What pools resources and differentiates Helsinki from other scandinavian capitals?
Michael Porter investigated this issue on a general basis in his book: “The Competitive Advantage of Nations”, 1998. He identified government actions as one of the essential determinants for a nation to become a competitive player on a global court. It is all about who is better or somehow different in a way it makes him or it unique and remarkable. Don´t be ordinary!
What is the first that comes to your mind when you think about Helsinki?
Sauna, drunken Finns, Santa Clause, Reindeers, Beer, Icehockey or language skills, Education, Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Haut Cuisine?
No easy question – Helsinki’s urban culture is influenced by eastern and western countries, mostly by Russia and Sweden. Therefore its slogan: The city is cultural blended from East and West
It´s a great slogan! It outlines Helsinki´s position as a global hub for doing business in one sentence. According to a survey executed by Irene Biedman-Martinez & the Helsinki Tourism and Convention Bureau on “Helsinki´s Brand Image Acknowledgment in Foreign Media”, Helsinki is mostly famous for being the capital of Finland, its design district & architecture. However, things like its Baltic Sea location, Finnish food, education, the language skills of the citizens & Helsinki´s entrepreneurship, still remain barely unconsidered. Concluding, a lack of proper brand communication reduces Helsinki to only a few brand equities to differentiate from its competitors.
Thus, there is still a difference between the real Helsinki and what is provided to its potential stakeholders. It offers a lot more than Sauna, Forest & drunken Finns. Helsinki is an awesome city and I talked to many people who came from metropolis cities like Rome, Madrid or Barcelona to Helsinki to live, work or study here. My impression is:
They love Helsinki – They love it, because of its uniqueness and variety. They love it, because of its attributes of a metropolis while being relaxed at the same time, also tidy and secure.
As Scandinavian countries are perceived as quite similar among other European countries or America, Helsinki´s competitive advantage lies in its brand equites. Those empower Helsinki to show up extraordinarily. Thus, it is not only a city with nice buildings and an interesting history. It is a great marketplace with lots of resources in the labour sector and great potential among investment possibilities.
I asked the Helsinki Tourism and Convention Bureau:
Who is involved shaping the brand “Helsinki”?
How is Helsinki as a brand communicated?
- Media, People, Government, Organisations
Evaluate current situation:
- What are Helsinki’s assets & how are they perceived?
Culture in Branding
- Do you consider Culture for Helsinkis Branding?
- What is the result of the branding process?
- Are there differences in the desired and the actual perception?
“Helsinki is just about to start a branding and marketing strategy work that concerns the whole city and many players and sectors.
So far the international marketing and branding has been planned and implemented in a fragmented way. Meaning that for example tourism, investments, talent attraction have all marketed with their own brands and an overall “umbrella” brand of Helsinki brand has not been very clear. This year City of Helsinki is starting a project where we look into the real strengths of the city, define its position and core-ideas versus the competitors and finally determine the brand-assets of the city.
So far a lot of great and efficient marketing of the city has been done by many sectors and bodies such as Visit Helsinki, University of Helsinki, inward Investment organizations, congress and events organizations, private companies. They all market and attract their target groups to Helsinki. However the city itself has not yet branded Helsinki like many of other cities in the world have already done. The work is just about to start. And as an outcome of this project we will also see marketing tools that can be used by many stakeholders externally
The branding project of Helsinki will very strongly include the participation of the local people and local institutions. This way the brand will be real and based on the true views and facts about Helsinki.”
by Outi Leppälä, Marketing Director, City of Helsinki
In this context:
Helsinki´s competitive advantage – delayed success or forseeable failure?!
Book: The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Michael E. Porter, 1998