Tanga — According to Place Brand Observer, a blog, city branding can be complex, messy and challenging. In a globalised, ultra-connected world it is also becoming increasingly important and can be worth billions.
"It can bring focus and discipline to everything a local, regional or national government does, from economic development and tourism to urban design and alleviating poverty," the blog says.
With the fifth edition of the Tanga International Trade Fair (TITF) to be held on May 28 and June 6, organizers - the region's chapter of Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (Tantrade) are getting more ambitious.
It will be the fourth year to hold such an event here.
Organisers think they can use the fair to turn the city into a big brand to attract investors.
According to the executive secretary of TCCIA's Tanga chapter, Mr Charles Hoza, the Tanga City becomes a popular brand the TITF is taken seriously.
Wolff Olins brand consultancy expert Robert Jones says: "A strong identity is vital if you are competing with other places for attention in tourism and business or re-launching an area after a regeneration initiative."
Bloom consulting firm's Jose Torres is emphatic: "From an international perspective, a great brand is certainly a valuable asset. It can boost residents' pride, it .can help a city to attract everything from tourists to investors to talent. It can help promote and it's not just for famous cities, either. City branding isn't about inventing something; it's about discovering what's already there." Tanga has a lot to offer including such attractive spots as the famous Amboni Caves, Tongoni Ruins, beautiful beaches, the scenic East Usambara Mountains and several other historical and cultural attractions.
"We need something to promote this, to bring people to Tanga so that we can tell them about these attractions and that is why we think the Fair can be the required link to make Tanga a super brand." He appealed to Tanga business community to regard the coming fair as an extension of their marketing plans.
A member of the organising committee, Mr Paul Bwoki, says Tanga City can be turned into a special brand as other places have done so.
The fair will be held at Mwahako on the Tanga-Pangani Road to enhance its image.
The organisers have also drawn up plans to hold other special events that would add value to the fair. The events include an event to be known as the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) Day to be sponsored the TPDC.
The event is expected to be a meeting of business opportunities and benefits that accrue from investment of the crude oil pipeline from Uganda to Tanga.
"The meeting would discuss what opportunities sector wise are available and which opportunities that Tanga people can consider to work on based on break down of the main sector opportunities available," according to the Tanga chapter's TCCIA chairman, Deo Ruhiinda.
There will also be the Tanzania National Parks Day to be sponsored by Tanapa, Vipodozi Day to be sponsored by the Tanga Pharmaceuticals and Plastics Ltd and Mamujee Products Ltd, the Coffee Day by the Tanzania Coffee Board and Sisal Day to be organized by the Sisal Association of Tanzania (SAT) and D.D. Ruhinda & Company.
The organisers aim at branding Tanga City.
Mr Hjörtur Smárason, writing in Brand Africa Blog, on Cities of Opportunities, says African cities have a unique opportunity to position themselves as the leading cities in implementing smart city solutions and sustainable urban design.