Twelve years ago Israel launched “Brand Israel” to transform its image overseas. Well it doesn’t seem to be working. Marketers for Tel Aviv have sought to disconnect the city from Israel, because the Israel brand is “contentious” and “less than savory,” a brand development site reports.
[F]or Tel Aviv, successfully appealing to its target demographic of young people and tourists is in some cases hindered by a less than savoury image of Israel that is often communicated globally.
“The challenge of the Tel Aviv brand is, of course, the national brand of Israel,” says Hila Oren, CEO of the Tel Aviv Foundation. “But today, following the lead of other global cities, Tel Aviv as a brand has succeeded in disconnecting the city from the national brand of Israel. By engaging in urban issues that are globally relevant, the city’s brand focuses on the innovation happening within Tel Aviv itself.”
The branding aims to convince students, tourists, and immigrants that Tel Aviv is “an entity almost separate to that of Israel.”
To combat its geographical challenge and elevate Tel Aviv’s status as a city powered by young minds and creative technology, the mayor’s office of Tel Aviv-Yafo launched Tel Aviv Global in 2010. Dedicated to positioning Tel Aviv as a ‘leading international business centre that specialises in innovation,’ Tel Aviv Global is combatting the country’s sometimes contentious image and portraying Tel Aviv as an entity almost separate to that of Israel. Led by Oren, the initiative focuses on economic development, tourism and reinforcing global communication networks to strengthen Tel Aviv’s positioning. This is all while encouraging the outside world to recognise Tel Aviv for its people, which Oren believes are its strongest asset…
Ongoing political tensions notwithstanding, Tel Aviv has retained its image as a centre of free living.
A historic advantage for Tel Aviv over rival cities in Israel such as Jerusalem “is its… reputation for liberalism,” Oren says. It aims to compete with Abu Dhabi, New York, London, Tokyo.
And some people say that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is not working. Of course it’s working. It’s advancing this shift in perception.
PS This opening page of Oren’s Discover Tel Aviv website mentions Israel only once (and misspells it).