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Promotion strategy for the brand of city Zakopane

We aimed at transforming one of the most recognizable touristic brands in Poland, brand with many years of tradition dating back to pre-war times, deeply rooted in customers’ and touristic market’s participants’ awareness.

• Does Zakopane successfully promote its values?
• How to efficiently modify image of one of the best known territorial Polish touristic brands?
• Proximity of Tatra Mountains – how to use this resource in promoting Zakopane without losing distinctness and individuality of city’s brand?
• How to shape promotional activities of the city in order to attract groups from completely different market’s segments?
• Is it possible to revive Zakopane’s image of mountain “classy” resort?
• How to efficiently influence internal environment in order to convince city’s and region’s inhabitants that modification of Zakopane’s brand’s position is necessary?

We faced these questions while working on Strategy of Promoting Zakopane in the years 2012-2020.

Thanks to carrying out project for the Office of Promotion in Zakopane we gained experience in new area of place marketing. This time our task was not to create brand from scratch (green field), but “working on live organism”. Our aim was to transform one on the most recognizable territorial touristic brands in Poland. Brand with many years of tradition dating back to pre-war times, deeply rooted in customers’ and touristic markets’ participants’ awareness. Brand, whose image in last years was created in a spontaneous process – based on experiences, media reports and general opinions, with very little conscious activities in the area of image and brand from the local government, which led to the situation where existing brand was different from the ambitions and development directions specified by the local government.

In the first stage of the project we provided client with reliable analysis of Zakopane’s image. We checked if preliminary observations and assumptions in the area of creating a new brand have their reflection in the reality. We carried out classic image research applying CATI technique both on national level and among Zakopane’s inhabitants. We analyzed content of the press and online articles about Zakopane. We compared results of external research, rankings and image analyses using desk research method. We carried out stocktaking and assessment of promotional activities carried out by the local government until now. We compared Zakopane with competitors applying benchmarking analysis.

Conclusions from the research were firm: Zakopane’s brand is losing its value. Apart from obvious connotations such as mountains, Krupowki or Gubalowka, image of Zakopane is dominated by negative associations: traffic jams, crowd, tackiness. Apparently advantages of former resort are not underlined and developed sufficiently. Zakopane brand became a brand chosen by not demanding mass tourist.

The main aim of the brand creation and strategy creation was to overcome and divert negative image trends, modify offer and create a brand attracting more ambitious target groups.

In answer to this challenge we formulated complete, comprehensive concept of a brand with specifying whole array of key elements of Zakopane’s brand, such as: origins of the brand, distinguishing features, desired recipient, ambition, personality and values of the brand as well as mission and vision of expected changes. Precise elaboration on each of these elements led to creating a new brand Zakopane, whose ambitious, aspirational, active and progress-oriented character is expressed in a phrase: Zakopane – Aim high!


The project was summed up by the Strategy’s document. Applying original solutions, such as separating horizontal and thematic strategic lines, we created ready effective tool for implementing brand “Aim high”.

Marketing elements were enriched with wide array of suggested product solutions. Suggested product component introduced in Zakopane modern paradigm of creating touristic offer of 3E type (entertainment, excitement, education). Touristic products that we recommend include:

• Leading products: “Ethnic Zakopane”, “Creative Zakopane”, “Avant-garde Zakopane”;
• Touristic routes: “Interwar Zakopane”, “Zakopane, culinary path”, “Zakopane for bad weather”;
• Complimentary products: “Live museum of Podhale Culture”, “Zakopane Erasmus Week”, “Eco Zakopane”.

Making the process of creating Strategy „more social” was an important part of the project realized for Zakopane. Based on our experience we know that efficient implementation of strategic documents is not possible without support and involvement of local interested parties and community, nor it is possible without taking into account social-cultural context. This is why our initial ideas for a new, transformed Zakopane’s brand underwent debate, assessment and improvement in a series of social consultations with local companies, city’s inhabitants and 3rd sector representatives. Similarly, strategy’s outline was based on integral model – recommending cooperation with a wide array of internal and external stakeholders (neighbouring communities). We know that if we act together we will optimize efficiency of promotional activities and create new quality.