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Destination unknown, Part I

Destination unknown, Part I

It is essential to find a unique selling point to market a destination, Ken Kelling, communications director for Visit London, tells Communicate magazine, Part I.

January 6, 2010 1:49 by

Visit London is the organization charged with marketing the city of London to the world. From the Olympics to the recession to terrorism, Visit London has to manage a range of media events and occasionally to cope with unpredictable crises, all the time trying to ensure a steady stream of visitors to the UK capital. These visitors are a major factor in the city’s economic success.

The company’s communications director, Ken Keller, was in the Middle East recently to speak at the Institute for International Research’s PR Congress. Communicate caught up with him to find out how London markets itself across the world.

Where do you start when you’re marketing a location as opposed to a company or a brand?

That has been one of the key issues for London over the last few years, particularly with the Olympics coming up. You’re under pressure to suddenly be able to deliver a worldwide message to a global stage. So we’ve done a lot of work to look at what the London brand is, how we communicate that, and what is it that we want to say.

In London the conclusion we have come to is, in a way, London is whatever you want it to be. There have been lots of attempts to define London, whether through its history or modernity or through icons, but I think there’s been a lot in the last few years that has really focused on London as a world city – literally every country in the world has a citizen in London. The easiest thing to do was actually just let it breathe by itself. By just putting the word out there, people will understand what it means for them.

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