Change Management is at the Heart of Successful Place Branding

After decades of developing brand strategies for places of all sizes, I recognize that to be successful they are fundamentally an exercise in change management.

Success invariably involves shifts, changes and new focus that can leave some feeling dis-empowered or losing. For others, they simply don’t like anything outside of the usual routine. I have found that when leaders are prepared for resistance they are in a better position to unify stakeholders and nurture the support and actions that are needed.

In our experience, a successful place brand often requires changes to regulations, laws, systems, budgets, processes, resources, and recruitment. Above all, it may call for a change of attitudes and relationships. The first casualty may be the old “that’s the way we’ve always done it” attitude. For many people, the prospect of innovation, along with new focus, concepts, priorities, and partnerships causes extreme resistance. It removes them from their comfort zone and challenges entrenched attitudes.

We have found that in these situations, you need to expose key partners and stakeholders to the benefits that can come from alternative approaches so they can gain the confidence and trust in the project and its outcomes.

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