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Copenhagen – A city that defines its place brand

How my arrival experience at Copenhagen Airport informed my understanding of city and brand. Do first impressions count?

Place branding can be subjective. Comprising of so many stakeholders and components it’s unlike a product or service. There’s often no executive usp or sales proposition – that’s what makes it so difficult. However on a recent visit (my first visit) to Copenhagen I experienced brand and place working together in its true sense.

Stepping off the plane in most airports you’re often greeted by ‘bland’, nothingness. And quite often you could be in any city, anywhere. And for the first few steps I felt the same, but then I started to look around. Actually maybe I’m wrong here. From the clever use of materials including the obligatory ply and the fresh open spaces and white light I was sensing something unique.

Before you knew it the simple way-finding had brought me to a train platform which would take me to the heart of Copenhagen (about 20mins).

Again, sitting down on this comfortable, clean and spacious train made me stop and look. Okay, it’s a train but if u start to look closely at the details, you realised the design and user experience is key to how the Danish thought and how they regard their citizens. Music player socket overhead was a simple and nice touch but the tray table really got me excited. No seriously! Push down from the seat in front and out slid a walnut verneered thick ply table with brushed steel, recessed cup holder. Right then I knew and understood how this place lived by its values. No sexy strapline, logo or campaign. This is place branding at its best and at its purest.

Leading with Emotion

FACT – Emotive people make better lovers!

Okay, this may be a slight exaggeration and is completely unsubstantiated but it caught your attention. The actual fact in this statement is that emotion plays a huge part in both our decision making, and more critically our long term memory recall. So what does this have to do with brands I hear you say? The hippocampus (here comes the science bit, now concentrate) – the part of the brain that deals with the process of memory is at its most heightened when memories are linked with an experience or emotion. Just think about where you were when Senna died, the Twin Towers come down, or even where you where sitting at in the final moments of Game of Thrones. Heightened emotions are simple triggers for ‘recall’. If we can influence these then we can influence recall.

“We’re not out to create the best designs, we’re out create the best brand memory experience.”

As creative brand specialists we can often be played against other talented design studios, bigger businesses or ones that have the biggest teams, and to an extent rightly so… However not is all that appears here at Black and Ginger, and we have a hidden agenda – we’re not actually out to create the best designs, we’re out create the best brand memory experience. By aligning our emotional intelligence led research, we look to read between the lines, push buttons, play with your senses and what your expectations are and are not. By tapping into these emotional senses we can create brands that are more than just surface deep and actually connect with audiences on a deeper and more meaningful level.

Over the last 16 years we have developed these skills and in the UK are leaders in this area of design in brand. And don’t take our word for it, in the last 3 years 100% of the businesses we have worked with have seen market share growth and with improved recall across the board. Tomorrow you could be forgotten, remember today.

If you think we could help with your project we’d love to talk. Get in touch.