City branding has grown into a comprehensive practice of marketing a city’s history, quality of place, natural and cultural resources, social chances and attractions, lifestyle, and nature for opportunity, reputation, or strength in capital formation in a dynamic market. However, heightened competition among cities, which includes global changes in tastes, resources, money, and people, poses obstacles to cities’ branding initiatives. In this regard, the storytelling approach is a successful and influential tool that breathes fresh life into brands and drives market shifts.
Busan Needs Fill its Empty Shell
However, while the storytelling approach is frequently used in marketing literature, it has gotten little attention in the travel and tourism marketing sector. Even though the destination marketing literature has emphasized the function of storytelling in destination image building, the storytelling approach has typically surfaced as a valuable tool to construct successful brands solely on a corporate and product level.
A city, like a corporate, should more effectively and profitably promote its products or services, attract people, visitors, entrepreneurs, and activities, and participate actively in world events. In a nutshell, storytelling should play an active role as a valuable and beneficial approach in the process of establishing the city’s brand.
With fascinating cities such as New York, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, and London devoting significant resources to branding, travel and tourism marketers and destination planners are also paying more attention to the concept.
However, Busan still has a limited understanding of branding within the network of stakeholders, and public sector representatives have a narrow view of branding or do not understand the purpose and process of branding at all.
According to the metropolitan city of Busan, the city selected a new phrase, “Dynamic Busan,” in 2004 to present itself as a dynamic international metropolis. The sun, wave pattern, typeface, and colors signify the booming city’s bright social and economic future.
Nonetheless, while a distinctive city brand helps people grasp a city’s identity, there is still a notable lack of critical insight into how city branding may make a difference. A destination marketer or city planner should begin to create a positive and compelling core story for their city brand.
Since Busan lacks storytelling, magazines and newspapers usually feature the city of Busan only as South Korea’s second biggest city. The city’s population does not represent any of its distinctive characteristics or stories.
Busan Needs to Recreate its Branding Through Storytelling
The primary strategy for city branding is to build a positive and robust city identity based on a unique collection of features and values such as historical, physical, socio-cultural, demographic, economic, and political aspects. In this case, city authorities must comprehend the city’s situation and how people see it both inside and outside. While they have their own goals and are in charge of the city branding process, people share their experiences with the city in various forms and shapes, acting as “brand ambassadors” to represent the city.
When the city’s identity and fundamental values are at odds with what people may experience, there is a significant risk that city branding will consist of superior values not recognized by the community. Thus, city planners can create a coherent vision of the city brand that represents internal and external perceptions, experiences, and impressions.
To define the city’s attributes and values, city planners must examine what makes it move internally, which ensures the basis for its core story.
How to Establish a Clear and Original City Brand.
To map the city’s worldwide position and reputation, as well as to define the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and dangers, Busan must first scan internal information before determining external ones. However, city planners and others in the destination marketing profession do the opposite.
The following are the fundamental questions for scanning internal information to define the city’s values.
Busan’s mission and vision
What is the city’s mission, and what is the vision behind it?
What are the city’s most essential values, and why?
How do these principles manifest themselves in everyday urban life?
How are they shared both internally and externally?
How can citizens identify the city’s historical process factually?
What have been the most significant events in the city’s history?
What narratives and facts about renowned and prominent persons and events are still being told in the city?
What Busan residents think of the city
What do locals think of the city?
What stories do they tell about the city?
What are the events and experiences that citizens use to symbolize the city?
What distinguishes the city as a desirable destination to live and visit? Where do citizens believe the city goes above and beyond?
Only after this process can we scan external information to determine the city’s position and reputation on a global scale, as well as define the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and dangers.
Scan external information
What are the current global tourism and travel trends?
What do they signify in terms of the city’s current position?
What stories do regular visitors share about the city?
What do people in other cities think about the city?
How does the city rank in comparison to other cities on a global scale?
Who are the target visitors, and what factors influence their choice to visit the city?
Who are the opinion leaders in the travel decision-making and trip-planning processes?
What are the opinions of travel agencies and social media (travel blogs and websites) on the city?
What do they think of the city’s attractions, atmosphere, infrastructure, and value?
What are the city’s marketing partners who actively assist and advise on strategy and practical issues?
What projects has the city completed in collaboration with those partners?
What do these projects indicate about the values of the city?
Busan Now Needs its Unique Storytelling
City and destination marketers have a mound of data to handle after evaluating internal and external information sources. Here, they must get straight to the point and focus on what makes the city special.
The primary objective of the story is to reconcile the city’s identity with its external sense, which is the cornerstone of a powerful and attractive brand. In short, it is crucial to describe the differences and similarities between internal and external data.
Moreover, the message should not be confused with a slogan. A slogan is a brief and attractive statement that conveys a message and is widely used in municipal advertising.
The essential concepts of a core story are scanning basic internal and external information, distilling basic information, and forming a core story, and these aspects affect the heart and mind of the city’s target group to establish a clear and original city brand. In practice, the insights generated by this procedure may assist city marketers and planners, as well as tourist organizations and institutions, in managing their initiatives to attract more visitors and investors.