How Helsinkians came together to create the identity for their city
The city was missing a common thread
Although Helsinki consistently places towards the top in international city rankings, its brand visibility and recognition had been lagging its Nordic peer cities in terms of attracting investment, visitors and talent.
In 2015, Kuudes designed and implemented a yearlong insight and strategy program to change this. In order to find out how to use city marketing to make Helsinki more attractive we took an open and inclusive approach to co-create a shared vision for “Brand New Helsinki”. The project involved thousands of individuals and a variety of stakeholders from the private and public sector. Everyone in Helsinki could have their say.
We set out to understand how people see Helsinki. We obtained this insight through a process of 8 workshops and 73 interviews. We reviewed 79 reports and conducted a study of 16 cities.
The Kuudes design team used the Concept Lab service design tool to crystallize 4 themes distilled in the 1st phase into 4 different brand and future vision scenarios.
We presented the scenarios to over 1,000 people in 8 workshops and 10 presentation sessions. More than 1,800 people took the test, leaving 500+ comments.
We formulated a brand and marketing strategy based on the idea that Helsinki residents are passionate aboutsolving problems together. The service promise was: “Together we can make an impact.”
We have grown in our own quiet way, as an East-West crossroads and gateway from Asia. Helsinki is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Image © Jussi Hellsten
The whole family loves Helsinki. Ours is an active life in a cosy city. The city is big enough to handle big ideas, but small enough to get around fast. Image © Jussi Hellsten
City life is buzzing, technologically advanced and digitized, but nature is always close. You can swim outdoors in the city centre or stroll into the forest. Image © Jussi Hellsten
We are pioneers in open, sharing, communal modern living. Helsinkians are urban activists. Go on, turn your living room into a restaurant or turn the streets into a giant flea market! Image © Jussi Hellsten
Thinking bigger than ever
The result of the project is Brand New Helsinki – a new brand, new operating model and a new era of collaboration. It’s a future where people make Helsinki an even better place to live. It’s the vision of the residents – people who are ambitious about building the world’s most advanced and successful everyday life.
The goal is that in 2020, Helsinki will be widely known as the city of people, encounters and actions that make an impact. Our project was shortlisted in the global City Nation Place branding awards in the Brand Strategy category.
We also created a homebase for the venture that allowed anyone to contribute and see how the project proceeded.
Check out the Brand New Helsinki website
“We can see that the city’s formerly fragmented way of operating and marketing itself is being transformed, resulting in increased attractiveness and competitiveness.”
– Saila Machere, Head of City Marketing Unit