Colorful tiles on the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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New brand identity for Vienna as a tourist destination: Now. Forever

“Vienna offers the experiences of a major world capital, without the stress factors associated with a major world capital,” is how Director of Tourism Norbert Kettner summed up Vienna’s character as a destination. “Vienna is a strong and positive premium city tourism brand – this strength represented a major challenge when it came to developing our new identity. This identity had to do justice to the high standards of the Vienna brand, be suitable for use universally in different countries and cultures and still clearly differentiate us from our competitors,” he explained. “The newly-defined positioning introduced a significant shift in perspective, which saw customer benefits move into the center ground – in a departure from the attraction-led construct behind the previous advertising line,” Kettner noted.

From ‘must-see destination’ to ‘destination of desire’

Kettner sees the development of the Vienna brand as an evolution rather than a revolution. “Since 2009 we have been using the ‘Now or Never’ slogan to convince an audience that was considering coming to Vienna at some point to come immediately, and positioning Vienna as a must-see destination. And now we are going a step further by targeting the emotional level to kindle desire in our customers’ minds. On top of that, we are also driving internationalization forward,” he explained. A look back over the past five years confirms that the city has been successful in this area so far: “The increase in overnight stays in Vienna accounted for by visitor from Europe was 25%, rising to 78% for overseas markets.”

Logo and slogan: logical progression

The new Vienna Tourist Board logo gives expression to the city’s premium self-image – Vienna as a cultivated gem among cities. A moment of enjoyment that lasts forever – our slogan ‘NOW. FOREVER’ captures this notion in words and provides a central theme for our brand communications. For Kettner, the new logo and slogan are “a logical progression of the Vienna tourism brand, which is already firmly anchored in the travelling public’s consciousness.” The newly-created Vienna red further underlines the brand’s uniqueness.

Neuromarketing provides foundation for content

“We want to constantly assure the premium status of the Vienna brand and endow it with greater emotional meaning – after all, the emotions and the subconscious are around 90% responsible for people’s choice of a holiday destination,” Kettner confirmed. The design process started with the strategic development of the brand and a new definition of the core target audiences. The Vienna Tourist Board selected the Limbic® neuromarketing approach as its starting point, working in collaboration with Munich’s Nymphenburg Group. The Limbic® Modell uses the latest findings from contemporary neurological research and delivers the content basis for the new communications and advertising strategy.

Vienna Assets: the city’s strengths providing the thematic constant in brand communications

To enhance Vienna’s competitiveness as a travel destination, the Vienna Tourist Board undertook a comprehensive analysis of the Vienna tourism brand back in 2009. At that time the attractions for guests were bundled into five brand building blocks designed to sharpen the positioning of the Vienna brand in a tough competitive environment. These provided the content basis for the Vienna Tourist Board advertising line. Now termed ‘Vienna Assets’, the destination’s strengths were reconfirmed and sharply defined during the brand relaunch. “Imperial Heritage”, “Music and Cultural Attractions”, “Culinary Culture” and “Green Vienna” remain the core elements of the capital’s image. The Contemporary Livable Capital asset builds on the previous idea of Functioning Capital, and encapsulates various aspects including Vienna’s status as the city with the highest quality of living in the world, as well as touching on topics such as smart city, diversity, safety, cleanliness, nightlife, architecture and shopping. These assets are all incorporated into the Vienna Tourist Board advertising line, sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly.

Invisible leitmotif – the brand core

Distinct from the slogan, the brand core is an “invisible” element of Vienna’s tourism advertising activities – a strategic leitmotif applied at an emotional level that defines the overarching stance of the Vienna brand. “We have summarized our leitmotif – not seen by consumers – under the banner of ‘Encouraging Enjoyment’. The aim is to present the different tourist sights, attractions and everything else the city has to offer as individual moments of enjoyment, and create a thematic constant for this diversity that will underpin focused global brand communications. In other words: guests will be inspired to savor every moment of their stay according to their personal preferences and in all its rich variety,” Kettner explained.

Visual universe puts people first

The focus on customer orientation is reflected even more clearly in the images used to communicate the new brand. The photography captures moments and tells stories. It shows people in a moment of enjoyment. Some images are more active, and some are more observational – setting Vienna as a stage. The newly created ‘LetterFrame’ (the visible contours of the first letter of Vienna) frames the image, manifestly highlights these moments and makes it possible to tell short stories across several pictures.

Vienna Tourist Board agency partners

The Vienna Tourist Board has been working with its two new agency partners since 1 July to take the brand communications and advertising for Vienna as a tourist destination to the next evolutionary level: Founded in 2011 by Stefan Mayer and Christian Begusch, seite zwei – branding & design developed the Vienna brand’s corporate design, creating the basis for the Vienna tourist brand’s international brand communications. As lead agency and creative partner, WIEN NORD – managed by Markus Mazuran, Andreas Lierzer, Eduard Böhler and Edmund Hochleitner – is helping the Vienna Tourist Board with the strategic and operational brand launch and concept development for campaigns in the various foreign markets. Both agencies were selected following two separately-conducted, multiphase tendering procedures. “In light of specialization within the industry, we decided to initiate separate tendering procedures for each of the different services required. Our new partners’ suggestions and ideas matched the Vienna brand’s high expectations in terms of style and elegance. In the new brand identity, they impressively demonstrated how they wanted to shape and develop the character of the destination, our core message and philosophy. In seite zwei and WIEN NORD we have professionals at our side who will provide a wealth of ideas and innovation for the Vienna Tourist Board’s marketing activities around the world,” Norbert Kettner concluded.

Examples of Vienna as a brand.


  • Vienna Tourist Board: Norbert Kettner, Director of Tourism; Heidi Zehetner, Head of Brand Management & Communication; Claudia Meinschad, Team Manager Brand Communication; Patrick Hilz, Corporate Design and Campaign Manager; Anna-Elisabeth Menz, Image Management; Julia Jakoubek, Team Manager Digital Communication
  • Lead agency: WIEN NORD
  • Branding: seite zwei - branding & design
  • Photography: Peter Rigaud
  • Video production: MXR

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