• Transform magazine
  • June 16, 2019

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Place branding Tel Aviv

Hila.jpg

Hila Oren, the founder and CEO of Tel Aviv Global, spoke about the city of Tel Aviv at a place branding event, the City Nation Place Forum, in London on 5 November. Oren, who is currently doing a PhD in city branding, spoke out about the distinction between nations and cities.

Oren told Transform magazine, “For your nation, you have values to contribute, you have pride, but you’re not responsible. For your city, you are responsible.” She compared a person’s city to their close family, while a person’s nation is more like their extended family. They may care for it, but they do not feel personally responsible.

Oren explained that the public’s attitudes towards cities have changed, she said that people have only really become passionate about cities and urbanism in the past five to ten years. Oren said, “The whole way that we refer to the places we live in is changing.”

Speaking about some of the challenges she faces in the both the shaping and communication of Tel Aviv’s personal brand, Oren said that she wants Tel Aviv to be thought of as a separate entity from Israel. She said, “It’s not that I don’t want you to refer to Israel, I just want you to refer to Tel Aviv. Without insulting Israel or Jerusalem – Jerusalem is my capital, Israel is my nation – my mission is to boost the economy in Tel Aviv.” Oren’s presentation at the forum included a video that showed the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. The beaches and the young, liberal people in the video may not be what many people, who are perhaps less familiar with Tel Aviv as a city, initially associate with the destination.  

Another challenge, Oren said, was opening the city up to a global audience. Because Tel Aviv is a relatively new city, only 100 years old, widespread adoption of the English language is still quite recent. In order to be accessible to the world Tel Aviv has to embrace the English language.

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