Why Isn't Anyone Supporting our City Brand?

In recent months I fielded calls from two frustrated CEO’s of DMOs, one in Australia and one in the USA with the same question, “why isn’t anyone supporting our new brand?”

Both had launched their brands about 3 years ago and were finding that their DMO was the only organization referring to the brand. Adding to their frustration was that local partners were continuing to dilute their city’s brand message by not focusing on what they considered to be their key brand strengths and messages.

It seems that both of these destination brands were originally created by agencies that only engaged a small number of community stakeholders in the process. Additionally, the DMOs received nothing more than a logo, tagline and guidelines for correctly using the logo and visual identity. Of course, these are important parts of the toolkit, but a successful destination branding toolkit takes much more than that.

These DMOs could have avoided many of their problems with adoption and deployment if their original processes had been more robust. Firstly, they should have considered a more holistic view of what’s involved in branding cities. At the heart of the problem is the need to avoid the narrow confines of considering their brand to being simply a logo and tagline. The brand strategy must function as a strategic guidance system to unify stakeholders and partners to present one core brand positioning, one voice, one look, and a playbook for delivering on the destination’s promise.

Second, is the need to generate stakeholder and partner buy-in from the very start of the project – and ideally before it starts. The reality is that successful place brands demand a highly consultative process and ultimately a comprehensive toolkit and outreach that will enable the lead organization to rally the support of partners, stimulate the design of on-brand experiences and foster brand synergy across the community.

Sponsored by: Brand Discovery Week

Best Selling Book: Destination Branding for Small Cities


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