Brand Milano: how to develop the brand of a city from its symbols.


Does a city that is already well renowned around the globe need to work hard to develop a distinctive identity? It does if it wants to adapt to the social, economic, cultural and technological transformations that are changing our cities. In the wake of the city of Milan has been working towards the definition of its new branding strategy.


Cities that want to emerge economically are in need of branding strategies. For cities to progress as established centres of business, tourism and culture there is also a need to develop their brand in order to keep up with the challenges posed by socioeconomic transformations.

The city of Milan has long been identified as the industrial powerhouse of Italy. A shift in more recent years has moved into being a major global centre for design and fashion. The up-coming EXPO 2015 presents a great opportunity to put the city at the centre of global attention and accordingly a diverse group of urban stakeholders has been working to spark the debate over the development of a new identity for the city. The goal is to capitalise on the attention generated by global events such as EXPO 2015 without being exclusively dependent on it, but rather using them as a stage to show and promote the key features of the city.

The Milano Brand Committee is composed of experts and representatives of key local stakeholders, belonging to the fields of education and research, corporate, culture, media, religious institutions, tourism and the municipal administration. The analysis and the exchange of best practice with other cities across Europe represents a key strategy for the committee.

The working method Milano Brand Committee included scientific research on the symbols that identified the city throughout history, the development of citizen consultations, public exhibitions and round table discussions with international experts. This approach to the development of a city brand reflects the need for activities that are not solely driven by municipal bodies, but require the engagement of a wider range of local stakeholders. Only with this approach is it possible to develop a shared city brand concept. In this sense one of the goals of the committee is to develop new management frameworks of public branding policies.