Bearing has won a contract to analyse and recommend the components of an updated place brand for the city of Uppsala in Sweden. This is a follow-on assignment from the strategy analysis project which we are working on for Uppsala county and Uppsala city since January this year.
The global competition of cities is estimated to host 2,7 million towns, 3 thousand large cities and 455 large metropolitan areas with a population over one million. All of them compete in the struggle for attention and in this international competition, Uppsala could do better.
In the European context, Sweden as a nation is doing very well since the recession which followed the global financial crises of 2008. In the Swedish context, Uppsala is doing very well, being the fourth largest city in Sweden and the fastest growing in the country, with today 207,000 inhabitants. Around the city, Uppsala county has 350,000 inhabitants and is one of the fastest growing of Sweden’s 21 regions.
By 2050, the population of Uppsala is expected to exceed 350,000 inhabitants. That so many people are drawn to Uppsala can be attributed to the city’s geographical position, its stable economy and Uppsala as an established city of education. However, to ensure prosperity and available jobs in the future, the city needs to be clear on what it is about, so it can maintain success for the long run in today´s world of global competition. Current success factors will not be sufficient to allow economic growth to keep pace with population growth.
Therefore, for future success, it is not enough to do well at the present time. It is a matter of doing well in comparison over time, with other cities on the global arena who are in competition for the same selected target markets. In Sweden, this means competition with the capital Stockholm, with Linköping, Lund and Gothenburg, in Europe it means competition with cities like Cambridge, Utrecht, Freiburg, Grenoble, Leuven, Leiden, Wageningen and Ghent and in the global context it means competition with Boston, Davis and Chuncheon.
The target markets for a city, where Uppsala competes with the cities mentioned above and many others, are the decided mix of visitors, students and investors who are attracted by the city’s focus for destination industry, education, niche industries and business sector strengths, and also a decision on which geographical markets this mix should be focused and marketed towards.
A clear place brand vision, augmented with strategies and implemented in consensus between the city government, the academic system, the business sector and civil society will give Uppsala it´s unique competitive advantages for the long run.