/  Development Journal   /  İzmir and the Wind Energy Sector as an Example of Good Practice in Investment Promotion Activities

İzmir and the Wind Energy Sector as an Example of Good Practice in Investment Promotion Activities

M. Sencer ÖZEN
Investment Promotion and Support Expert
Investment Support Office

With the advent of globalization, a need has emerged for cities to improve their performance and competitiveness, create a brand identity and attract new investments to their regions to be able to survive in a competitive environment.  Investments are promoted by various city institutions such as Development Agencies and Municipalities in an effort to attract new investments. Investment promotion is generally defined as communication campaigns carried out within the scope of urban marketing activities aiming to attract domestic or foreign direct investment to the region by promoting the investment environment, which includes the opportunities offered to investors and macro/micro-economic factors, as well as the political, cultural and geographical conditions of a region.

Brand Concept and City Relationship

We can define a brand as the sum of all visuals and names that set a company apart from its competitors, define its products and services, and serve to make a distinction. Companies need to use their brands to promote and sell their products to a wider audience. In that sense, it has become a necessity for cities to carry out similar works along with urban marketing and investment promotion activities to be able to attract investments and tourists.

Generally accepted marketing components have been defined for the marketing of a product or service. Set forth as marketing components, product, price, physical distribution, and promotion (4P) have been redefined through communication-centered activities. Today, since the new economy is based on a customer-oriented approach, these concepts have been replaced by customer value, customer cost, customer convenience and customer communication (Suher et al., 2012). This is where branding and brand positioning also come into prominence in investment promotion, another urban marketing activity similar to product and service marketing. Here, the city itself is now the product, and identifying the features that distinguish the city from and offer a competitive edge to investors compared to other cities, and turning it into a brand city in said areas will further improve the success of investment promotion. In addition to that, investment promotion and urban marketing activities are seen to be carried out not only at the city level but on the regional and national scale, as well, by coining various slogans and nicknames. Some regions might also use multiple slogans or nicknames.

Table 1: Various Conducted Urban Branding Studies[1]

City/Region/Country name Slogan/ Nickname Branding Area
Amsterdam Capital of Inspiration Creative Sectors
Chicago Windy City Wind Power
Detroit Motor City Automotive Industry
Glasgow An Arts Capital of Europe Cultural & Artistic Tourism
Hannover The City of International Fairs Exhibition and Congress Tourism
Scotland Silicon Glen Software Industry
Spanish Consulate Everything Under The Sun Marine Tourism
Milano Fashion Capital of the World Fashion – Textile
Pittsburgh Iron City Metal Industry

The slogans and nicknames shown in Table 1 are based on a certain historical background, which has been adopted by the public and related sectors to become a common discourse. Therefore, it is critical that the city enjoys a sufficient level of potential, capacity, and ownership in the branding areas sought.

Investment Promotion and Urban Brand of İzmir

Particularly in the last 10 years, İzmir has been receiving manufacturing investments by numerous domestic and foreign investors in the wind energy sector. Home to Turkey’s first wind power plant established in 1988 and generating about 12,000 MW of potential wind power, Izmir enjoys logistical advantages, a skilled labor force, production infrastructure, and the potential, which have played a significant role in attracting both the interest and investments from energy investors, as well as the turbine and related components manufacturers producing said energy. The wind energy ecosystem, which was formed through the clustering studies that have been gaining momentum in İzmir, led the city to become a major production base in this sense. The fact that İzmir has now become a city that single-handedly produces approximately 20% of the electricity generated from wind energy and currently hosts approximately 6,000 employees and a total investment of 2 billion dollars for energy production and equipment manufacturing in the wind energy sector has paved the way for İzmir’s transformation into a brand city in the field of wind energy, both on national and international scales.

Accordingly, our Agency’s Investment Support Office, Invest in İzmir, has designated the wind energy sector as “the primary sector” where it focuses on the subjects of investment promotion and improving the investment environment. It participated in domestic and international sectoral events, particularly held for the wind energy sector, and organized investment promotion tours to countries that have become brands in the manufacturing of wind turbines and its components such as Denmark, Germany, Spain, Japan, and China. In these activities, potential investors in the wind energy field were informed by our Office about Turkey’s investment environment and opportunities that İzmir offers to investor Izmir. By playing an active role throughout the investment processes of companies such as wind turbine manufacturer Siemens-Gamesa, turbine blade manufacturers TPI Composites and LM Wind Power, turbine blade parts manufacturer JSB Plast, and domestic turbine parts manufacturers Tibet Makine and Ates Wind Power, the Investment Support Office made a significant contribution to bringing in said investments to İzmir.

Furthermore, our Agency has published various articles on international publications aimed at increasing the visibility of İzmir in the field of wind energy, and used slogans and nicknames such as “Wind of Izmir”, “Catch the Wind of Izmir”, “Wind Capital of Turkey” to lay emphasis on the fact that İzmir is a wind energy city.

Figure 1: WindEurope: Map of European Wind Turbine and Equipment Manufacturers

With the aim to improve the effectiveness of investment promotion activities, where communication, particularly networking, is crucial, our Agency has become a member of “Wind Europe”, the biggest wind energy association of the world, in addition to its existing membership in Turkish Wind Energy Association. Significant steps have been taken to increase the recognition of Izmir and the companies operating in the wind energy field across the international market. As a result of said activities, our Agency’s Investment Support Office, “Invest in İzmir”, has been consecutively awarded “the Best Regional Investment Agency of the Middle East and Africa” award, which is based on the quality of the services provided to investors and other similar criteria, for the last 5 years by the USA-based Site Selection, a magazine directly concerned with foreign investments and considered to be one of the most important publications in its field. In 2020, İzmir has been defined as the wind energy capital of Turkey by the magazine for the first time.

Thus, the branding efforts for İzmir’s wind energy sector carried out by our Agency in the international arena have started to bear fruit.

Figure2: Best Investment Promotion Agency Award – 2019

And in the forthcoming period, İzmir’s branding efforts, which has been recognized by many local stakeholders and the Turkish Wind Energy Association, will become even more remarkable by the fact that the Turkish Wind Energy Congress, the biggest annual wind energy event of Turkey with active international participation, will be held in İzmir under the slogan, “the Wind Capital of Turkey”.


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