Between you and me is Seoul!
Credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government
City brand is a philosophy. It is not a mere message but a media platform in and of itself. Seoul’s definition of a city brand is, “A playground for all citizens and the accumulation of their wisdom and experience.”
The I Seoul U city brand was chosen in late October of 2015 after a series of public voting. Seoul Metropolitan Government selected three finalists from all the entries and decided on the winner based on a combination of an online vote open to all (50%), voting by 1000+ citizens in person (25%), and the evaluation of a professional panel (25%). The brand “I SEOUL U” beat out the other two, “SEOULMATE” and “SEOULing,” and replaced the old campaign “Hi Seoul” which had been used since 2002.
I Seoul U is very reminiscent of other successful city brandings using a mix of the city’s own name like I love New York, I Amsterdam or Be Berlin.
By positioning ‘Seoul’ between I and U, the slogan conveys a message that Seoul is a city of coexistence.
So what does “I.SEOUL.U” convey?
Seoul connects people.
You and I, citizen to citizen, citizens and the world: Seoul is the heart of all human relationships. Inside the city of Seoul, generations, nationalities, mountains and rivers, ancient palaces and skyscrapers coexist harmoniously.
Seoul connects two dots symbolizing passion and composure.
Next to ‘I’ is a red dot that symbolizes ‘passion.’ Next to ‘U’ is a blue dot that symbolizes ‘composure.’ In Seoul, passion and composure co-exist and mingle harmoniously.
The ‘O’ from SEOUL is common to Hangeul and the Roman alphabet.
The ‘O’ was taken from both the Roman letter ‘O’ and the Korean consonant ‘ieung’ (i.e. ‘ㅇ’) to represent Seoul’s friendly relationship with the rest of the world. The ‘ieung’ also has the form of a traditional door knob, inviting people to open the door to Seoul and enter.
Seoul is a constantly changing city. In this decade, Seoul is considered one of the smartest cities in the world.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government website quotes policy advisor Simon Anholt: “Without city branding, nation branding is an illusion. The way you brand a city can change the status of a city and highlights the differences between your city and others.” It conveys that Seoul is South Korea, just as Paris is France and London is England. Thus, a city brand can define an entire nation to the rest of the world.
More details on Seoul and the city brand are at the city’s official website.
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Source: Seoul Metropolitan Government