Santa Marta works to develop city brand

Colombia’s Caribbean coastal city of Santa Marta has been working to develop its own city brand as part of an initiative to boost local tourism.

Santa Marta’s Mayor Juan Pablo Diaz Granados and his office have been developing a local brand for three years in order to position the capital of Magdalena as a world-class international tourism destination.

A consultancy from 2009 concluded that Santa Marta is most recognized for its sun and beach, snow-topped Sierra Nevada mountain range, and El Morro island.

Miguel Angel Castaneda, creative director of the advertising agency Primer Dia, used this research to create the brand concept “World Destination, Everyone’s Destination.” It’s been presented to hotel industry, tourism, and business representatives in order to “sell Santa Marta as a premier international destination.”

However, some tourism representatives believe that there should be more thought put into the city’s marketing strategy, and wider consultation should take place – involving people outside the the tourism sector. Cotelco’s Magadalena Chapter President, Omar Garcia, said “[Santa Marta] needs the brand, but [it must be] agreed upon. If we don’t believe in Santa Marta, no one else will.” He warned that imposing an unfit brand on the city would be a serious mistake.

The city has previously adopted the slogan “The Magic of Having Everything,” which was used in promotional projects, but it didn’t stick.

“We want local and foreign tourists to know [Santa Marta’s] slogan, its logo, and that the city is a destination for them,” explained Claudia Santos, director of local tourism projects.

The initiative is part of the “Marketing Plan and Santa Marta’s Tourism Promotion” project, funded by the Tourism Promotion Fund of Colombia, Proexport, Santa Marta’s Mayor’s Office, Magdalena University, and Cotelco.

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