Business trip: Turku, Finland

Helsinki, 18 degrees

To continue the recitation of last week, I wanted to dedicate one blog insert to describe my experiences in Turku last week. All the Tourist Offices in Finland belong to a association that put up standards for the Finnish Official Tourist Offices. This association, called Suoma ry, organized last week a two-day-long summer event in Turku for all official Tourist Organizations in Finland. Turku was chosen as the location due to the fact that the city this year functions as the Cultural Capital of Europe.

So this girl took a two-hour-long train ride to Turku and spent the night there at Hotel Scandic Julia.

The two days in Turku were filled with program for us visitors which I found exciting since I've visited Turku many times but never as a so-called tourist. Now I got to see the city from a visitor's point of view. We got to experience a river cruise, see an amazing circus performance, eat at great restaurants and visit the exhibitions center Logomo created for this year's theme year.

This doesn't mean that the visit was purely for pleasure, we did actually have seminars and meetings as well. The whole idea behind the mother organization is to create opportunities where the Finnish Tourist Offices can come together, inspire each other and motivate new ideas in the working environment.

I thought it was very interesting to listen to e.g. Turku's and Tampere's tourist offices when they told about different marketing campaigns they've had. Turku has launched a new campaign called "Kiss my Turku" where they try to provoke people and invite visitors to comment and be interactive with the tourist office. Turku uses famous town residents of the city to give ideas about the favorite places in Turku of these wellknown people. Tampere on the other hand has launched a new brand idea of called "Tampere-all bright" which doesn't merely talk about the city's tourism but it is a much larger concept that talks about the vivid and perky spirit of the city and its inhabitants.


Both cities gave me ideas about how one can promote a city. In addition, we got to hear a presentation by the art director of Hasan&Partners, a marketing company based in Helsinki. This presentation gave me a lot as well, as it awoke some thoughts about our Helsinkian office. I liked the fact that the presenter used practical examples like Apple, Nike, Old Spice and Rom chocolate bar to point out to us how one can create a brand and maintain it. I especially liked the part when he talked about the fact that a brand stands for a behavior, not claims. "Brands are created in the mind of recipients and therefore only the audience can truly own them."

The question is how to develop Helsinki and its brand by using the knowledge I have now gained about brands..ideas?

What's your opinion?