Perception versus strategy - city branding: The case of Wonderful Copenhagen and Brand Copenhagen

Marie Wissendorf Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The subject of this master thesis is to analyse the perceptions of Copenhagen as a tourist destination by extensively questioning three different target groups and whether or not their perceptions correspond to the branding strategies proposed by Wonderful Copenhagen and Brand Copenhagen. The surveys were created with a departure point in Simon Anholt’s city brand index. First of all, several different branding theorists were put in relation to the two empirical cases of Wonderful Copenhagen and Brand Copenhagen where it became evident that the organisations seem to be operating under different theoretical conditions proposed by these theorists. In the analyses it was clear that the target groups’ perception of what an international capital should offer its visitors differs extensively from the focus areas of Wonderful Copenhagen. There were many people within the target groups that do not think Copenhagen lacks behind in being a leading international capital, however, there were also scepticism and many people argued that the opening hours and gastronomic offerings in Copenhagen are not satisfactory. In relation to Brand Copenhagen it became evident that many foreign visitors did not know much about Copenhagen and it is questioned whether or not Copenhagen has an established brand out in the world. Focusing on Simon Anholt’s criteria for a city brand it came clear that all three target groups were concerned with the safety, the cleanliness and unhealthy climate in Copenhagen. In addition, the target groups perceived the Copenhagen people as being reserved, however, to a certain extent also open. The concept open was received relatively positive but there was still reluctance in considering Copenhagen as being open with many references to the opening hours in shops, at tourist attractions and in restaurants and that the Copenhagen people are closed. Two gap analyses lead to the suggestion of having a different approach in both WOCO and Brand Copenhagen in order for Copenhagen to gain a higher brand value as a tourist destination. WOCO must focus on the offerings prioritised by the target groups and on improving the gastronomic offerings. Also, WOCO should consider a strategy with emphasis on the concept of Danish “hygge”. Brand Copenhagen must not be over promising in their messages and work towards a cleaner city with healthier climate. Also, it is necessary to work towards a more open Copenhagen especially referring to the people in Copenhagen and they should also be a part of the process of promoting Copenhagen as open. By implementing the proposed suggestions it will possible to assure that Copenhagen will gain a much higher brand value in the future.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages153