Simon Anholt has released his third annual global City Brands Index based on a survey of 10,000 people world-wide. I like it because it's less a study of branding strategies, and more of the how various cities are perceived by people around the world.
Overall the list jibes with my intuitive assessments. Sydney takes the No. 1 spot, followed by London, Paris, NYC and Rome. Canadian cities do well: Toronto is 11th, but Vancouver is 8th and Montreal is 10th. Melbourne, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan, Berlin, Geneva, Brussels, Auckland and Tokyo all make the cut.
NYC is the only US city to place among the top 20. Three Canadian cities, two Australian cities, two from Spain and two from Italy. I know the Bush years have run down the US brand overall, but I thought its major cities were still doing OK. Not a good sign for America at all.
My own sense is that city branding is now a completely viral affair, and has moved far, far away from the old top-down, brochureware approach of yesteryear.
Question: Does "city branding," in today's environment, really reflect creativity or the perception that a city has it?
UPDATE: I just looked at the 2006 Inde, where more US cities were considered. NYC is 5th, DC 6th, San Fran 7th, LA 15th, Boston 23rd, Las Vegas, 24th, Seattle 25th. More here.