Every municipality on the island of Zealand should be branded as ‘Copenhagen’ in an effort to attract international investors, local and regional politicians have decided.
A shared brand for the 46 municipalities that make up the 7,031 km2 island of Zealand – Denmark’s largest – will help create growth and job creation in the area, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, the chairwoman of the Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden), said.
“To an American or a Chinese investor, being 40 minutes away from the airport still qualifies as 'Copenhagen' even if they are really in Hillerød," Andersen told The Local.
"There is an interdependency between the countryside and the city, and as a community we are dependent on growth in the whole area. The smaller municipalities are very dependent on Copenhagen and need the name in order to attract international talent. I visited a company in Frederikssund that told me that they couldn't find an engineer to work for them until they changed the advertisement to say that the job was in the Greater Copenhagen area. Then they got a lot of interest," she added.
She said there has always been a sense that 'Copenhagen' extends beyond the city.
"I grew up in Gladsaxe, which is about 20 minutes outside the city, and when I was a kid I would always tell people I was from Gladsaxe but friends and family in Jutland and on Funen would always say, 'Oh, you're from Copenhagen.' So outside of Zealand, they have always sort of seen the whole area as Copenhagen," she said.
Andersen said that Region Hovedstaden is also in talks with the Swedish cities of Malmö and Helsingborg about a wider branding and marketing campaign.
Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen, said that the branding effort would help the Copenhagen area compete with cities like Berlin and Stockholm.
“Global competition is fierce, and Denmark is a small country. Therefore it is essential that we work together and acknowledge that the city and its surroundings are heavily dependent on one another when it comes to creating growth and attracting investors to the area,” he said.
“Rather than thinking small and locally, we need to think large and regionally,” Jensen added.
Can-Seng Ooi, a professor at Copenhagen Business School who specialises in branding and tourism strategies, said the rebranding would only work for those not familiar with Copenhagen.
“Danes and residents of Denmark might think this is a strange idea, but for the rest of the world that doesn’t know much about Copenhagen or Denmark, this would seem quite natural,” he told The Local.
“If the strategy is targeted at the near market, like Norway for example, people would become cynical and find it inauthentic, but it could work when targeting a place like Japan where knowledge of the area is limited,” he added.
Can-Seng Ooi said that the branding campaign could be very beneficial for smaller Zealand towns that want to use Copenhagen’s name as leverage. But it could become a problem if a town located well outside the city tries to market itself as an urban destination.
“Authenticity is a potential problem, but it really all depends on the investor’s needs. Some might only want to be in the city centre, but for others it might be better to be in a suburban or rural setting,” he said.
“But no serious investors would make a decision solely based on a name,” Can-Seng Ooi added.