Talk the talk. Walk the walk. - Building the Oslo brand is actual, physical work.
Be inspired by these cases.
Be inspired by these cases.
A case for culture – Future Library
In Oslo, a new forest is growing. And in 100 years, it will become an anthology of books. Anne Beate Hovind, Project Director at Bjørvika Utvikling, got in touch with us one late evening in May 2015. Would we consider helping out on a project that might give Oslo the right attention?
Scottish artist Katie Paterson has launched a 100-year artwork – «Future Library» – for the city of Oslo. She has planted a thousand trees in Oslo’s Nordmarka forest, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed – a hundred years from now. Each year, one writer will contribute a text, with the work held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. Tending the forest and ensuring its preservation for the 100-year duration of the artwork finds a conceptual counterpoint in the invitation extended to each writer: to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.
The manuscripts will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the New Deichmanske Public Library opening in 2019
We do not know if people still inhabit our planet in 100 years (have we managed to destroy it?). We do not know if people still read books. What words will have died? Will libraries exist? All we know, is that you and I will not be present.
The prizewinning author, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood was named as the first writer to contribute to the project. On May 26th 2015 she handed over the manuscript at a handover event in the wood, followed by interviews in the library.
Is it on brand?
A library. Books. The forest. A 75-year-old author. A hundred years from now. Can this really be on brand for Oslo? As far as our vision is concerned, it really holds the same positive perspective; the best is yet to come.
Does it live our values?
The next step is to consider if we can act on our strategies:
Digital pioneers: We wanted the world to be able to participate in the handover event, both physical and digital. Periscope was launched in February 2015 and none of us had any experience with it, but it helped us broadcast to the world. It links well to Twitter, and with Margaret Atwood’s more than 800.000 followers – the word got around. In the conversation between Atwood and Paterson in the Library, we also did an interactive book signing through LongPen.
We embedded Oslo in the hashtag: #futurelibraryoslo, to make sure Oslo was also recognized.
The digital footprint
In less than two weeks, between 26 May and 8 June 2015, we reached almost 107 million people worldwide through social media (blogs, videos, Twitter, Instagram). International editorial coverage reached 4 million people, and The New York Times, BBC, Huffington Post, CTV News, The Observer, Argentina Star, Aktif Medya, and The Post Internazionale are a few examples.
Art can be a wonderful catalyst for place brand management, but you have to treat it with respect, and you have to find a way to involve the world. The art project in itself did not need a brand strategy, but Oslo was very lucky to be the host, and we got the world’s attention. For the next 100 years.
What will future authors write? Only lucky future generations will be able to find out. But we are absolutely certain that it will be remarkable.
A case for business – Oslo Innovation Week
Oslo Innovation Week is a five-days series of events held in Oslo each October. From seminars and talks, pitching contest and hackathons, to workshops, breakfast meetings and company crawls; you will find events all over the city. The events are organized by over 90 different organizers from the Oslo region, such as corporates, start-ups, accelerators and organizations. The organization Oslo Innovation Week is owned by the City of Oslo and Innovation Norway, and Oslo Business Region is project manager.
If you google «innovation conference», you will find that you can easily attend one every day for the rest of your life. Arranging an innovation tech conference does not automatically get you on brand. It does not automatically get you international recognition. For Oslo to stand out, we need to prove that we are pioneering, enriching and real. Here is what we do to make that happen:
We started by asking why: Why do we arrange Oslo Innovation Week? The answer is two-fold:
It is easier to define your target group and build your program, when you know why you do it. All event organisers must also start with why.
Is it on brand?
We use the brand filter to filter all events. To become part of Oslo Innovation Week, all event organisers must fulfil specific criteria:
Involve the audience before, during and after
At most conferences, the audience is not really involved (besides the possibility to ask questions during a session). In the Oslo region, we do not have steep hierarchies. We are used to collaborate across positions and disciplines. Every voice can be heard. The Oslo Innovation Week is a “dugnad” itself. To stand out, the Oslo Innovation Week will take a position as a co-lab. This means involving the audience all the way. Because people attend conferences today not only to be inspired, they want to learn and to build their network. Here, Oslo’s short distances are an advantage.
In English, please
If you want international recognition and attendees, your program needs to be in English. Simple as that!
2016 theme: Powercouples
The Oslo region today has a lot of different innovations going on. We do not know what industries will define us post-oil, but we do know innovation is the answer. Deciding the theme for each OIW needs to embrace different fields of innovation and tech (for instance medtech, edtech, music tech, fintech, clean tech, R&D, venture capital, academia, and more).
The theme for 2016 is Powercouples. Innovation, particularly radical innovation, happens when connecting previously unconnected bodies of knowledge. At Oslo Innovation Week 2016 we build bridges between the established companies and the start-up scene. Between public and private. Academia and business. Oil and medtech. Music and Fashion. And many more.
This means all event organizers – no matter the subject for their seminar – must support the theme Powercouples, and build bridges especially between established companies and the start-up scene. It also means they have to support start-ups with discounts on tickets.
Be a pioneer
All event organisers must live the pioneering value. This means:
Make the buzz
A lot of good events are never being recognized outside the walls of the conference room. All event organizers must have a social media strategy in place, and activate all the speakers to talk about Oslo. All event organizers must also identify at least one international journalist they want to invite.
Improvements from 2015
A case for sports – X Games
X Games is a sporting event covering a number of disciplines within extreme sports. First held in 1995, X Games is divided into summer and winter competitions. The winter X Games are held in Aspen, Colorado in January, wile summer X Games are usually held in Austin, Texas in August. The Oslo X Games were the first to combine summer and winter disciplines.
X Games Oslo was organized by TV2 in collaboration with SAHR Productions and the American TV channel ESPN as the owner of the X Games. Oslo Municipality supported X Games Oslo in 2016 with NOK 42 million.
Oslo has a long tradition of hosting major winter sports events, with the 1952 Olympics as its historical peak. There are annual FIS Cross-Country World Cup events, and the city has hosted skiing and biathlon World Cups a number of times.
During the last decade the city has also hosted major events in extreme sports such as the snowboarding World Cup and Arctic Challenge, and has gained a lot of expertise in the field. The municipality’s aim is to continue being an attractive destination for winter sports. Oslo’s international branding strategy also emphasizes profiling the city to young audiences, which fits well with the significantly younger fan base of action sports compared to traditional disciplines such as cross-country skiing.
X Games Oslo was held at three venues in Oslo in February 2016. A total of 16 sports events attracted 35.000 people, with 1,7 million TV viewers in Norway and just under 500 million viewers via ESPN and other channels.
Despite negative press reports about doping controls beforehand, the focus was quickly turned to performance and the event in itself. There was wide public support among Oslo residents, with 8 of 10 being positive to the arrangement.
Is it on brand?
X Games Oslo was considered to be on-brand by using the city as a whole, with events in various locations – showcasing the short distance between city and nature. Other sports events often show only the natural scenery – missing out on Oslo’s urban qualities.
The X Games were also considered to be on-brand by expressing Oslo’s values: Pioneering by renewing winter sports, enriching by being entertaining and attracting young target groups, and real by showing true passion for sports and dedicated, hard-working talents.
Oslo’s international branding strategy is clear on the need for being a digital pioneer. With small budgets compared to London, New York and Stockholm, Oslo must get attention in new ways. X Games delivered by focusing on young athletes who use social media to reach large audiences. A combination of broadcast TV and social media were seen as a strong platform for branding.
All in all, X Games Oslo was considered a good choice for branding Oslo as a young, pioneering city.
The digital footprint
X Games is aimed at a young audience – a target group using social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter more than any other age group. A shared strategy between X Games Oslo, ESPN and TV2 was to create enthusiasm among spectators as well as athletes to create attention for the event and for Oslo. In today’s media landscape, athletes are «broadcasters» in their own right.
The athletes at X Games Oslo had a total of 31 million followers. A good example of an athlete using social media is Brazil’s Leticia Bufoni, who was number five in women’s skating. Her live streaming on Facebook before the finals was watched by a total of 126 000 people, and directly before the start, more than 10.400 people. X Games’ own stream on Facebook from the same event was seen by 59.000, with up to 5.000 viewing live. Bufoni has over two million followers in social media.
X Games Oslo created great attention and interest compared with X Games Aspen. Despite being held for the first time, the Oslo games created more activity in social media than X Games Aspen.
A case for clean air – Green Visits
Oslo is going for zero. The official goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, and the city and its surrounding region is a living lab for testing new approaches within housing, mobility and energy production. It is becoming a learning arena for how the living environment of the future will look like.
Green Visits is an entry point for exploring the environmental, climate and renewable energy innovations developed and implemented in the Oslo region. Its website (http://www.greenvisits.no/) tells the story of how the region aims to transition to a low emissions and smart economy. You will also find profiles of Visit Objects and Companies taking part in the transition – with the solutions to make it happen.
Green Visits can organize visits to various plants, companies, projects and research facilities that are innovation leaders within green transport, renewable energy, green buildings and waste in the circular economy. It offers its services to companies, public organisations, NGOs, decision-makers, researchers and journalists.
Green Visits offers an introduction to the Oslo region and its stakeholders, and invites you to Norway to learn about solutions for a sustainable future. The Green Visits secretariat will be happy to assist you in structuring a relevant visiting program based on your professional needs, and schedule meetings with companies you are interested in.
Is it on brand?
As a learning arena for the living environment of the future it is certainly enriching. It is pioneering new approaches for achieving zero emissions. And seeing the whole city as a living lab, it is definitely real. So check: On brand.
Every August, the Øya Music Festival takes place in Oslo’s east end. During four days, 60 000 people flock to a large city park to enjoy a mix of big international names and up-and-coming artists.
For the 2017 festival, Oslo Brand Alliance, Innovation Norway and ad agency Anorak developed and launched the campaign «Guided by Fans».
Through social media, we recruited fans of 10 of the booked artists and bands, and asked them to offer their best tips for the artists’ stay in Oslo. Knowing both the city and their favourite performers well, they should be perfectly equipped for this task. More than one thousand tips were entered – a bit too few to get overly excited, but enough to move on with the project.
The tips were used to produce 10 personalized Oslo guide books, one for each of the selected artists. There was no planned media strategy apart from the hope that the artists would use the guide books to experience Oslo and share what they did with their international fans.
And – it worked. Here is a short film about the campaign and its results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsr4BUT4yhg
The artists and their management loved the idea, and by promoting the city, the festival gained new attention. And the other way around. This is truly what it’s all about: Use innovating marketing ideas to attract interest for the city.
Is it on brand?
Yes. The Brand Filter was used as a guidance tool. The campaign was aimed at and developed by young people. It was performed in English. And it was considered inventive enough to win the Gullkorn communications award for innovation.
From #vacayfail to adventure of a lifetime – how Oslo saved a Kiwi couple’s vacation
This summer, Marela and Sam from New Zealand went on a trip to Europe. As it turned out, they were not the only ones. Their itinerary included some of the continent’s most visited destinations, and after battling crowds of people and selfie sticks fighting for a peek at the Mona Lisa, a somewhat disheartened Marela commented on the experience on Instagram.
Oslo is unknown to the world, but we have a lot to offer. As digital pioneers, we don’t spend huge money on ads and boards. We follow our motto: show, and then tell. Via Instagram, we invited Marela and Sam to jump ship for an unforgettable 48 hours in Oslo. After being convinced that this was a real offer and not an internet scam, the Kiwis packed up their bags, and shortly after they arrived in Oslo.
Oslo is pioneering, enriching and very much for real. Marela and Sam went to Bar Brutus, Himkok, the café at Astrup Fearnley Museet, Godt Brød Grünerløkka, Astral, Vippa Oslo, the National Gallery, Ekebergparken Sculpture Park and Blå. They stayed in an AirBnB accommodation in Barcode, used city bikes from Oslo Bysykkel, tried SUP with Aksel Kolstad (bookable through the Lokalii app), and went to a Sofar Sounds “secret concert”. And of course they could watch Munch’s masterpieces completely undisturbed.
“I don’t think we could have predicted any of the activities that we have done in Oslo. For us to feel this way after only just 48 hours here, I think says a lot about what the city has to offer.” Marela Glavas
The video has more than 6 million views so far. Watch it in our video gallery
The agency behind the idea and production is Trigger.
Is it on brand?
It’s different, pioneering and cool. On brand it is.
«Culture is “an engine for skill enhancement”; for others, it will create a “sense of place” and can encourage companies to relocate» UK Cities Culture report 2015
To close the cultural perception gap about Oslo internationally, The Big O cooperate with existing projects, institutions and artists. In 2017, we held a compact The Big O «festival» in September as the closing party of Oslo Innovation Week at Salt Art Music.
The compact festival was a collaboration, a «dugnad» with the following institutions and artists: the Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen with his slide show «The Last Testament», screening of the Oslo film «Thelma» followed by and a q&a with director Joachim Trier, the Stardust Quartet from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the performance art duo Sexy Boyfriends with «Sexy Bydel», TORGNY, Eivind Henjum and experimental dancer Ida Wigdel, Billie Van with band, the Canadian professor and hip hop artist Narcy, sauna session with DJ Joachim Haugland from Smalltown Supersound, and afterparty in Naustet (the boathouse) with Oslo World and B2B ONKOD DJs.
Did it work?
The results from the survey show that 86% of the audience say they would come back to The Big O next time and 78% would recommend The Big O to others. 100% of the partners found the collaboration useful and want to continue to be a partner.
So – yes, it worked.