Small City Branding Around the World

What’s the Difference Between Branding and Marketing?

June 28, 2017

We receive many emails from city leaders, practitioners and students around the world. From time to time we share some of the responses with readers.

I had an email from Sharon at a chamber of commerce on the East Coast of the USA, “Some members of our Board are confused about the difference between branding and marketing a city. I am finding it hard to explain. Can you help me?”

Which Towns Have The Most Unfortunate Names? And Does it Matter?

May 31, 2017

The name of a place is the most powerful part of its identity. It has often been said that being introduced to a brand is like meeting a person. Their name is important - it’s how we remember them, make associations, and refer to them. It’s as if there is a filing cabinet in our brains where we keep everything relevant to that name. When we hear London, Paris or Saigon, we recall the many pieces of information, thoughts and feelings large and small, that we have assembled about each over the years, even if we have never been there.

A City's Brand Strategy Isn’t a Magic Wand!

May 9, 2017

I recently had a conversation with the president of Midwest DMO at a conference who was being pressured by some of his lodging partners because the community’s brand strategy, which had been revealed three months earlier, had not generated an increase in business for them. While we at TDM didn’t develop this strategy, it did seem to be a fairly robust and credible brand they had launched.

Welcome Signs Show How Many Places Are Out of Touch

April 24, 2017

Welcome signs can play an important role in the marketing and branding of cities. They not only provide a sense of arrival but also communicate a welcome to travelers and can signal that the place is ready for them. They can also serve to convey the distinctive identity of the place and why it may be of interest to prospective visitors and new residents. One of the most famous of course is the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign which was erected on what was then the outskirts of The Strip in 1959.

Avoid a Place Branding Headache: Don’t Hire a Painter if You Need an Architect

February 15, 2017

I used to think that positioning was the trickiest part of place and destination branding. However, I now believe that getting the RFP or Expression of Interest, scope of work and agency selection processes right in the first place are probably the most problematic and can most easily send a place branding project off the rails from the start.

Why Many Place Brands Run Out of Steam - And Why Yours Doesn't Have To Fail

November 29, 2016

Adopting a place brand offers tremendous rewards for cities and regions if done correctly. However, sometimes these well-meaning efforts introduce levels of complexity and challenges which could easily have been avoided if leaders understood the nuances of place brand planning and were better prepared to tackle these obstacles from the start of the project.

It Takes a Culture of Collaboration to Deliver a Place Brand

October 30, 2016

Early this year, we conducted a Tourism Assessment Review for a small city that discovered that its tourism performance was declining. This was an attractive small city with an historic downtown that had successfully established a state-wide reputation as a destination for antique shoppers. However, our research soon revealed that in addition to facing increased competition from online antique stores, the city’s antique stores were falling short of the “antiques capital” reputation.

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