What a modern city is and how can it become a development driver? What is worth branding when traditional resources are depreciating? At the meeting of the Institute of Man at USUE, the practice of territories branding under a new industrialization and digital economy was discussed, based on the experience of megapolis and single-industry towns. The topic of the meeting was "City Branding: Prospects for Development under New Industrialization".
Representatives of municipal government and business, USUE staff and students gathered to discuss issues of city branding.
"The problem of cities is that they look like each other. This was clearly demonstrated by the director of the film "The Irony of Fate or I Hope You Enjoyed Your Bath". We would like to live like in cities 2.0 - these are European cities created as ideal space for living, or as cities of the future – Singapore and Dubai," Olga Ergunova, moderator of the meeting, associate professor of the USUE Department of Regional and Municipal Economics and Management, and a member of the Marketing Guild, said.
It was noted that about 55% of population live in cities. The meeting expressed the idea that Yekaterinburg is a promising city. The brands of the Urals and Yekaterinburg as a metropolis and business capital of the Urals should help steer the development of the city in the right direction. For Yekaterinburg, it is very important in the run-up to the FIFA World Cup and a number of other international events.
"Yekaterinburg can give students a kick-start for the development of a career and mind," Yevgeny Animitsa, an advisor to the USUE Rector, chair of the Department of Regional and Municipal Economics and Management, said.
According to another speaker, Alexei Pryadein, head of the Department of Economy at the Yekaterinburg Administration, "The one who is engaged in branding, looks into the future." He explained that the experience of promoting a megapolis in Russia is primarily connected to the development of the Strategic Development Plan. In Yekaterinburg, working out the Strategic Development Plan in 2002-2004 was rather challenging , stumbling upon a misunderstanding and opposition of City Duma deputies.
"Modern Yekaterinburg is not worse than Berlin, where I studied, Alexei Pryadein says. “Yekaterinburg has a well-developed infrastructure and trade, and excellent hotels. However, it lacks a special brand - such as the samovar and honey-cake in Tula".
"To find a brand is the task of the whole community," Natalia Vlasova, professor at the USUE Department of Public and Municipal Administration, tried to convey this idea to the people present. According to her, the discussion of branding and the formation of the Yekaterinburg image long ago got into social networks.
The search for brands is also being done in single-industry towns. For example, in Polevskoy, branding is considered based on Pavel Bazhov’s tales, since 24 of his works he had written about Polevskoy. According to colleagues from Polevskoy, the popular at all times storyteller could well become a regional brand.
It was noted that the development of single-industry towns differs significantly from cities with a million-plus population. Jan Kozhan, the founder of the coworking company "Sol" and “Ogon. Burger. Bar” offered to work with small towns in connection with their specialization: tourism, industry, or agriculture. "It is very difficult for a small city to compete with large cities. Small towns are characterized by a strategy of concentration, whether it is an industrial city or a tourist one. That is why developing a brand of a small city, we should focus on this," the businessman said.
The speakers noted that the strategic planning of socio-economic development and promotion of a city should be based on modern urban trends: high urbanization, loss of population, digitalization, and industrialization.
Summing up the meeting, Olga Ergunova concluded that the brand should take into account many areas: metallurgy, achievements of the military-industrial complex, Smart City system, and well-known trademarks, and therefore discussions on this topic will continue.