- 1. What is a brand?
- There are many definitions of the term and we all know what it is, although we may have problems saying what this phenomenon really is. To put it simply, a brand is “a name of significant power”. A brand consists of your look, behaviour, and the way you talk about yourself. A city's brand is one of the most complex brands because of the multiplicity of elements involved and the scope of their influence. The experiences of branding companies that have developed city brands have revealed four levels of customer expectations towards the branding process:
1. brand = logo
2. brand = logo + visual identification system (VIS)
3. brand = logo + VIS + particular behaviour
4. brand = the philosophy of the city, which stems from its identity + particular behaviour + VIS +logo
Only the fourth level allows us to discover and manage the brand properly .
- 2. Why has the city decided to create the brand?
- Polish cities have begun to put emphasis on promotion, which can be observed by the growing number of national campaigns and slogans. Cracow, Gdańsk, and Wrocław are the best examples of consequently-implemented brand strategy.
Today, a city’s promotion is directly associated with creating and promoting its brand. Creating a city brand is particularly difficult and intricate. A city is a more complex organism and phenomenon than a company or product. You have to work on a brand as if you were working on a wrapping; the problem is, however, that you cannot wrap the city, and it is not only because of its size.
It is impossible to create a city brand without developing a long-term strategy and its consistent implementation.
- 3. Why has the city decided on such a logo?
- The logo is above all a message addressed to a particular target group. The city's logo pursues several key visual assumptions included in the strategy. The name of the city is inspired by its phonetic transcription and symbolises the openness of the city and its dwellers, regardless of their nationality. It is the openness towards creative behaviour in the city, even as far as the presentation of its name is concerned. The graphic symbol in the lower section of the logo refers to expanses which, together with the green spaces, constitute, in its scale, a unique area in the heart of one of the biggest cities in Poland. The Floating Garden is both the city's slogan and its vision. “2050 Project” is the aim, as well as a significant change in the way of thinking and acting in order to include this long-term aim within the prepared projects and activity.
- 4. Why does the logo contain the city's name written in an incomprehensible code?
- Part of the logo is an element inspired by the phonetic transcription of Szczecin's name. Szczecin is an impossible word to pronounce for many foreigners - see the results of Canadian research. The use of an international standard allows us to create an original logo form which makes Szczecin different from other cities, as well as to help foreign visitors to pronounce its name.
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- 5. What does the number 2050 refer to?
- The vision of Floating Garden as an aim - not a dream. What differentiates an aim from a dream? An aim is set in a particular time. The vision assumes making use of Szczecin's incredible potential i.e. water and green areas, as well as the space in the “heart” of the big city, in order to create a unique place in this part of Europe.
- 6. What investments are planned as a part of the city's vision?
- The implementation of the space management aims included within the vision requires long-term planning. It is difficult to present the investment plans in such a short period of time, since they require time and preparation. However, the city will soon present its land-use plan, which will include the islands area in the city centre. Environmentallyfriendly buses have been purchased, and several smaller projects which involve the city design and ecology are being implemented.
Why the blue and green colouring? What about previous navy blue and red colouring? The analysis of the city and its natural resources, which can be best observed from a bird's eye view, as well as direct associations with the city – water, greenery – show that blue and green constitute the natural colours of Szczecin. This colouring code is a perfect illustration of the aims of the Floating Garden strategy, which refers to the respect of nature and looking at the city from the perspective of the water and green areas. Red and navy blue colouring was a consequence of building upon the the colours of Szczecin’s coat of arms. This colouring remains part of the identification system of the city and constitutes the visual identification system of magistrates.
- 7. Why do Polish language materials have to contain city slogan written in the English language?
- “Floating Garden” is the main slogan of the city and stems from the aims included in the brand strategy. The city wants to communicate its existence in the region of its influence which spreads in Poland and beyond. We want Szczecin to be perceived in the context of its transborder location in Poland as well. Nowadays, when English is becoming a standard of international communication, and the plans concerning Floating Garden are to cross the city and the country borders, the use of English language slogan appears to be natural.
- 8. When can you see the first results that stem from the new vision of the city
- The results can already be observed and their number will grow day by day. You can see trams and buses painted in Floating Garden colours. The projects of building new cycling paths and the city information system are already being implemented. Other projects concerning brand strategy are being prepared and they will enter the scope of investments.
- 9. The media have reported that there is a mistake in the city's logo - has it been corrected?
- The media raised the problem of another version of the phonetic transcription of the name Szczecin. This was the reason for the incorrect claims that the city's logo contains mistakes. It was rather a mistake to analyse the graphic symbol, part of which is a set of IPA symbols, in terms of the rules concerning IPA transcription. It was not our intention to create the scholarly image of an IPA transcription but to construct an attractive graphic form inspired by the IPA code. The entire problem is considered a sheer misunderstanding.
- 10. Is using the English-language slogan not against the Act on the Polish language?
- Graphic symbols are not subject to the Act on the Polish language. Slogans in English are commonly used in the Polish market, especially in advertising campaigns of big, not only foreign, corporations.
- 11. Is it possible to use the Floating Garden logo in advertising booklets and other publications?
- Yes, it is; providing that the publication is compatible with the assumptions of the Floating Garden vision and the quality of the project is unquestionable. In order to obtain permission to use the logo, you need to obtain the city’s permission.
- 12. What can the vision of Szczecin offer its dwellers?
- The vision of the Floating Garden assumes dynamic development of the city and respect for its incredible natural potential. Consistent implementation will offer its citizens more opportunities to spend their free time by the water and among the green spaces of the city. Adopting such an innovative vision, among local Governments, has made Szczecin a city that has set an example and is talked about. This has been proved by a considerable number of presentations of this process in other cities, which took place during expert meetings, as well as two awards received during the City and Regional Promotion Festival 2009. This indisputably adds to the raising of the level of identification of the dwellers with their city.
If you have any questions concerning the “Floating Garden” vision of Szczecin, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.