City Brand Barometer

City Branding

Our city brand barometer launches today in partnership with the Guardian. The study aims to examine which cities are best utilising their assets to generate awareness and engagement around the world - global buzz - and consequently to understand where the opportunities lie for cities who might look to better leverage their assets in creating a global city brand.

The brand barometer examines a sample of 57 cities selected on the basis of where they rank in global indicators for tourism, liveability, doing business and attracting foreign direct investment. To evaluate a city’s assets, we looked at its infrastructure, safety, attractions, climate and economic performance whilst global buzz was measured using a combination of media mentions and social media.

The study graded each of the variables for assets and for buzz out of 10, which were then used to calculate the overall asset and buzz scores.

The results were used to produce a graph that examines the relationship between a city’s assets and the buzz it generates - and consequently how cities compare with each other.

The results are best summarised by placing cities in the following categories:

Top 4 – the cities that have the highest asset score and highest buzz score and thus the leading cities in terms of brand utilisation.

Challengers – the cities that are now competing with the Top 4, given their high buzz score and ever-increasing asset score.

Ones to Watch – the cities with an average asset score but a higher than average buzz score. These are the cities expected to follow the Challengers in competing with the Top 4.

Underperformers – the cities that have a high asset score but a low buzz score and are, therefore, not best utilising their assets in creating buzz.

As expected, Los Angeles, New York City, London and Paris form our Top 4 - leveraging their world famous attractions, infrastructure and economic prosperity and cementing themselves as leading world cities.

Cities such as Seoul, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Bangkok, amongst others from their corresponding regions, dominate the Challengers and Ones to Watch categories. They are increasingly prosperous and entertaining; many of our most beloved brands and products originate from those cities and countries. Consumers and travellers alike know them increasingly well.

Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Melbourne and Sydney are amongst our underperformers. Whilst they boast high asset scores they underperform when it comes to buzz. Some investment in brand reputation could go a long way.

When comparing cities by assets, no one city is inferior. All are inspiring and beautiful in their own way. But to become an enviable brand, cities must create a compelling story, a story that captures the essence of what makes them special - a story to tell the world.