Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Berlin changed its' dark image into a smart city for creative people

The history of Berlin has a lot of dark spots: for a long time the German capital was separated into two parts during the Cold War years. The Berlin Wall was demolished in 1990 but the image of a defective, separated city remained here for years. Many prejudices about Germany, Germans, their clumsy language and ambiguous history aloud corrupt impression of today’s Berlin: it is the centre of cultural and social life of Germany and the base of European economics and policy. In 2008 new branding program “Be Berlin” was realized to cure tourists, investors and residents of these unpleasant associations and to make an image of modern and smart city for creative and ambitious people.

Berlin Partner GmbH was founded in the summer of 2007 to promote and implement PR campaign of Berlin. Strategic objective of this program was to show strong sides and possibilities of Berlin and which is more all they had to be told by the Berliners themselves.

The 11th of March, 2009 Berlin major Klaus Wowereit launched “Be Berlin” program. Berlin administration in common with Deutsche Post sent thousands of letters and post cards “Be Berlin” and asked people to write their interesting cases, tell their stories of success, their thoughts about native city. And people answered: during some months citizens were writing their stories and the best of them were published on the project’s web-site.

Next four years the program developed very systematically and with great scale. The best participants of program were invited to city administration and got titles of the Ambassadors of Berlin. Their task was popularizing of Berlin and its brand everywhere.

New Berlin design was created: it was an excellent combination of gray-scarlet-blue letters, figures and forms. Advertisement was everywhere: on the billboards, advertisement columns, post cards, in metro. Outstanding Berlin musician Paul van Dyk created music for this marketing campaign and director Robert Thalheim shot a film with key message: Join us!

Berliners together wrote the largest declaration of love. This amorous consisted of 2,000 messages written on the stickers and got stuck on the floors of 8 railway stations. This event got kindliest responses of residents and united them in this mater. Also people published on the campaign web-site (www.be.berlin.de) reasons why they love Berlin and these messages “Reason of a day to love Berlin” appeared in metro twice a day.

“Be a star of a night” was a name of Fire Festival in Berlin. People could see their names projected on Brandenbourgh Gates. All these and a lot of other mass activities joined variegated city residents under one word “Berliner”. Successful experience of city branding didn’t stop here and in the next years branding program appeared at the world level and soon was recognized like one of the most efficient city branding campaigns in the world.

The first year the marketing campaign was organized only on regional level and its main purpose was to develop strong feeling of identification between people. Just for the first six months the campaign achieved a high level of recognition, 65% of Berliners said that they’re ready to become the Ambassador of Berlin. According to public opinion poll the choice “to live in Berlin” for Europeans became more attractive for three years of campaign in 30%, and the choice “to work in Berlin” – in 45%.

by Valentin Ivanov

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