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Mumbai to get branded

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region may soon have a distinction that cities like Dubai, San Francisco, New York and Singapore enjoy – they all have dedicated tag lines. Zeeshan Shaikh reports.

mumbai Updated: Oct 02, 2010 01:20 IST
Zeeshan Shaikh

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region may soon have a distinction that cities like Dubai, San Francisco, New York and Singapore enjoy – they all have dedicated tag lines.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will now undertake a branding exercise of the metropolitan region to mark its history, lifestyle and culture.

On Friday, UK-based country brand development company, Acanchi, made a presentation to MMRDA on the need for branding MMR. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) includes Mumbai and its adjoining areas.

“There is so much within the MMR that is not known to the outside world, especially foreign stakeholders. The region has to be presented before the world with all its inherent characteristics for which the exercises of branding and positioning on the lines of cities like Singapore, Sydney and Dubai is necessary,” metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said. The MMRDA has now deputed a three-member committee including individuals from MMRDA, Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU) and Bombay First, to look into the proposal of branding MMR. The committee is likely to take a call on the decision by the end of this year.

This isn’t the first time that a proposal to brand a city or region has been floated.

In November 2008, the same company had made a presentation to the city’s bureaucrats, including the chief minister, on branding Mumbai. Earlier, too, the government had been keen on branding the city and had internationally renowned consultant Wally Olins to help in the endeavour. Olins had made a presentation to the state government in February, but nothing concrete had materialised.

“Our ambit right now is to brand MMR. MTSU will take the lead in finalising details,” assistant metropolitan commissioner Ashwini Bhide said.

Branding of cities is a recent international phenomenon. Proponents of branding cities believe that giving a city a brand sets the social, economical and cultural processes in motion, which has an effect on people’s perception of a city.

Some of the more notable and successful branding exercises have been the ‘I love New York’ campaign for New York and the ‘City by the Bay’ campaign for San Francisco.

Branding experts have welcomed the move to brand MMR but are critical that foreign companies are being roped in for the activity. Branding consultant, Jagdeep Kapoor, said. “But, effective branding of Mumbai can be done only by someone who understands the area.”