Case study: Sigtuna

Sigtuna. From oldest to first

PLACE BRANDING

Sigtuna_logo

Sigtuna wanted to become more forward-looking, to attract new residents, new business, and develop a dynamic growth strategy. In 2009, UP CEO Julian Stubbs was asked to join the board of the local tourism authority, to consider options for Sigtuna’s future brand and marketing.

Location

Sweden

Sector

Places & destinations

Service

Branding & communications

Background

The picturesque town of Sigtuna sits on the shores of Lake Mälaren in Sweden. Sigtuna is a successful tourist destination, and is also the place where the Viking King Erik Segersäll founded the country’s first capital, over a thousand years ago.

The brief

Sigtuna is well known for its history and heritage. The town’s marketing had always centered on these elements. But Sigtuna wanted to become more forward-looking, to attract new residents, new business, and develop a dynamic growth strategy. In 2009, UP CEO Julian Stubbs was asked to join the board of the local tourism authority, to consider options for Sigtuna’s future brand and marketing.

The solution

When asked, people’s typical associations with Sigtuna commonly included characters from the stories of Elsa Beskow, kanelbullar, (cinnamon buns) and Vikings. Our task was to find a new center point for the destination. Starting there would help us develop an appropriate identity. Logotypes and identity should reflect the positioning of a place, so the heart of the process involves carefully matching up the brief and goals for a destination – after defining its positioning.

We developed a new brand identity for Sigtuna after nearly a year of meeting key local stakeholders, in local business, schools, and the community, as well as interacting closely with local politicians across all political parties. It was crucial to success that all key stakeholders supported the brand proposition and new identity. At the same time, we created a new vision that focused on a simple new proposition, a refinement of the existing Sigtuna positioning as Sweden’s first town. We distilled the essence of the message down to just one important word – first.

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The Sigtuna vision

Sigtuna: the first choice in Sweden as a place to work, to meet, to learn, to enjoy, to discover, to grow. Sigtuna: the first choice to live.

Sigtuna Literature Festival: As part of the Sigtuna promotion strategy UP was also heavily involved in creating the Sigtuna Literature Festival. This event, now in its fourth year, happens annually and has over 70 sessions with authors from around the world taking part in. Intimate venues from around the town are used, everything from coffee shops holding just 30 people to the old town church, holding 300 people are chosen. This helps give the event its intimate appeal.

Sigtuna_brand_material

The results

The word ‘first’ summed up Sigtuna’s history of significant ‘firsts’, from being the first town of Sweden, to the place where the first coins were minted and the first bricks made. But we saw the word ‘first’ in a much broader perspective. We tried to imagine what the first Swedish king was trying to achieve. We saw him as an entrepreneur and a risk-taker. We wanted to retrieve that spirit of innovation and bravery and direct it towards the community.

We saw ‘first’ as a challenge for Sigtuna to become more ambitious and lead the way in its approach to development. ‘First’ reflects Sigtuna’s vision of bravery, innovation and delivering the highest possible standards. It also helps define the town’s goals and the core values that guide Sigtuna as a growing, vibrant destination.

Under the new tagline Sigtuna Where Sweden Begins, the destination now has a vibrant tourism industry, and is attracting new residents from Stockholm, Sweden and the world. Economically the municipality is also one of the fastest growing in Sweden, creating over a thousand new jobs in 2013 alone.

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