Frankfurt - Germany's business, finance and transportation hub is located in the heart of the country on the river Main. Worldwide, the city is commonly associated with the financial centre of continental Europe, as it is home of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the European Central Bank and the German National Bank. Frankfurt is also well known for its unique skyline, for the largest German airport and for hosting some of the world's most important trade fairs.
This financial environment entices businessmen to visit Frankfurt, but, it does not attract tourists looking for leisure and cultural activities, even though the city has more attractions than merely its skyscrapers and fancy business buildings. However, there is very little awareness for Frankfurt and its amenities as a tourist destination, especially in the Gulf region.
Therefore, bridge:media was engaged by the Frankfurt Tourismus and Congress GmbH and the German National Tourist Organisation to help changing the perception of Frankfurt, promoting the city as an ideal travel destination for visitors from the Gulf countries and ultimately increase overnight stays of Gulf Arabs.
bridge:media devised a long-term strategic communication campaign aimed at improving awareness of Frankfurt as a tourist destination amongst visitors from the Gulf. In order to promote Frankfurt effectively, a major component of the campaign was to develop a strategic approach that included conceptualising an appealing image of the city for the target audience, mainly comprising of families and young travellers from the Gulf.
Therefore, the general strategy was to highlight that Frankfurt is not solely a business city, but offers numerous on-site attractions to visitors from the Gulf. bridge:media decided to stressed several elements that are particularly important for visitors from the Gulf region, such as Frankfurt's offers in terms of leisure activities, including shopping centres, museums as well as parks, its historical sites and its culinary diversity. In addition, the campaign communicated than people from all over the world reside in Frankfurt, giving the city a very international character and the flair of a cosmopolitan city.
Another important element of bridge:media's strategy was to underline the easy and convenient access for Gulf travellers due to the frequent direct flight connection to Germany's largest airport, Frankfurt Airport, from all Gulf countries.
Furthermore, in order to promote an even more distinct picture of the city that appeals to the target audience, bridge:media consulted on a certain approach to easily distinguish Frankfurt from other European cities. A core element of this communication strategy was to promote Frankfurt as a diverse and fascinating 'city of contrasts'. Specifically, the coexistence of modernity and history within the city was emphasised. For example, a large number of feature articles described the fascinating mixture of futuristic and ancient architecture: Frankfurt's banking district with its numerous skyscrapers, including the 'Commerzbank' tower, Europe's largest office building, is surrounded by medieval buildings in the nearby old town centre. Other articles underlined the diverse exhibitions that are hosted in Frankfurt, ranging from historical museums to some of the world's largest trade fair shows. Moreover, the contrast of Frankfurt's urban flair and its rich greenery inside the city as well as the picturesque nature, including forests, hills and meadows, around Frankfurt was emphasised.
Following this strategic approach, bridge:media created a selected tailored media list for the publication of articles in daily newspapers as well as special interest magazines. Accordingly, several press releases and features were conceptualised and disseminated amongst local and regional newspapers and periodicals focusing on certain themes, such as travel, lifestyle, families, young people's and finance.
bridge:media's public relations campaign, which was built up over several months has attained resounding success.
Many local and regional media outlets published travel-related news items and articles on Frankfurt in Arabic for the first time. Therefore, the media campaign contributed to communicating a vibrant multi-faceted picture of Frankfurt not only attracting businessmen, but also families and young visitors from the Gulf.
This image was positively perceived by both, the media and the public. The media coverage was extensive and the newspapers and periodicals that published articles about Frankfurt are amongst the most influential in the Gulf region, including major dailies in the UAE and Kuwait.
In conclusion, before bridge:media's comprehensive communication campaign, Frankfurt was merely known for its large financial sector. In contrast to other large European cities, Frankfurt was not considered as travel destinations amongst Gulf Arabs. bridge:media was able to modify the perception of Frankfurt in the Gulf region. Through its extensive media campaign and the intensive communication strategy, bridge:media succeeded in creating a distinct picture of Frankfurt in the Gulf region: Frankfurt is now widely known as the German 'city of contrast' that is well worth a visit.