The notion of places basing their brand on the friendliness and character of the local populous can be problematic because just about every place believes they can lay claim to these qualities as well. The reality is that probably only the Irish, Aussies, and Glasgwegians, along with the Geordies from Newcastle (UK) have successfully used them as part of their brand DNA.
Glasgow has taken bold steps to establish the locals as integral to the city brand. Glasgow City Council has launched a new global brand strategy which is gaining broad support from across the city. The new brand, People Make Glasgow, reflects the Glaswegian character. According to Council leader and marketing bureau chair Gordon Matheson, “It’s bold, friendly, confident, and it evokes a real sense of pride. The people of Glasgow are at the heart of this brand.”
Matheson added, "Glasgow is a warm, welcoming and genuinely friendly city, because the people are. We’re an ambitious, inventive and entrepreneurial city, because the people are. And we’re a down to earth, to the point, no nonsense city, because the people are. We work well together, we get things done and we make things happen.”
My colleague Tom Buncle at Yellow Railroad in Edinburgh has an interesting view of the brand and Glasgow. He said, “The unmistakable vibe of Glasgow has always been the ease with which people on the street engage with complete strangers in amusing and irreverent banter. So, I guess I’m really glad they’ve gone back to their USP and are using what truly makes Glasgow great – its people – to communicate the essence of the city and to involve the people of the city in talking about themselves using social media.”
In 2014 Glasgow will host the Commonwealth Games and the brand will provide an excellent vehicle for projecting the city to international audiences. The transition of Glasgow from urban blight and industrial decay to international city over the past 40 years has been remarkable. People Make Glasgow replaces Scotland with Style which successfully revitalized the image of this city, and is surprisingly the #2 largest retail center in the UK.
I will be interested to see how People Make Glasgow evolves both within the city and externally in the campaigns that will be essential for its success.