By Hanna Lutz
It is not only companies that have become more and more aware of the importance of binding employees to them in the long term instead of only focusing on new staff and customers (Internal Employer Branding). Also city and region managers start to realize that their marketing efforts should not only involve the recruitment of skilled employees, investors, companies and tourists – but also address the residents in order to raise their identification with the city/region as well as their local or regional affiliation.
The blog entry Marketing of High-tech Regions (1): Karlsruhe “HighTech meets the Good Life” already dealt with the issue of regional cooperation and their marketing tools aiming to attract external actors such as specialized personnel. This post will present another regional cooperation, the “Nuremberg Metropolitan Region” (NMR) which focuses – besides the increase of attention in the international arena – also on the identification that its citizens themselves have with their city or region.
Nuremberg has a population of over 500.000 inhabitants while the entire Metropolitan Region holds more than 3.5 million and contains world famous historic (medieval) cities just as Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bamberg or Nuremberg. Moreover, Nuremberg and its region is well known for its products such as “Nürnberger Rostbratwürstchen”, the “Christkindlmarkt” (Christmas Market), the “Frankonian Swietzerland”, the “Richard Wagner Festivals” as well as its historical background (Dark Age, Reichsparteitag, Nazi Trials). Consequently, the NMR attracts around 5,5 million visitors each year. And also in terms of economic development and employment the region is within a good range (BIP between 2000-2008: +21.0 %).
The principle behind Nürnberg’s policy is a parallel between a company and a region: Just like it the success of companies is directly connected to the employee`s identification with his or her company’s goals, the success of a city’s or region’s image appears to be closely bound to the resident’s perception of their place and its transfer across the region’s borders. In a nutshell: A positive external image depends on a positive internal image. Of course, in practice, it is difficult to distinguish between internal and external as it is difficult to prove the correlation.
This seems to have made an impact in the minds of NMR’s marketing team. Even though the slogan “See it. Feel it. Stay” ( in German:” Kommen. Staunen. Bleiben”) implies that “seeing and staying” (employees) might play a bigger role than “staying” (residents) or “seeing” (tourists), the marketing efforts of NMR seem to attribute much significance to Resident-Regional-Identification. A diversity of instruments is used to directly address the “Metropolitan residents”. Four of them will be presented in the following part.
The leisure card “EntdeckerPass” (hyperlink), aims to make the region more attractive to its local residents by exploring “the region and visit the top attractions either cost-free or for reduced admission” (1). Its slogan “Wanderlust starts at home…” (in German: „Fernweh ganz nah…”) clearly shows that the targeting group isn’t the tourists but the residents.
The leisure guide “Erlebniswegweiser Metropolregion Nürnberg” gives an overview of over 1.000 excursion ideas, activities, places to see and attractions but is not only dedicated to visitors but also to persuade “quite a number to return or even to stay” (2).
The installation of 100 special Nuremberg Metropolitan Region road signs (so far, no other Metropolitan region has erected any) aims to raise awareness of local identity by making it “clearer to locals that they are part of the Metropolitan Region” (3).
A part of the campaign that especially caught my attention was the – so far – only commercial spot for the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region. It merely shows a merchandise lighter from the regional soccer club “1. FCN” which is highlighted by a flashlight while one can hear typical soccer game sounds in the background. A discussion about its quality or actual advertising effects cannot be discussed in this post, it is only worth highlighting that a commercial spot (especially if it’s the only one published) isn’t a typical image movie to attract external actors, but is directed exclusively towards residents.
Even though I am not able to prove whether the marketing efforts indeed strengthen the Resident-Region-Identification and even though I am sure there are more tools to do so (just like participatory processes), the various endeavors made by the NMR to enhance local and regional identity and therefore to create a good internal image of the Metropolitan Region (in order to create a good external image) are worth this post.