In Freiburg recently, a new brand was presented with which from now on the tourist offers of the city in Breisgau are to be bundled and advertised. The underlying branding process was initiated back in 2019. After two years of planning, strategy meetings, consultation and creation, the brand design is implemented in the final phase.
The result is the new tourism brand identity of Freiburg, as it is called by the municipal marketing company FWTM, as part of a participatory, target group-oriented branding process in which various actors from politics, science, administration, tourism and the citizenry were involved or accompanied by them. The basis of the tourism branding process, which runs in three phases (concept development, consultation, implementation), is the goal of harmonizing tourism growth and urban compatibility. In this way, the tourist brand should not only create an authentic travel experience for guests, but at the same time bring the quality of life to the citizens of the city.
“Like many other cities, Freiburg is in competition for skilled workers, companies and guests. Tourism is an important economic factor ”, says FWTM managing director Hanna Böhme. “In order to be able to ensure sustainable and city-friendly growth, it is necessary to identify the strengths of the destination, to use them and to stand out from other travel destinations. For this reason, we have started a process that has produced a tourist brand that expresses the uniqueness of our city. “
When developing the tourism concept, great importance was attached to, as René Derjung, Head of Corporate Communication FWTM, told dt, “to create a new tourism brand that goes beyond what Freiburg has always been: attributes such as the city of wine, of the forest and the Gothic. These are brands with which Freiburg is no longer successful today and which no longer really appeal to our targeted target groups. ”What is also decisive is what the customer or the guest ultimately experiences in Freiburg. And this can only happen with the participation of all local actors.
The logo of the newly created tourism brand, called the “tourist target image” by the creators, consists of several circular elements with different line widths. The circle elements, which are supposed to convey dynamism, include the name of the city as a two-line lettering at their core. The trademark, which can be displayed variably in red, black or white on a red background, acts like a kind of seal of quality and combines adjectives such as dynamic, lively, curious, simple, relaxed, natural, authentic and rich in contrast.
The branding process was accompanied by the BrandTrust agency (Nuremberg). According to FWTM, the costs for the branding process amount to a total of 200,000 euros. The design of the new tourist brand comes from the agency Designconcepts (Freiburg, Furtwangen). Under the url freiburgtourismus-partnerportal.de/touristische-marke the process is comprehensively documented. In the course of the introduction of the new brands, the website visit.freiburg.de relauncht.
As is well known, the Black Forest capital has many interesting sights to offer in addition to the best weather. Freiburg has so far not been able to come up with an independent tourism brand presence. For many years, a makeshift construct consisting of the company logo of the FWTM and a city name in square brackets was used as the sender. That was and is not particularly convincing in terms of brand communication, because from the recipient’s point of view it is not clear which brand is actually communicating with you. The city? A company? And the lack of clarity with regard to the sender also has a negative effect on the design of the media (illustration). In this respect, the step as such, to implement a clear, unambiguous sender, is understandable and, from my point of view, absolutely correct.
As a seal of quality, as intended, the open sign, which consists of numerous segments, is unlikely to be perceived, because it simply lacks the shape typical of a seal of quality, and it is usually closed, see organic label, FairTrade logo and many more. Closed because this is the appropriate visual equivalent for “preserve” and “secure”. Preserve well, ensure quality. In my opinion, a tourism trademark does not have to be regarded as a seal of quality. It should, in the context of the overall branding, Convey attractiveness. With regard to the redesigned media, it seems to me that this goal has been achieved.
What remains, however, is the (old) question: does a city need a separate tourism brand? Does a municipality need several different identities in order to be able to communicate with citizens, business partners, investors and tourists, possibly in a more targeted manner? Does it make sense to have several diverging visual identities, each of which needs to be maintained and further developed? Isn’t it wiser to use just ONE visual appearance, cheaper and more sustainable, in order to convey a clear and unambiguous profile both internally and externally? One uniform language. Where misdirected marketing can lead can be seen, for example, in Cologne, Düsseldorf and also in other places where a large number of urban trademarks cause confusion.
In Bochum, Helsinki, Eindhoven, to name just a few examples, after having dealt with several visual identities for decades, they decided on a one-brand strategy. AN umbrella brand, which on the one hand serves the city administration as a sender and as a sovereign symbol and on the other hand is used as a trademark in the context of offers in the field of economic and tourism promotion. Many other cities, such as Antwerp, Vilnius, Bratislava or Garmisch-Partenkirchen, show that something like this is possible and that different groups can be targeted in this way. In my opinion, such an umbrella brand concept would also have looked good on Freiburg.