Skellefteå has spent the past six years investing in their together with citizens, companies and associations. Citizen engagement is at the heart of it, with more than 100 persons involved in workshops, over 10 000 unique voices who have answered questions that laid the foundation to the place branding strategy seven years ago. Based on this, Skellefteå has a vision for 2030 which again was built on citizen engagement.
The results? A 40 year trend of loosing inhabitants to other cities is broken. What is more, the city won one of Europe’s largest industry investments Northvolt, a battery factory brining 2 500 jobs to Skellefteå. What is more – this provides the possibility to be a part of the solution from carbon dioxides to having renewable energy. Much of the success factor can be attributed to co-operation: in the Northvolt process Skellefteå managed to get support from business, public sector and universities in the northern part of Sweden, something that had not been done before.
Helena is the Marketing Manager for the city of Skellefteå. She has a PhD in marketing from Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki. She has been doing research in and teaching marketing and services marketing for more than 10 years at Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics as well as Hanken School of Economics.
What can others learn? In addition to co-operation, place branding is an iterative journey where you constantly need to revise what you are doing and how you are doing it. Let people “do” instead of just “talk”. Be honest and stay close to your citizens – they are the ones that will notice if you try pink, green or blue wash your brand.
Helena will talk about how to engage partners in building a brand and helping land a major investment.