Place Brands Need Some Tension

Successful Destination Brands Need Some Tension

I was recently reminded that there is always the need for some healthy tension in designing successful destination and place brands. Too often destination brand planning becomes boring and bland to please disparate voices within their communities.

Many “leaders” consider it to be so much easier (and quicker) to just compromise and settle on the warm and fuzzy value proposition that everyone will be happy with i.e. the let’s not “rock the boat” option. Hint: that’s why there are so many “a great place to live, work and play” brands.

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

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

If your city’s brand doesn’t have a touch of tension, it may be time to see if it really is clearly differentiated and meaningful to key audiences.

Produced by: Total Destination Marketing

Best Selling Book:  Destination Branding for Small Cities

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