Brussels | Resonance

Transforming the Image of Europe's Capital

An Unprecedented Effort by the Regional Government to Bring Tourism, Talent Attraction, FDI, and Private Corporations Together Around a Unified Brand and Narrative.

A complex government structure and lack of common vision had long diluted Brussels’ brand equity, resulting in the perception of the city as a bland and bureaucratic administrative center. The Brussels Region engaged Resonance to lead an ambitious destination branding and marketing initiative that would position Brussels as not simply the capital of the EU, but also an irresistible place to live, visit, work and play.

Pan-European surveys and meetings with more than a hundred stakeholders in government, the arts and private industry revealed that Brussels ranked highly not only for its administrative stature but also for cultural, lifestyle, historical and gastronomical attributes. Importantly, it was perceived as welcoming and tolerant, a city where newcomers and visitors could fit in, find their community and fall in love with the city.

Armed with these insights, Resonance workshopped three positioning scenarios for the brand with a cross-section of city leaders. The most compelling option, Dare to be Yourself leverages the open, accepting character of the region, and focuses on the distinctly quirky and proudly non-conformist character that’s hiding just below EU propriety. It’s a clear differentiation from competing cities and a marked departure from current perceptions of Brussels, designed to provoke sophisticated and world-weary travelers, talent and investors.

The goal going forward is to ensure alignment and consistent application across tourism, economic development and, importantly, the private sector, so that the region speaks with one powerful, united voice and the message resonates for all stakeholders. Resonance is leading the effort, partnering with multiple local promotion and marketing agencies, as well as private stakeholders, on branding execution and implementation, including a brand manifesto film and new identity system.

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