The City of Brussels, a new strong city brand

Although Brussels has an important role as the capital of Belgium and Europe, as time went by, its communication had become fragmented. Brussels lacked an identity.

The city therefore asked Think BBDO to draw up a report with recommendations for more efficient communication. This advice led to a more coherent communication strategy and a new house style.

Our solution

Think BBDO and the City of Brussels launched a new city brand, i.e. ‘BXL – la ville/de stad’. Objective: to reinforce the external image and improve locals’ connection and engagement with their city. 

One of the elements that stood out the most in the new strategy was the choice for the new brand name, ‘BXL’. This short but powerful name is a popular abbreviation that is widely used in and outside Brussels, by people of all ages, from various social-cultural backgrounds, in different languages. ‘BXL’ has become a strong brand name, that is comparable to New York’s ‘NYC’ or Antwerp’s ‘A’.

The new Brussels logo features a simplified drawing of Saint Michael, the city’s patron saint, in combination with the brand name, in white, in a black circle. While the city decided to retain its patron saint, he did get a thorough make-over. 

The baseline ‘la ville – de stad’ (the city) was chosen to stress the importance of a connection between the city of Brussels and its population. The city has chosen to see this connection, this solidarity, as an asset. The slogan therefore conveys the connection of the City of Brussels with its population and with the rest of the world. 

The city chose not to launch the new brand with a traditional marketing campaign for budgetary reasons. Instead it was gradually and consistently introduced during the many cultural events that the city organises and which reach a large audience.  

Branding, Place Branding.

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