Sparkling Surabaya: A Branding Journey

A parade starts from Grahadi building

Throughout this May, a shopping party entitled The 2011 Surabaya Shopping Festival (SSF) is being held. The massive discounts for food, electronic, fashion products and so on are scattered over 18 malls. Want to enjoy it, please do. Today is the last day. Want to be upset, go ahead.

Kadaruslan (deceased), an artist and Surabaya elder, was perhaps the upset one. There are numeous cultures in the capital city of East Java Province which can be raised and sold, “Why a shopping festival?”

Surabaya Shopping Festival

Nothing we can do about it, though. From some surveys, Surabaya is the last pertained city for tourist destination. On the other hand, Surabaya is the second choice to do business in Indonesia. This is a business city. So instead of selling arts or tourism, it is more reasonable to highlight the uniqueness as an unmatched trading hub in Eastern Indonesia.

It is also the reason of city’s tagline: Sparkling Surabaya. The message is clear. Why sparkling? Because, this is an industrial city, a trading city that is reluctant to sleep, even in the night.

SSF is a part of that spirit. And succeed! The shopping malls have always been crowded in May, like we see when Lebaran (the biggest Islamic day) comes, Christmas and New Year. The malls celebrates their turnover’s rising, while the consumers take advanced of this discount party. Like it or not, SSF has become a beloved event and is looked forward, not only by citizens who have Surabaya ID card.

Obviously, this is the result of Surabaya’s consistent branding. A city branding is obliged for every city that wants to raise its status and selling power to the investors and tourists. Its most important step is to find a unique side of the city.

Unique Selling Point of Surabaya

What is the uniqueness that distinguishes Surabaya from competitors (other cities)? What are people’s perceptions about this 3.5 millions citizen city?

The first might a city of heroes. Okay, but that is an image based on the history’s legacy. What about a more contemporary image?

Surabaya is considered as a hot temperature, polluted metropolitan. But it also has won some prizes as the cleanest city, earned the Adipura Kencana Award four times! Last time Surabaya won Adipura was in 2009.

Surabaya is also Green

Suramadu bridge, one of Surabaya's icons

Here, you can see the urban reform efforts in the past seven years: it controls illegal buildings, do relocation of slum markets, build and maintain some conservation of mangrove ecosystem in Pamurbaya (Eastern Coast of Surabaya), expansion of green open space up to 30% of the city’s extend. Some downtown park even has free internet hotspots.

Indeed, Surabaya is also building its image as a cyber city. The City Government never stops to make its folk internet literate. Meanwhile, registering the drive licenses or vehicle registrations can now be done in the mall or by drive through like a fast food restaurant, enrolling the schools or making a passport applications can be done online as well.

In addition to time efficiency and effort to decrease (illegal) broker population, it is a green attempt to save the environment. We don’t need more papers here!

A city of heroes, a green metropolis, a city of trade, a multiculturalism city, a cyber city, so many faces of Surabaya. But it must be choose one theme as a simple identity.

Finally, Surabaya is to be positioned as the trading hub of Eastern Indonesia for having the international class of airport and seaport. It has also a hinterland of East Java and East Indonesia rich. For those ambitions, Surabaya should sparkle all the time.

This is May 31st, by the way. So, happy 718th anniversary, Surabaya!

Surabaya Becoming Cyber City in Its 715th

Never disconnect the world in Surabaya

You don’t have to worry about internet access by the time you reach Surabaya. We can find it everywhere. Surabaya Municipal Government is recently adding more than 37 hotspots in some locations:

  • Bappeko (Agency for Municipal Development) Office
  • Prestasi, Surya, Bungkul, and Flora Park
  • Kandangan 2 and 3 Elementary Schools
  • State Junior High School 1, 13, 15, and 29
  • State High School 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 10
  • District Office of Semampir, Pabean Cantikan, Tandes, Pakal, Karangpilang, Benowo, Wonocolo and Rungkut
  • Local Government Clinic of Pegirian, Tanah Kalikedinding, and Balongsari
  • Soewandhi Local Government Hospital and Paru Hospital
  • PKK (family welfare program) Office of Tambaksari
  • DPRD (assembly at municipal) Surabaya
  • Tidiness and Garden Service, and Internal Industry Service
  • Archive and Library Committee
  • Pemuda Public Hall
  • Branch of Tax Service at Simokerto

This is a cooperative program between Surabaya Municipal Government and East Java Telkom Divre V, Inc. who has CSR agenda to spread internet to East Java citizen. Meanwhile, private institutions or companies also race each other to provide their customers access of internet. There are also hotspots in universities, hotels, cafés, food courts, et cetera.

As a service and commerce city, Surabaya seems like trying to be a cyber city since a year ago. Not only by installing the hotspots in public areas, but also by fixing its administration matters. Now police departments, districts, sub-districts, libraries, and many government services are moving to one trend: paperless.

That means efficiency and productivity! This is a breakthrough. Not even Jakarta as Indonesia capital city has started the same progressive step. That enhance the branding: Sparkling Surabaya.

  • Photos by Brahmanto Anindito & I Gde


4 thoughts on “Sparkling Surabaya: A Branding Journey”

  1. Wow! What a beautiful bridge! Can I go there someday?

    What kind of mall in Surabaya? Is there trade center such Pasar Baru (Bandung) or Tanah Abang (Jakarta)?


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