The Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city located on the banks of the river Elbe. Its port is the largest in the country and is named Germany's 'Gateway to the World' due to its economical and logistical significance.
However, Hamburg is more than merely a sea freight hub. Thanks to the city's prime location close to the North Sea, in Europe Hamburg is widely known for its unique maritime flair and enjoyable lifestyle as well as for its leading role in the renewable energy sector. Boasting the title of 'European Green Capital 2011', it is also a prime example of successful coexistence between economic growths and environmental protection. Moreover, it is broadly recognized as the 'European capital for live music', due to its numerous music events, which range from operas and musicals to classical, jazz, pop and world music.
Prior to bridge:media's engagement in Hamburg's public relations in the Gulf region, there was already partial awareness of the Hanseatic City across the region, but an established public image was still missing. Therefore, structuring a public relations and communication strategy that would enhance awareness for Hamburg as a tourist destination as well as a potential investment partner across the Gulf region, marked the main challenge for bridge:media.
bridge: media has worked with Hamburg Marketing for several years to implement an intense communication and media strategy, which has developed around specific key messages. The adopted strategy has mainly focused on three key elements, consisting of promoting Hamburg's artistic, environmental and economical richness.
Initially, the campaign has aimed at fostering the image of Hamburg as Europe's centre for music with its more than fifty live music events hosted every day and the several festivals held throughout the year, giving the city the perfect mixture of lifestyle and creativity. Moreover, the objective has been on the one hand, to emphasise Hamburg's beautiful nature and its romantic maritime scenery of channels and gothic buildings. On the other hand, it was important to underline Hamburg's leading role in the field of renewable energies and thus its great potential as business partner. Finally, bridge:media's strategy has stressed on Hamburg's attractiveness for investors, mainly focusing on Hamburg's harbor functioning as a commercial link between Eastern European and Scandinavian countries as well as on Hamburg government's incentive programmes largely supporting investments in the sector of renewable energies.
After the strategic selection of the focal points adopted in the campaign, the messages were subsequently communicated through the conceptualisation of different types of journalistic articles, including features, press releases and interviews with Hamburg's officials, such as the former Mayor Ole von Beust. The campaign has included the regular placement of articles in both English and Arabic in selected national, regional and pan-Arab media outlets.
In addition, bridge:media's strategic approach has also developed through a intensive media relations services involving consistent liaison activities with representatives of the targeted media outlets.
In line with this strategy, bridge:media has finally assisted the costumer in coordinating a number of press trips to Hamburg, mainly providing organisational and logistic support, but also granting its experience with the selection of suitable journalists.
bridge:media's ongoing communication campaign has so far proved very successful in raising awareness interest for Hamburg in the GCC region. Local and Gulf media outlets have been targeted broadly and the media coverage has thus far been remarkable.
The media outlets have positively received ideas for news and feature articles about Hamburg as a tourist destination hosting many music events, as a business partner mainly for renewable energy and as a location for investment. A great number of articles have been published in Arabic and English in the national and regional newspapers, tabloids and special interest magazines for lifestyle, travel, celebrities and society as well as boating. The newspapers that have published articles on Hamburg due to bridge:media's campaign are amongst the most influential in the Gulf region, including major dailies in the UAE and Kuwait.
Overall, it can be concluded that bridge:media's long-term communication campaign contributed to disseminating a positive perception of Hamburg in the Gulf. 'Hamburg', as a name, is now on the one hand, associated with a unique maritime flair, the 'European city of live music' and an enjoyable lifestyle. On the other hand, the city is now known for its investment potential, mainly regarding renewable energy and sea fright.