DES: Sweden's capital city - Stockholm - in a desperate attempt to attract well-heeled travellers, has infuriated its Scandinavian neighbours in Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki.
TINA: The problem first surfaced when the Swedish capital's tourist board launched a new campaign, branding Stockholm "The Capital of Scandinavia". This was like waving a red flag in the face of the Danes, Norwegians and Finns, who see the campaign as yet another prime example of Swedish arrogance.
DES: Whilst it's true that most outsiders perceive Stockholm to be the dominant city in the region, and that it's a good sign when your competitors start complaining about your brand campaign, but when at the same time you need the co-operation of your pan-regional neighbours, a covert brand strategy is the order of the day.
TINA: Witness how Edinburgh, covertly out-manoeuvred its bigger rival Glasgow, to become the capital of a devolved Scotland, as Glasgow got side-tracked promoting meaningless slogans such as 'Glasgow's (s)Miles Better' and 'GlasGrow For It'. (See footnote: Edinburgh).
DES: To re-gain the co-operation of its regional neighbours, Stockholm should play down its overt 'Capital of Scandinavia' brand message, and start championing a single big brand idea for Brand Scandinavia.
TINA: And the obvious big brand idea?
DES: Scandinavian Style.
TINA: I absolutely agree. Witness the traditional and modernist pan-regional style - in architecture, furniture, fashion, electronics, toys & games, glassmaking, metalwork and ceramics.
DES: Scandinavia boasts some of the world's biggest commercial style brands - from Bang & Olufsen to IKEA to Nokia.
TINA: The fusion of Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish styles gives Brand Scandinavia a fabulous future-focus, integrating and generating tourism, inward investments and exports.
'Brand' the Marketect says:
"Uncover your big brand idea from within the cultural clashes found in your destination's population - in their beliefs, attitudes, habits, rituals, skills, talents or taboos."
Edinburgh, having established itself as the official capital of a devolved Scotland, this prosperous city should now help to build its brand category ie.Scotland, which despite owning arguably one of the world's most recognisable visual identities - tartan, bagpipes & thistle - this nation is in dire need of a future-focused, cultural brand strategy, designed to generate sustained prosperity throughout the country - islands, highlands and lowlands.