Cape Town journeys towards a city brand
Following on from the success of the World Cup, Cape Town’s tourism authority and key city stakeholders are committed to moving swiftly towards a single-minded destination identity that positions Cape Town as a leading global competitor for businesses, investors, visitors, students and entrepreneurs.
Unlike traditional city brands such as London, New York and Paris, Cape Town is considered to be a challenger brand. Speaking at a recent Cape Town Tourism brand workshop, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold said, “We are an emerging player in a league with Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. We represent possibility, inspiration, freedom, freshness, transformation and a vision for the future routed in an interesting and imperfect past. We speak to the heart.”
The Cape Town brand workshop was chaired by Guy Lundy, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, who said: “Today’s world is an extremely competitive place. Differentiation is key; Cape Town cannot just be the same as everyone else. Therefore we need to create a brand positioning that is recognisable and understandable, and, very importantly, believable. We must also ensure that we can deliver on the promise of the brand. Perhaps most importantly, the Cape Town brand must be able to encompass business and study, amongst other things, in addition to simply leisure and beauty, on which we are currently overly reliant (which adds to our significant seasonality problem). It must also avoid raising the position of one sector and inadvertently killing off another.”
Du Toit-Helmbold added: “When we say brand, we do not refer to a new logo or a clever strap line, we are talking about a stand-out position and values that will resonate strongly with our own citizens and the world. Cape Town is iconic, complex and multifaceted. Her incredibly rich offering and diversity is our greatest opportunity as much as it is also our Achilles’ heel. With the World Cup having come and gone, we find ourselves in a brand vacuum. It is a dangerous place to be in the light of tough competition, a world still battling through a recession, and ever-changing consumer trends. We cannot depend upon the next big event to give direction to what Cape Town’s brand position should be. Although Cape Town is considered as one of the new cities to watch for 2020, I believe we find ourselves at a tipping point where we can either sink into insignificance or take our place as Africa’s top city and one of the top city destinations in the world to live, work, visit, study and invest in.”
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