communications that reflect today’s global market, digital communications and cross-cultural thinking. At *UP we form client teams based on needs, location, language, market experience and other factors. *UP members use online technology, including project management tools through sites such as Base Camp, Drop Box, Skype, iChat and Facebook groups. Without the overhead of offices and formal employees, *UP has developed a completely new business model, while offering a highly experienced, diverse team of experts with international work experience. About *UP *UP is working with a number of international clients, such as The Nobel Peace Prize Concert, the branding assignment for the city of Oslo, Dako Cancer Diagnostics and Science magazine in Washington DC among many others. In its first full financial year the company passed a million euros in sales and is growing strongly.