Brand Union

Insight Analysis

Which mayoral candidate would be best for “Brand London?”

John Shaw

May 04 2016

Much has been written about the candidates standing in London’s mayoral election. But in the hubbub about housing policies and Heathrow expansion, one of the things that doesn’t get talked about is what they’ll do for “Brand London”.

London is a huge brand, and a valuable one. It accounts for more than half of the £25bn inbound tourism spend to the UK, draws talented people to Europe’s fastest growing tech cluster, and attracts massive investment. Its brand is owned by the people of London, and they need to make sure it’s looked after properly.

Brands are built on associations – the large or small things that people carry in their heads and hearts, which influence how they feel. And London’s associations are some of the richest and most famous in the world.

Crucially, it is people who affect brands. And the person most likely to influence a city’s brand destiny is its mayor. Rudy Giuliani transformed New York from dangerously exciting to just plain exciting. London’s mayor is not simply responsible for the city’s governance, they are its vital and dynamic symbol – a brand manager and spokesperson. If London was Nespresso, the mayor would be a Nestle marketing executive and George Clooney rolled into one. Westminster Abbey and the Beefeaters don’t change much, but every day the mayor is doing things which affect London’s brand, whether it’s riding a self-christened bike or getting stuck on a zip-wire.


Read the full article at City A.M.