Helsinki’s international visibility developing, still lags behind comparable cities

The City of Helsinki and its marketing company Helsinki Marketing performed an analysis to examine Helsinki’s international reputation.
Helsingin keskustaa kuvattuna mereltä

The City of Helsinki and its marketing company Helsinki Marketing performed an analysis to examine Helsinki’s international reputation. The analysis showed for example that Helsinki is more known around the world than before, but less so than comparable cities.

London-based research company The Business of Cities examined Helsinki’s international reputation in summer and autumn 2020. The materials comprised, among other things, international comparisons, social media contents and hits in international media. The analysis pertained to the years 2015-20.

The analysis points out that Helsinki is better in reality than in its global mental representations. When measured objectively with metrics such as the quality of air and the speed of network connections, the city performs better than in comparisons based on subjective mental images.

The results indicated that the world’s awareness of Helsinki’s special characteristics has increased. In addition to this, negative attributes like expensiveness or challenges posed by immigration are less associated with Helsinki than with other comparable Nordic cites.

Helsinki’s visibility in the global media has significantly increased in five years, but is still lagging behind many comparable cities such as Stockholm and Copenhagen. At the same time Helsinki has less visible advocates.

Helsinki is known especially for good quality of life, innovations and sustainable development. The city also receives a lot of positive feedback for compactness, safety and for how easy it is to walk from one place to another within Helsinki. On the other hand, the city’s image, tourist attractions and neighbourhoods are not known. Culture, creativity, entertainment and fun are not widely associated with Helsinki, either. Helsinki is appreciated among those who know the city well, but the reputation is poorer among people who have no first-hand experience of Helsinki.

“This research gives us a solid basis to start the building of our international reputation. The results show that the product is fine, but we need more visibility. We must ensure that Helsinki also awakes strong emotions. In this way we can become the city of choice among international target groups, says Sanna Forsström, Head of Brand Unit at the City of Helsinki.

The analysis functions as a tool for promoting Helsinki’s international visibility and reputation. To get even better results in this work, Helsinki will also reorganize its international operations next spring. The aim of the new company, which will combine the operations of Helsinki Business Hub, Helsinki Marketing and Helsinki Abroad, is to increase Helsinki’s international renown and attract even more foreign visitors, businesses, investments and expertise to Helsinki. You can read more about the future company here  

More information:

The entire analysis (pdf)

Photo: City of Helsinki