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Client : Seoul
Service : Strategy, Verbal Creative
Year : 2015

The new SEOUL created by citizens



To improve a city’s value like Amsterdam and New York, it is an efficient way to make use of a brand consistently and uniformly. But what about Seoul? Actually there were around 6~7 Seoul brands developed for foreigners. For example, “Hi Seoul”, “Soul of Asia”, “Seoul, together we stand”, “HAECHI Seoul”, were used simultaneously but not really well known among seoulites. If administrative brands and government-affiliated brands are included, there are almost 30 Seoul brands coexist but all of them failed to play the appropriate role as a city brand. Therefore, the Seoul government realized the necessity of a new city slogan as well as the unified activities which can improve citizens' self-respect and show a positive image of Seoul to foreigners. Therefore, Metabranding spent 10 months to develop them altogether with Korean citizens.



In order to develop the new city slogan, Metabranding tried a definitely new method; CDB (Citizen Driven Branding). As for a city slogan, to earn citizens’ self-respect is meaningful. So rather than led by branding experts, citizens’ participation is more essential. So Metabranding tried to make citizens develop the slogan on their own, then modified, improved and selected the slogan along with brand experts. The Citizen Driven Branding mainly composed of 3 phases; participation, empathy and self-respect. It made anyone who live in and love Seoul participated directly, enabled to fill the city slogan with citizens’ own story and opinions, which could efficiently ensure the self-respect of citizen themselves.

The first activity for Seoul slogan development was to define Seoul. We firstly gathered the keywords of Seoul from abundant data and analysis, then collected opinions twice from civic council and Seoul brand promotion committee and finally derived 3 keywords of Seoul, “Coexistence”, “Passion”, “Relaxation”. Based on these keywords, Seoul city was ultimately defined as “an enthusiastic city where you and I coexist and pursue the leisurely life.”


Afterwards, the Seoul brand promotion was held to officially begin slogan development with citizens. Three of semi-promotions, with title of ‘Trivial Contest’, ‘Visiting Contest’ and ‘Seoul Brand Idea Contest’ were proceeded. A total of 16,147 ideas were received and the best 30 ideas were selected. With the help of branding experts, it narrowed to 10 ideas and the final 3 out of 30, ‘I Seoul U’, ‘SEOULing’, ‘SEOULmate’, were selected under further evaluation by Seoul brand promotion committee. As a result, ‘‘I Seoul U’’ became Seoul’s new slogan through the preliminary civil voting as well as the 1,000 citizens on-site evaluation on October 28th.

As this project was implemented under CDB (Citizen Driven Branding) approach, it was also a new challenge and experience for Metabranding. When we cooperated with Seoul Friends Organization, we realized how it is significant to earn people’s empathy during the process of brand development even for the public brands.

Most of public brands were usually developed in a traditional way and naturally caused people feel boring. But after the announcement of I · SEOUL · U, ‘SEOUL’ is used as verb and is expressed in a humorous manner, which indeed caught people’s eyes and changed the traditional public brand image in the people’s mind. So as a brand crafted by citizen, we hope I · SEOUL · U could be loved by Seoul citizen for a long time as a friend.


Strategy / Verbal

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