The Danish cycle cities are continuously working to brand themselves. Just recently, Odense has started a comprehensive process. This has involved a change of name, a payoff, and a whole new visual identity.
By Connie Juel Clausen, City of Odense
Cycling isn’t just about traffic and road regulations. It has just as much to do with pleasure and lifestyle, and this has changed the way in which the Danish cycle cities brand themselves.
The purpose of the massive branding of Danish cycle cities is very simple: to make more people cycle. Because if a municipality wants to sell itself as a cycle city, it is no longer enough to invest in kilometre upon kilometre of asphalt, you need to invest in communication too.
In the beginning of June 2011, City of Cyclists launched a Facebook profile, which received over 1800 “likes” in the first two weeks.
City of Cyclists – Odense
The physical framework for cycling in Odense has been good for many years. The city was formerly known as, Cycle City Odense – the city with many cycle tracks and ditto cyclists. Under the new name, City of Cyclists, Odense has upgraded its brand both visually and communicatively. The first larger branding exercise has just been completed – including a film and massive outdoor marketing – all of which is part of a larger and more general branding strategy.
Step 1: the visual identity
A flexible and vivid visual identity is crucial for a successful branding. So, Odense’s new visual identity contains a number of isolated elements: stylized bike parts, a cloud, and a fixed range of colours. The elements and colours can be combined in numerous ways and can be used in all media from film and living images to print and web.
It is an identity that is always recognizable – despite the fact that is has great flexibility. And on top of being very simple in its expression, it goes well with images from the real-life City of Cyclists.
Branding that gets you recognized on the street
The purpose of the massive branding is to make people familiar with the visual identity, so they will recognize it when it is used in campaigns and other activities later on. So Odense is facing a long strategic haul. Over the next three years, this will increase Odense citizens’ awareness of the city’s many opportunities for cyclists.
More than ten years have passed since Odense created their former brand, Cycle City Odense. Much water has passed under the cycle bridge since then, so it was time to revise the brand and re-launch the cycle city, 2.0 – this time under the name, City of Cyclists.