City brands in the mediatised world

ari-veikko Anttiroiko


This article provides an overview of the images of Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki on the basis of international city rankings. City rankings are conceptualised as intermediary-generated ‘aggregate images’, which through their impact on investors and other stakeholders tend to intensify intercity competition. They reflect increased mediatisation, which brings a special kind of uncontrollable element into city branding. The empirical analysis of economic profiles of Nordic capitals leads to the conclusion that Stockholm stands out as the major Scandinavian producer city with highest rankings in business, high-tech, finance and knowledge. Copenhagen dominates the categories of culture, tourism, conferences and logistics. Concerning the other two, Oslo has strengths in finance and logistics, whereas Helsinki is profiled primarily as a high-tech city. All Nordic capitals utilise rankings in their brand communication. Yet it seems that only Stockholm has been able to integrate rankings effectively into its branding and to reap significant benefits from brand-related symbolic capital in its economic development policy.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413