Name: Loïs de Vries HERKANSER
Student number: 1635893
Specialisation: Concept Design English
Period: B
Teacher: Rob van den Idsert
Format: Mini Lecture
Titel: Behind the city walls


Nowadays, we are more on our own. We have lost contact with each other. There is a growing number of people who feeling lonely in their own town. The city where we live in, tell us something about our identity. You probably could image a typical ‘Amsterdammer” or a typical ‘Rotterdammer’, but after those two it will be pretty difficult. Perhaps less for the residents themselves, who recognize their fellow citizens, but can hardly describe it to an outsider.

A mayor of a small town in Brabant, told me of the importance of (personal) branding. He said, the communication of the municipality is obsolete. Which make it harder to stay connected with the citizens. Municipalities need to step up the game. Invest in their concept and treat it like a brand.

Research question
How could the municipalities, use city branding to improve the 
connection with the inhabitants?

Sub questions

  1. What is the definition of city branding?
  2. How did the municipalities communicate with the inhabitants in the old days?
  3. What are the reasons why the municipality does not connect with the inhabitants
  4. Are there any successful examples of city branding in the Netherlands?
  5. What’s in it for the inhabitants?

Interesting sources

Beijers, H. U. U. B., Hagenaars, P. O. L. L. I., & Minkenberg, E. L. L. E. N. (2015). Identiteit: uitsluiten of verbinden. Utrecht, Nederland: Uitgeverij de Graaff.

Buhrs, M. I. C. H. E. L. (2016). City en gebiedsmarketing. Schiedam, Nederland: Scriptum.

City branding [Blog post]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2017, from http://www.citybranding.be

Komans, J. E. A. N.-P. I. E. R. R. E. (2008, February 3). Marketing Groningen: citymarketing in Groningen [Blog post]. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from http://www.citymarketingonline.nl/archives/19

Obbink, H. A. N. N. E. (2016, September 21). Eenzaam in de grote stad. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from https://www.trouw.nl/home/eenzaam-in-de-grote-stad~aefbbf25/

Vereniging Nederlandse Gemeenten. (2014, March 2). De breedte van de gemeentelijke communicatie in beeld. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from https://vng.nl//files/vng/publicaties/2014/20141112-verzamelboek-communicatie-www.pdf


During my research, I will use qualitative interviews and look at psychological theories to answer my questions. But also desk research and group discussions will be used.  


More and more regions, municipalities and countries make more use of marketing and branding to attract the attention of the public. It is about looking at the concept as a product or service. Urban promotion and city marketing has been used in the Netherlands for some time. But mainly to promote the area or city to tourists, think of the Tourist Office.

From the conceptual perspective, there is a difference between city marketing and city branding. Wishes and needs of the consumer form the basis for city marketing. When we look at branding, the organization is in the lead. It’s about putting down an identity. The identity of your product or service. Formed by a chosen mission and vision. The municipality as a brand, with its own identity to inspire residents through their ideas. If the city branding is strongly positioned, it also improves the bond with the inhabitants of a city.

There is also a communication problem between the citizen and the municipality. A lot of changes over years. Social media made it easier to speak up. The municipalities have stepped in too late to the social media trend. Many municipalities are busy integrating social media into their organization. Nowadays, every single municipality in the Netherlands has an Twitteraccount, although this media channel is on its way back. The target group is used to the 24/7 service. By integrating webcare, Instagram and Facebook in a good way, you provide a low key communication platform.

There are great examples of succeed city branding, national and international. I Amsterdam, is one of these successful stories. The melted two elements together, the area and the people of Amsterdam. They made every citizen of this city an city ambassador, The Amster-dammer. A brand with a very important identity that grounds with the current identity.


Next week I have more interviews to do with citizen, brand experts and a mayor. This is just the beginning. Some of my sub question, need some more research like what’s in it for the inhabitants? And what kind of steps are needed to integrate city branding.




‘I amsterdam allows the people to voice their pride and confidence while 
expressing support and love for their city.’ (thisisnotadvertising,2012)


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