Poor branding could damage UK city tourism

UK cities could lose out on tourism to “new” European cities because they fail to brand themselves properly, according to a new tourism survey. It found that London has a strong brand and enough attractions to attract people but cities such as Liverpool and Glasgow are not fulfilling expectations.

The City Brand Barometre, produced by Saffron Brand Consultants, compares a city’s assets and attractions against the strength of its brand. It is also supported by a YouGov survey into what consumers want out of a city.

London, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin came top of the 72-city brand strength poll with Paris, Barcelona and London also having the attractions to support their reputations.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire city Bradford was ranked as the worst European city for assets and brand strength, and neighbouring Yorkshire cities Leeds and Sheffield have failed to create strong brands.

Jeremy Hildrith, head of place branding at Saffron, says: “Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield all need to work on branding, which means much more than just promotion.”

The report says that Bulgarian capital Sofia and Riga, the capital of Latvia, would become major tourist attractions but are currently underselling their potential, whereas Liverpool and Glasgow are overselling their assets.

Hildrith says that Barcelona is a good example of a city working together to improve its assets and exploit what it already had. He adds: “To a lesser extent, Liverpool is successfully doing this – it has decided it wants to be a hip city and it has a plan to achieve it.”

He adds that the “new EU” cities have more to offer but are still learning how to “project” themselves. “There is a bunch of new cities that need to get out there and tell their story, and in doing so they can forge ahead of their bland British counterparts.”

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