The City of Vaasa and Vaasa Region Development Company (VASEK) have won a national award for Best Municipal Marketing. “The most important marketing message is the one that the residents spread each day,” says the team behind the winning campaigns.
The “World’s Happiest Person” campaign and subsequent recruitment drive secured the victory for Vaasa. Both campaigns targeted young people in particular.
“Many millennials value things like leisure, nature and meaningful work,” says Leena Forsén, Communications Manager for the City of Vaasa.
“This is exactly what the Vaasa region offers. For example, there are jobs in the energy cluster concerned with saving the planet,” says Mari Kattelus, Marketing Manager at Vaasa Region Development Company VASEK.
Linked to the overall strategy
Eija Rautiainen, Marketing Manager at the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, says that Vaasa’s happiness campaign shows how successful municipal marketing affects the vitality and attractiveness of a region.
The jury appreciated the positive spirit behind the campaign, which was strongly tied to a multi-level strategy, an excellent fit for its time, and reached its target group using varied means and cooperation.
One of the main strategic goals of Vaasa is to become the happiest city in Finland.
A team effort
Leena Forsén and Mari Kattelus accepted the prestigious award at the Kuntamarkkinat municipal fair in Helsinki. While happy and honoured to receive the award, they emphasise that the campaigns were a team effort by many parties, including the marketing agency.
This is a thank you and a token of appreciation for our work and investment. And, of course, the award motivates us to continue our work to raise the awareness and attractiveness of the Vaasa region.
The proud winners describe regional promotion as a marathon.
“It’s not really about one or two campaigns, but rather about a long-term commitment,” says Leena Forsén.
Truth in advertising
According to Forsén and Kattelus, good marketing is based on truth. The fact that the well-being of Vaasa’s residents is already high, measured by almost any standard, makes promoting the region easier.
“The best ambassadors for a region are its people,” says Mari Kattelus.
Kattelus says that helping to promote Vaasa can be as simple as talking about the small things that keep life working smoothly. Slowly but surely, these positive messages raise the image of the region.
Tell others when you receive excellent customer service at a store, or when you have to contact city authorities and your issue is resolved quickly. With well over 100,000 people living in the region, our combined voices can reach far and wide.
Authenticity comes from within
Leena Forsén says that unless we believe in our own messages, no one else will.
“Genuine marketing is not made up, it comes from within,” she says.
As an example, Forsén mentions the fact that almost a hundred languages are spoken in Vaasa.
“We invite you to spread the word about our great international environment, or maybe about our amazing nature,” she says.