On this page
Key target groups and objectives
As regards brand development and marketing, the City of Helsinki wants to address the following target groups in particular:
- Helsinki residents
- Businesses and employees
- City staff
- Awareness and attractiveness of Helsinki grow and its image strengthens
- Emotional bond with Helsinki strengthens and participation increases
- Appeal of services and attractiveness of experiences improve
Awareness and attractiveness of Helsinki grow and its image strengthens
The aim is to improve the international awareness and brand image of Helsinki based on the pull factors specified in the brand concept. Another aim is to strengthen the city’s good reputation as a vibrant living environment, business environment and an interesting travel and event destination.
According to international studies, Helsinki is associated with sustainability, functionality, smartness and quality of life, but not with vibrant urban culture and the things that make the locals and visitors love the city so much.
The goal is to hold on to the image variables that have already been successfully associated with Helsinki. Alongside these rational competitive advantage factors, topics and content to strengthen the emotional bond are added to make people even more impressed by Helsinki on the emotional level.
Emotional bond with Helsinki strengthens and participation increases
In Helsinki, the aim is to strengthen the emotional bond with Helsinki among all target groups. Helsinki residents, visitors and people interested in Helsinki are encouraged to explore the city in more depth, discovering new dimensions, areas and services.
Participation plays a significant role in the development of the city. Different neighbourhoods, communal urban development and cooperation with businesses and communities, among other things, can be utilised in the content of branding and marketing work. The goal is for the city to be known as a reliable and solution-oriented partner. The Helsinki brand is being built on a long-term basis together with city residents, businesses, international visitors and other operators and communities.
Appeal of services and attractiveness of experiences improve
The city’s services must attract former, current and new users and visitors in terms of their appeal and ease of use. The functionality of the services has been developed especially in digital environments, and this is reflected, for example, in the improvement of the hel.fi online service. To continue this work, awareness of these services, the development of user numbers and the level of commitment, where applicable, must be strengthened especially through marketing.
Visitors, businesses and employees must find these services interesting and Helsinki’s urban culture and different experiences attractive, in order for Helsinki to strengthen its attraction and holding power, for example, as a destination for visits, work and investments. The experience offering in Helsinki develops, and the key target groups find the offering appealing, interesting and as something that differentiates Helsinki from the competition. Helsinki, being an international and multi-cultural city, aims to attract international target groups living, studying and visiting in the city to use services, gain experiences and form even a stronger bond with the city through multilingual marketing.
Many of the means applied in branding and marketing are common to both the target groups and the operations and marketing targeting the various audiences of the city.
In branding, awareness is promoted in the long term especially through digital marketing, ambassadors, brand actions, events and content design. The marketing methods presented in these guidelines have been identified as viable solutions during the previous strategy period, and the aim is to promote them also from the perspective of the new City Strategy.
Effective actions bring the brand alive. Helsinki’s value-based brand actions stem from the Helsinki brand concept and value proposition: Helsinki provides the preconditions for living a good life and, on the other hand, everyone in Helsinki contributes to living a good life for their own part.
Criteria for brand actions:
- to strengthen the desired Helsinki brand and the image of Helsinki among the key target groups both locally and internationally
- to stem from existing effective actions of the urban community or to be created in cooperation with the city organisation and partners
- to be inclusive, value-based and sentimental in nature, they may launch a significant value-based debate.
Partnerships and networks
We make use of co-branding opportunities with our current and continuously developing network of partners. Through partnerships, we strengthen business of global importance, develop the city and support community well-being. The brand ecosystem is developed by, among other things, strengthening cooperation structures between Helsinki-based operators and city-wide cooperation with external operators, and by carrying out active, timely and, to an appropriate extent, lively and emotive marketing in cooperation with partners on a target group basis.
The City of Helsinki also strengthen its internal networks for sharing information and good practices and for enabling synergy benefits between different operators. An external coordination mechanism will be established to allow for more systematic cooperation with external brand partners.
PR and communications
International awareness of Helsinki has developed globally, but it remains on an insufficient level by international comparison. Long-term PR work that repeats a few carefully selected key messages is an effective marketing tool for increasing global awareness. PR activities work well independently, but yield the best results as part of other marketing efforts repeating the same theme and message.
In PR work and communications, the aim is always to link the themes and topics to be covered in a broader value-based Helsinki context, instead of reporting on individual events or topics. In communications, it is also important to remember humanity and the city’s way of talking person to person.
Proactive media work is carried out in a centralised manner based on selected geographical areas and media credibility.
Story-based marketing influences the image of Helsinki and evokes emotions. Its purpose is to make Helsinki stand out positively from its competitors in terms of brand development and city marketing as well as to engage the key target groups through customer-oriented content. Stories are also used as a tool for developing the quality and experientiality of the customer experience.
We tell about effective actions and living a good life in a sustainably operating city. We describe and share the wondrous, free and wildly urban Helsinki through real experiences and stories of residents, visitors and employees. The aim is to link the individual small stories to the bigger Helsinki story and the brand, concretising and bringing to life the remarkable, functional and sustainable concept of a good life.
The digital services and channels offered by the City of Helsinki are developed and, if necessary, renewed, based on the needs of city residents and other target groups and users, with a focus on customer experience and the discoverability of the services. The hel.fi reform, for example, aims to improve the functionality and discoverability of the digital services and, as a result, the utilisation rate. As regards the services offered by the city, the focus is on customer-oriented and easy availability of the services regardless of time and place. We can effectively steer the target groups to use these services with digital marketing by customer group.
The use and importance of social media continues to grow. Efforts are also being made to increase the quantity and diversity of user-oriented content and to enrich the Helsinki image being portrayed in different channels and social media. The role of other digital marketing has also increased, and the aim is to take full advantage of the various opportunities offered by digital marketing, also in cooperation with partners.
Ambassadors and influencers
Marketing strives to ensure that as many Helsinki residents and people impressed by Helsinki as possible want to share their own story about Helsinki. Ambassadors can include city employees, city residents, representatives of companies or communities, interesting visitors and socially active opinion leaders.
Helsinki residents are encouraged to share their experiences regarding their hometown. On an international level, marketing is targeted at opinion leaders who recommend Helsinki to important target groups. Influencer marketing will be emphasised as a marketing tool for all target groups. As regards influencer marketing, it is important to identify cooperating influencers who share the city’s values and boost the city’s image and brand. Ideally, Helsinki ambassadors include a variety of people, ranging from city residents and local micro-influencers to internationally famous people.
One of the most important means of strengthening the Helsinki brand and marketing are unique and unforgettable events, highlighting the original culture, sports and exercise, design, art and science. Events are increasingly being used to build the image of Helsinki, and brand and event marketing is being carried out in cooperation with various partners.
Year-round events that spread widely across the city strengthen the vitality of Helsinki and local companies and bring Helsinki residents and visitors together, thereby increasing vitality and sustainable event tourism.
Urban spaces and meeting points
The brand concept and visual identity are taken into consideration in the design of the urban space and in the development of the city by means of words, images and actions. Marketing highlights places where locals and visitors can mix and be impressed by Helsinki. An interesting and animated urban space encourages lingering and hanging around, creates a setting for commercial services and serves as a stage for public activities.
During this city strategy period, particular attention will be paid to strengthening the dynamism of the very centre of the city and the image of selected city centres, including urban renewal areas. Collaborations include placemaking experiments that support regional community development.
The city’s various customer meeting points act as a visible medium, and surfaces in the urban space are utilised in an insightful and brand-enhancing way. Marketing can be used to bring the urban nature of Helsinki close to people for easy exploration. User-oriented content enriches the image of Helsinki, and we make use of the content both in physical and digital landscapes.