City Branding Through the Olympic Games: A Study of the London 2012 Games and its Effect on the Brand Image of London

Ieva Svaldenyte

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines a phenomenon of city branding by hosting the Olympic Games as a way to enhance a city brand. A case of the London 2012 Games is employed to find out the key activities the host city exercised, based on the theory of city branding. The thesis provides a tool to review different event stages and also highlights the significance of involvement and communication towards different target groups. In addition, the study tries to explore the effect the event leaves on a city brand, more specifically, the impact on tourists’ impressions of the city. This thesis follows a deductive research approach, what means that a set of hypotheses is firstly proposed, then primary and secondary data is gathered to test them and answer the research questions. Secondary data forms the basis of research findings, while the findings from a conducted online survey give insights of what the young international audience, who have visited London after the event, perceives of the event and the city. Additionally, brand attributes are discovered, which are later compared to the ones the London 2012 Games aimed to promote and transfer to London’s image. The study concludes that London exercised city branding activities with a great focus on the early strategic planning and collaboration with target groups, especially with the government, and that consequently led to an enhancement of the city brand. Most importantly, this study of the London 2012 event, reveals a few insights into destination branding through this type of events, which could be followed by future host cities of the Games. Apart from the customary activities of destination branding, a future host is recommended to employ legacy in the strategy at the pre-event stage and to have an open data policy throughout the whole process.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages108