London is always compared with other great world cities – New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris and the others. London isn’t like them. London is like London. Almost everyone in the world has heard of London but not many people know it. So, people pick up their ideas about London from books, television, social media and a wide variety of other influences – none of which can be controlled and many of which are misleading. Rocked by the financial crisis, security threats and even street riots London needed a concerted effort to bounce back and regain its confidence as the world’s leading global city.
One city – one voice
In 2010 Saffron was commissioned by London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London, to create a branding programme that would bring together all the various bodies which represent London in the world – Visit London, Think London, Study London, Film London and so on and to create a platform that would enable them to raise the city’s profile globally. The brand needed to be flexible enough to enable all of them to use it in a way that was appropriate for their particular audience; at the same time, their activities and messages needed to be consistent enough to build and project a strong brand for London.
In a word - quirky
Of course London has many wonderful ‘things’ to shout about – but so do many other great cities. What makes London truly distinctive is its quirkiness: the understated, confident, self-deprecating style that anyone who knows London will recognise. So we put quirkiness at the heart of the brand and found a 100 ways to express the idea across all the key areas of tourism, inward investment, culture and education. As the Economist recently put it, “The more interconnected the world is, the more people crave a sense of place – the more distinctive and unusual the better”. The Olympic Games in 2012 represented London’s first major public outing since the set-backs from previous years – and the general feedback from even the harshest critics seems to be that the world’s greatest city is in rude health again. Adopted so far by a number of agencies including London & Partners, Visit London and, most recently, the Mayor of London, the brand looks set to be the public face of the city for years to come.