Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another of Life's Great Ironies

If it didn't present such obstacles to destination marketing, I'd probably be amused at the irony that many businesses including news media outlets, while defiant about the integrity of their own brands, are often dismissive of others, particularly community brands.

It humors me, for example, to read comments attributed to a brilliant television and radio tycoon convey that no one cares about a community's brand. Like viewers really care which is the local affiliate for television programs on ABC, CBS or NBC? No, but they certainly matter to the viability of the affiliate.

Similarly, businesspeople (and even more perplexing, some community messengers) seem, with few exceptions, to fail to grasp why it's important for a community to adapt best practice branding techniques.

Well, a branding expert named Post probably put it as succinctly as anyone can when she once wrote...

Communities, cities, and even states all compete in the world of everything--commerce, tax bases, cultural riches, hometown intellects, the creative class, and happy folks using it all. It's the fuel to keep geographic areas going and growing.

It also brews healthy combat zones, the seduction of buyers to destinations. For business or pleasure, the game is called branding....

For decades, this practice has existed, but more recently it's become...a powerful economic advantage.

As people and companies decide where to plop down their roots and cash, just like with any other buying decision, they need to feel the emotional connection to their needs and the earned trust to reduce their fears.

Destination branding is about:
  • clearly defining a purpose
  • being distinct
  • consistently communicating a persona
  • delivering on a promise

Sounds easy enough. Then why is it that so many cities and other geographic destinations have a bad case of brand blues?

Clearly there are well-branded cities and places… These destinations have crisp stories, distinct attributes, and consistent messaging. They deliver the brand promise at all touch points. They affix a vivid brain tattoo on the minds of their markets….

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