What makes a city smart?
Smart cities go beyond infrastructure and technologies. Smart cities are created by smart people who help create an identity of the city. Does your smart city need to refine its brand?
Branding creates a unifying thought for a city with internal and external audiences alike, driven by the long term vision and values of a city. Successful branding activity would result in the brand being carried forward by citizens and outsiders – each adding their own experience to this unified vision of the city.
Branding properties evolve and are SELDOM advertised. They become platforms for internal and external stakeholders to interact and transact. They develop a life of their own and become symbols in literature, advertising, films and art. The buzz around the cities, the spontaneous mentions and photos uploaded on social media networks all contribute to a strong smart city brand.
The key benefits of branding a Smart City include:
- Become a hub, a magnet that attracts both domestically and internationally
- Investors who believe in the potential of the city and the underlying strength, stability and environment that would foster growth
- Tourists who would flock here as they do to New York, London, Paris for diverse reasons – from history and architecture to culture and culinary adventures as well as to experience the energy and dynamism of a city on the go.
- Talent – creative, professional and labour – that would be the best in class.
- Students and jobseekers who want to be at the epicentre of new developments
- Innovators and inventors – who seek an environment friendly for start ups, with an access to finance and markets
- Bring about civic pride – which is vastly necessary in keeping harmony and a collaborative spirit in keeping the city safe and clean and well managed
- Create Landmarks and Properties that promote balanced economic growth and social harmony
- Ensure that the city is represented across geography, caste/community and socioeconomic class – to create ‘landmark properties’ that promote balance and benefits and weave a fabric through the criss-crossing of these demographics and properties.
- Coalesce the efforts of the political classes to work together to ensure that the momentum generated is sans political lineage / a preference so that the city’s branding system is not a victim to political vagaries.
DY Works believes that smart city branding needs to start with public dialogues about defining the essence of the city. As 98 smart cities emerge in India and presumably more follow, they will jostle for attention and resources; and a strong brand will go a long way in making some shine ahead of others.