By Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator
Last week, I was in Liverpool, participating in the first workshop of the ATBRAND project that aims to create /enhance a common brand for Atlantic Arc Cities. This INTERREG Atlantic Area project, co-financed by ERDF, has started in January and is leaded by Dublin City Council. Apart from CAAC, the other partners are San Sebastian, Faro, La Rochelle, Liverpool and Cardiff.
In the morning of June 25th, the project gathered its steering committee so as to exchange on practicalities like reporting in an INTERREG context. The technical assistance, leaded by a consortium among Taso and Heavenly, updated the working plan and the share of tasks among partners. My turn came then to explain the principles of communication that should be implemented in ATBRAND, notably concerning EU funds’ visibility.
In the afternoon, we were welcomed by Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool, who briefed us about the strategy of the city, started ten years ago. In this sense, he highlighted the importance of international cooperation as a must for developing the strategy.
Building on this, Miguel Rivas from Taso, introduced the need to re-learning city branding. As he said, “Citizens do not see cities as brands, citizens see cities as cities”; thus calling for a “de-brandization” of city branding, pushing it away from the logo+slogan- only definition. City brands cannot be circumstantial neither ignore stakeholders in the process of definition.
Julian Stubbs, from Up There, Everywhere, showed us some tools to unveil the DNA of a city. He explained that place branding was relatively a new idea, and that it is closely linked with positioning and benchmarking. Brands modify the way we think and viceversa. As M. Stubbs said, “As one place markets itself, everywhere else has to”.
The day was completed by several experiences of the city that gave us the opportunity to understand and feel Liverpool as locals.