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Stefan Pettersson


DMO Stories

Stefan Pettersson, Strategic Marketing Director for the company Destination Uppsala and the Uppsala Brand, explains how Uppsala connected the world famous Carl von Linneaus to the city brand of Uppsala.

UPPSALA: Sweden fourth biggest city

  • Number of inhabitants: 208,000
  • Area: 2,234.44 km²
  • Number of businesses: Around 19,000
    (of which around12,000 are one-person businesses)
  • Number of students: approximately 40,000
  • Number of hotel beds: 2,700
  • 18 minutes between Uppsala and Stockholm Arlanda Airport
  • 38 minutes between Uppsala and Stockholm
  • Commercial visitor nights 2014: 606,000
  • Turnover tourism industry 2014: SEK 1.8 billion (appr. Euro 1,8 million)

A destination strategy and a vision for Uppsala's brand have been developed. The strategy indicates a clear position through a unique combination of Uppsala's knowledge, culture and history, and through this shall attract and motivate visitors to experience Uppsala while learning more about its culture, history and knowledge.

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WHO was Linnaeus?

One of the world’s most famous scientists (1707-1778), who lived and worked in Uppsala for almost 50 years.Linnaeus invented the scientific method of classifying species, which is still used today.  Linnaeus is perhaps best known as the Flower King and for his sexual system.

WHY do we connect the world famous Carl Linnaeus to the city brand?

Carl Linnaeus is one of the most important profiles for marketing Uppsala as a visitor destination. Over 20 locations are related to Linnaeus and his life in Uppsala. Through cooperation, a number of parties are helping to promote Carl Linnaeus and Uppsala, the City of Linnaeus:

  • The municipality of Uppsala
  • Uppsala University
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Swedish Linnaeus Society
  • Destination Uppsala



HOW did we connect the world famous Carl Linnaeus to the city brand?

As the assignment had several different activities, we broke the purpose down into several components that also had various measurable objectives:

  • Increasing the knowledge about Linnaeus and his link to Uppsala
  • Increasing awareness of the Linnaeus tourist destinations
  • Attracting people to join the Linnaeus celebrations in Uppsala on 23 May
  • Attracting people to visit the Linnaeus sites


  • To increase the number of visitors by 10% per year until 2020
  • The Linnaean Gardens (2014 year of launch – 13,000 visitors)
  • Linnaeus' Hammarby (2014 year of launch – 9,000 visitors)
  • Other visitor destinations (zero point year 2015 - increase by 5% more visitors in coming years)
  • Increase the number of visits to in 2015 by 10% (6,281 unique visitors 2014) and decrease the bounce rate (60 % single-page visitors in 2014)

For instance, it emerged that only two of the visitor destinations could measure the number of visitors. They became our priority Linnaeus destinations. Other places had to be secondary and any increase in visitors was considered a bonus. The achievement of objectives is measured through market research surveys, visitors statistics, random interviews and web statistics.


Women and couples aged 37-70 with an interest in gardens

  • Sweden, primarily Uppsala County
  • The central and northern parts of the Stockholm region
  • Great Britain

Division based on how familiar they are with Linnaeus and the Linnaeus visitor destinations:

  • Returning visitors
  • Big interest in flowers and gardens, are familiar with Linnaeus, but do not normally visit the Linnaeus sites
  • Relatively interested, familiar with Linnaeus but have never visited any of his sites
  • Swedish visitors, mainly from the region or same day visitors from Stockholm
  • Great Britain, WHOPs (Wealthy Healthy Older People) interested in gardens


Three principal messages where used to ensure that our communication was not too incoherent and to guarantee that each activity could be measured against the right objective.

  • Uppsala is the City of Linnaeus
  • Did you know this about Linnaeus?
  • Visit the Linnaean sights and destinations

To create less friction amongst the participating parties, and to make it easier to reach our target audience, all layout and appearance was changed by combining tradition and history with innovation and the present. Old-style school posters and academic knowledge were given a more modern look with a new responsive design.

The result: a new modern website that presents inspiring stories about Linnaeus and the visitor destinations.


Digital Test: Which flower are you?

To create a viral effect and attract visitors to the website and to the visitor destinations, we wanted to design a digital flower surprise. Therefore, we have created a test based on Carl Linnaeus’ plant sexual system and the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s personality types. Our idea, together with the communication and advertising agency “Södra Tornet”, was:

It is easy to apply attributes to plants in the same way one applies them to humans. Some are tough, others more romantic. There are the independent ones, and the almost clingy. The early risers, and those that blossom in the evening. Some are firmly rooted while others are more fleeting.

In this case, there are also two versions of course; a Swedish and an English version which allow you to share the results on Facebook. Each result clearly encourages people to go and see “their” flower in the flesh at a specific park.

And how did it go?

Visitor statistics for the Linnaean Gardens and Linnaeus' Hammarby

  • The number of visitors to the Linnaean Gardens increased by 32%
  • The number of visitors to Linnaeus' Hammarby increased by 10%


In conclusion, we have succeeded in our goal to increase the number of visitors to the Linnaean Gardens and to Linnaeus' Hammarby by 10%.

Website statistics –

  • 107,000 unique visitors (+ 102,000 compared to 2014).
  • 21% bounce rate (- 37 percentage points compared to 2014).

Website statistics for the Swedish site:

  • 6,400 unique visitors (+ 5,600 compared to 2014).
  • 25 % bounce rate (-53 percentage points compared to 2014).

We have expanded so that we can reach more people from outside of Uppsala than before.The number of sessions from Uppsala County have decreased percentage-wise in favour of other regions in Sweden.


Photographer: Ana Vera Burin Batarra/Destination Uppsala.

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