A brief by Elise Baudelet, junior expert in territorial marketing at CAAC
Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) is a difficult but efficient strategy. Even if the name is not related to the Atlantic Ocean, cities from the Atlantic Arc may share some elements with it. Undoubtedly, city marketing is different from traditional marketing, however some concepts from the private sector could inspire public strategies.
Therefore, BOS is about differentiating from the competitors by finding a new market without competition.
As a 15-year old network gathering 200 local entities of Western Europe, CAAC is the first and only network promoting Atlantic Arc Cities. Thus, the association aims to promote cooperation among them and to enhance their uniqueness. While some cities compete on tourism promotion, the Atlantic Arc cities are developing an integrated strategy through networking and pooling resources, positioning not only for tourism but also for a dynamic urban growth.
As a result of the network as a visibility tool, CAAC members progress towards innovative structure, evolving as learning places that are good to live. Their competitive advantage is based on their geographic position: the ocean proximity is the sharing point for a filled history, a unique culture and the maritime knowledge. Being coastal or not, Atlantic Arc Cities are the necessary knot between Eastern Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.
Through the Charter of San Sebastian in 2008, CAAC is oriented on designing a responsible urban future. This exceptional network agreement demonstrates the will for cooperation on a transnational level, thus progressing from cities competing with each other to a network of similar cities working together to face their challenges and to tap their potential.
If a parallel with traditional marketing should be made, the CAAC approach allows the Atlantic cities to sail away from a red ocean of the competitive and global market of destination branding and positions them in a safer one.
Evidently, transnational cooperation and city networking are not the uniqueness of the Atlantic cities. CAAC is an effective tool to capitalize on their strong points so as to create an inimitable positioning, rising their visibility as well as their dynamism.