Marketing the mCity: How a City Based ICT-Project Can Make Sense

Marketing the mCity: How a City Based ICT-Project Can Make Sense

Anette Hallin (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-134-6.ch014
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) cannot only be used practically in marketing efforts, but also as symbols, due to the images and associations they provoke of for example modernity and speed. The marketing of a city through the use of ICT-images however, also involve risks, as ICTs among certain people also bring about negative associations. Therefore, marketers need to be aware of what happens with the marketing material after it has been developed and sent out. The main argument of this chapter is that sense making emerges through a dialogic process. By analyzing semiotically a marketing leaflet for the Stockholm-based ICT-project mCity, and two ads for Nokia phones that appeared in Europe at about the same time as mCity, this chapter challenges the traditional cybernetic sender-receiver model of communication, and proposes that when the sender has sent the message, the message becomes a speaker on its own, interacting with the listener through a dialogic process set in the mind of the lis ener. When understanding this, marketers should benchmark the use of ICTs in other contemporary media in order to ensure the success aimed for with the city marketing material using ICT-imager.
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Throughout history, images of places have been of interest to different actors. As early as in the Middle Ages, places like Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Nidaros attracted pilgrims due to their images of holiness, and in the early 20th century, cities like Paris and Trieste attracted poets and artists due to their images of modernity and cultural creativity (T. Hall, 1997). Since the mid-1970’s, though, it can be argued that the development of strategic “place-selling” has been affected by the process of globalization, and in order to compete on a global market, there is a clear attempt to build an imagery suited for that competitive purpose (Harvey, 1989).

A more positive attitude among official policy-makers towards the market-forces can also be traced (Ward, 1998), perhaps because the upgrading of the image of a city can cast a “seemingly beneficial shadow” over the whole metropolitan region (Harvey, 1989, p. 8). At the same time, the responsibility of place marketing has moved from the national to the local or regional levels (Ward, 1998), and therefore, the branding, marketing and selling of the city have become important issues to city managers (Jessop, 1998). This is not the place of discussing the differences between these three concepts, but to only briefly say that they all deal with connecting positive images with the city. As “marketing” most often is used as the term denoting the practical work, this is the term that will be used in this chapter.

Different cities use different marketing-strategies depending on institutional, political and cultural factors (Chevrant-Breton, 1997), and so far, more research needs to be done concerning how cities work practically with these issues; which tools are used, how they work and their result. Due to the growing awareness of cities’—and the regions’—roles in innovation and regional growth, a renewed interest in how cities create attractive urban spaces can be traced, though, and this interest is directed, not only towards urban redevelopment through the building up of hard infrastructure, or the supporting of new firms entering the area, but also towards how cities work with tangible measurements and focus on constructing advantages. (Jansson & Power, 2007)

Traditionally, the cities of the world evolved as places of commerce and trade, and as centers of religious, military, cultural and political power. But today, cities—especially if they do not possess this historical heritage—need to construct their own images. In this process, one would expect cities to distinguish themselves from their competitors, but so far, many cities seem to have chosen similar strategies: they have built their story around promotional events such as the Olympics, the World Cup or other sports events; or exhibits and fairs, like the Cultural Capital, thus relating themselves to other cities which have adopted the same strategy. (Fainstein & Judd, 1999; Porsander, 2000)

To yet other modern cities, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have played a central role, making ICTs not only important in a material way, building the infrastructure of eGovernment, providing citizens and city-based companies with the means to communicate and carry out their business, but through their image qualities, lending to the cities all the notions associated with them. This is nothing new though, technology has always been connected to the idea of modernity, through its associations with energy and speed (Löfgren, 2001). Place marketing is full of metaphors of movement, speed and tempo, because to have a high level of energy has become quite important in a globalized world, where cities compete for investors, entrepreneurs and visitors. A place of ”energy” is also a ”modern” place i.e. a place of the future, and of future promises—associations which have been used in the marketing not only of cities, but of regions, where ICTs sometimes has been used since the area has a lot of ICT-related activities, such as Silicon Valley, and sometimes as the result of a strategic governmental intervention, as in the case of the Multimedia Super Corridor in Malaysia (Bunnell, 2003), and there are obviously many more examples.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Mila Gascó-Hernandez, Teresa Torres-Coronas
Chapter 1
Norberto Muñiz-Martínez, Miguel Cervantes-Blanco
Cities are acquiring a key geopolitical importance in the shaping of world-wide flows and exchanges, playing a key part in modern socio-economic... Sample PDF
Identity and Marketing of Cities
Chapter 2
José Fernández-Cavia, Assumpció Huertas-Roig
City marketing tries to position cities in the mind of the public, although the process of creating and communicating city brands is still at an... Sample PDF
City Brands and their Communication through Web Sites: Identification of Problems and Proposals for Improvement
Chapter 3
Barry Mishra, Erik Rolland
City marketing in the broadest term can be defined as the strategic design of the city to satisfy the various stakeholders of the city who often... Sample PDF
A Strategic Framework for City Marketing: The SSRM Approach
Chapter 4
Al D. McCready
Indications are strong that globalization is an irresistible force, fomented by, or at the very least, enabled by technology. This chapter refers to... Sample PDF
Strategic Technology Planning for the Techno-Global Economy: Cities in the Market
Chapter 5
Juliane Chudalla, Key Pousttchi
Mobile services have great potentials in different fields, so it is interesting to have a closer look of them, and about the way they can be used... Sample PDF
City Marketing Goes Mobile: Use of Mobile Commerce Techniques for City Marketing
Chapter 6
Laura L. Matherly, Maureen Jouett
Integrating information communication technologies (ICTs) and marketing in strategic management of city government is critical to achieving... Sample PDF
Strategic Management in City Government: Integrating Information Communication Technologies and Marketing in a Causal Model to Drive Stakeholder Satisfaction and Economic Development
Chapter 7
María Isabel Huerta-Carvajal, Luis Felipe Luna-Reyes
Local governments around the world are becoming aware of the importance of identifying and marketing their local assets to promote economic... Sample PDF
City Boosterism through Internet Marketing: An Institutional Perspective
Chapter 8
Pablo Díaz-Luque
Large cities are one of the most popular tourism destinations throughout the world. Business and leisure tourists visit these areas every year and... Sample PDF
Official Tourism Web Sites and City Marketing
Chapter 9
Lluís Prats-Planagumà, Raquel Camprubí
The competitiveness of tourism destinations is a relevant issue for tourism studies, moreso, is a key element on the daily basis of tourism... Sample PDF
E-Tourism Image: The Relevance of Networking for Web Sites Destination Marketing
Chapter 10
Nicholas P. Robinson, Prescott C. Ensign
This chapter discusses the importance of making strategic investments in information communication technologies (ICTs) in order to benefit from... Sample PDF
Marketing Your City's Industries to the World: Building and Retaining Export Oriented Clusters through Strategic ICT Investments
Chapter 11
Marianna Sigala
During the last decades, the use of Web 2.0 applications for the generation, dissemination, and sharing of user-generated content (UGC) and the... Sample PDF
WEB 2.0, Social Marketing Strategies and Distribution Channels for City Destinations: Enhancing the Participatory Role of Travelers and Exploiting their Collective Intelligence
Chapter 12
José-Rodrigo Córdoba, Nicolas Jullien, Jocelyne Trémenbert
This chapter defines three different patterns to understand how city marketing initiatives are designed and implementing, and how information and... Sample PDF
Developing Patterns for Thinking About City Marketing Initiatives
Chapter 13
Peter Dobers, Anette Hallin
This chapter discusses a current example of the ongoing efforts of city managers to promote their cities, also known as place marketing or place... Sample PDF
The Use of Internet in Building the Brand of "Stockholm: The Capital of Scandinavia”
Chapter 14
Anette Hallin
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) cannot only be used practically in marketing efforts, but also as symbols, due to the images and... Sample PDF
Marketing the mCity: How a City Based ICT-Project Can Make Sense
Chapter 15
Sandra Moffett, T. M. McGinnity, M. Callaghan, J. Harkin, D. N. Woods
This chapter outlines the journey that the city of Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland, undertook when converting a traditional walled city to a... Sample PDF
Walled City to Wireless City
Chapter 16
Bantu L. Morolong
This chapter introduces the reader to the idea of city marketing. This idea has developed over time, globally, as cities continue to grow rapidly.... Sample PDF
Using Information Communication Technology to Decentralize City Marketing: Challenges and Opportunities
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