Aishwarya Rao
I have waited a long time to see this postcard. To see the cultural capital of South India get branded. Although an 'I love Chennai' postcard is hardly any 'destination branding,' it is a refreshing step in that direction.

I love Chennai postcards are available at Ashvita, R.K.Salai

For a city like Chennai that has a fine history and a rich culture, it has often been misunderstood and sometimes even written off. (Remember the Lonely Planet review that claimed that Chennai lacks the
optimistic buzz of Bangalore?)
But look beyond its oppressive weather and difficult auto-drivers, you will find history in its sights and smells. Competing on every respectable stage beginning with technology, manufacturing, culture, education, media and cinema, Chennai is a grand assortment, a city that has something for everyone.
Yet there's very little that has been done when it comes to branding the city.

WHAT MUST BE DONE?
While the government must continue to invest in roadworks, waterworks and civic maintenance, there is an urgent need to tackle outsider perceptions of the city. Government, business, arts and media must come together to promote Chennai as an exciting destination for investment, tourism and talent! The very same principles of branding products apply to branding cities. So we need a strategy and a well executed campaign that will improve the city's image and communicate a promise of value to both its residents and its visitors.

I hope we can learn from New York, L.A., Melbourne and Sydney, some cities that have been marketed more than successfully. And no, I am not referring to a tourism logo, a tag line and a city web page, although these elements are an integral part of a branding exercise. I hope our government too can commit to thousands of Rupees to help create a brand identity and boost national and international tourism.

I hope there will be campaigns, destination brochures, city information centres and souvenir shops that will soon put Chennai-ites (or Madrasis?) on the same pedestal as New Yorkers!
Aishwarya Rao

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light... Watching jaw-dropping fireworks by the Sydney Harbour Bridge has been the highlight of the new year so far! Here's to a terrific, mad and exciting 2010!