Place Brands Need Some Tension

Successful Place Brands Need Some Tension

I was recently reminded that there is always the need for some healthy tension in successful community and place brands. Too often places become boring and bland in an effort to please disparate voices within their community. Many consider it to be so much easier (and quicker) to just compromise and settle on the warm and fuzzy value proposition that everyone in the community will like. Hint: that’s why there are so many “great places to live, work and play”.

Trying to define brand positioning that everyone in the community is going to like is a sure-fire path to revealing a bland and meaningless brand. Place brands like this rarely attract attention, don’t resonate with target audiences and are just poor imitations of how thousands of other meaningless places present themselves.

On the other hand, standing for something distinctive and meaningful that may resonate with the greatest impact on target audiences will probably require a degree of sacrifice by some constituents and it may not be liked by all locals. A critical point to remember is that the brand is often for external audiences and should be designed to meet specific economic objectives. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the brand should be objectionable to some locals. But it should represent a single, meaningful idea that is valued by target customers.

Diluting the brand in an effort to please everybody at the expense of achieving objectives in external markets is the best way to create a spectacularly bland brand. If a destination brand doesn’t have a touch of tension, it may be time to see if it really is clearly differentiated and resonating with key audiences.

Produced by: Total Destination Marketing

Best Selling Book:  Destination Branding for Small Cities

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