Last week, Ian Rumsby, Chair, Weber Shandwick Australia and Chief Strategy Officer, Weber Shandwick Asia Pacific led an engaging conversation around the emerging strength of Tokyo as a global brand in front of a full house at the Tokyo American Club.
Held in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce, the event built on last year’s inaugural Weber Shandwick’s Engaging Cities thought leadership report, which discusses the role of soft power across major cities in Asia Pacific. Tokyo performed exceptionally well in the report, ranking first in 10 of the 16 assessed categories.
Mr. Rumsby drew on findings from both the Engaging Cities report and also the Mori Memorial Foundation’s annual Global Power City Index (GPCI). A panel discussion followed, where a team of experts – specifically selected for the deep knowledge and understanding of city branding – discussed the growing strength and relevance of the Tokyo brand, and the implications and opportunities it presents for leaders and businesses in Japan. Panelists included Dr. Hiroo Ichikawa of The Mori Memorial Foundation, Dr. Nancy Snow, a leading academic researcher on Brand Japan at Keio University, and Mr. Davide Agnelli, Managing Director at IDEO, Japan.
With over 100 guests, comprised of some of Tokyo’s most influential companies and stakeholders, the discussion focused on future possibilities for Tokyo, not just as a city, but also as a brand – an issue that will become ever more salient as the city turns its focus to the 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.
Before the event’s conclusion, we asked Mr. Rumsby for his thoughts on why the topic resonated so strongly with the Tokyo audience.
“Cities are the flag carriers of a nation and, often, the centre for innovation, ideas, and social, cultural and political influence. As such, our ability to see them not just as places but as brand experiences will afford civic leaders the opportunity to enhance their reputation and attract the talent, ingenuity and investment required to make them flourish”, Mr. Rumsby said.