Paris = Romance
Every “Place” has a brand. Unfortunately, most of them aren't as clearly identified as Paris, France.
While your city most likely will never have the Brand Value of Paris, developing an authentic Brand Identity is a huge step in the right direction. Aligning the resulting Brand Strategy with a carefully honed Economic Development Strategy creates a dynamic partnership that can significantly impact community growth. And, as a community's economy strengthens, Brand Awareness grows. This in turn results in increased Brand Value – or, the economic power of a name alone to positively influence its target audiences. Just like Paris.
The fact is though, 86 percent of Place Brands fail within the first year. That means whatever process those communities used to create those brands neglected to give their leaders the tools they needed to move constituents from hearing about the new brand, to believing in the new brand, to living the new brand.
That’s called Brand Adoption, and without it your Brand Promise will fail and when that fails your Economic Development Strategy looses its ability to deliver the desired end results.
BrandEnomics™, merging two critical strategies together.
Our nine-step BrandEnomics process not only will unearth a community’s compelling and authentic Brand Identity, but it will also help strengthen the local economy by aligning a long-term Brand Strategy with a carefully honed Economic Development Strategy. Our one-of-a-kind process has been crafted from years of experience, with measurable results, in both the Brand Identity and Economic Development worlds.
Why do you need a brand strategy?
Recent studies have shown that a Brand Strategy, when developed internally and aligned with the Economic Development and Business Strategies, can effectively stimulate growth by attracting residents, investors, tourists, and businesses. This alignment results in the development of a “Brand Lens” that gives community leaders and stakeholders a tool to keep the Brand and Economic Development Strategies focused, ultimately driving better results.
An effective Brand Strategy will create consensus among all stakeholder groups, no matter how diverse or divergent, and as a result, drive a cohesive and shared vision for the future, exponentially increasing engagement and long-term growth.
Making sure that a downtown or city has a conscious, authentic, and effective Brand Identity will allow its leadership to manage its strategic decision making processes and all associated internal and external messaging in ways that enhance civic pride and cohesion. It will effectively increase customer engagement and drive regional competitiveness by creating alignment, through the application of the Brand Lens, across all business and marketing platforms.
Clarifying the terms
Unfortunately, the phrase Brand Identity is one that is bantered about all too frequently and with a wide variety of interpretations. We believe that Brand Identity is all about differentiation, the distinctive Who, What & Why behind a place or destination. It’s not just a promise based upon perceptions – any destination can make such claims – rather claims of distinction must be validated by evidence to transform them into truth.
When we use the term “branding,” we are referring to tactics. Tactics are the various applications found in a marketing plan that translate the Brand Strategy (the voice of the brand) into the visual Brand Expression (the face of the brand). These applications might include items such as banners, print collateral, digital applications, and other forms of messaging – traditional or social.
The case of the failing brand
As we mentioned, 86 percent of place brands today fail within the first year. Why such dismal results? The facts show that its because the brand has not been effectively developed from the Inside-Out and, as a result, stakeholder consensus and engagement is never effectively gained.
While many firms will speak of an Inside-Out approach, most often it is based on gathering information from focus groups, community input sessions, and surveys alone. The agency takes these facts, goes through a process of narrowing and prioritizing, and then comes back to the client with a brand story or promise that they have developed. And, while the client has frequent feedback throughout this process, there is no final step that gives the stakeholders themselves the opportunity to find the evidence to back any suggested Claims of Distinction, and through this final last step, gain consensus as the Brand Strategy is developed.
The fact is that this information gathering approach, while a necessary and key component of an effective overall process, on its own only garners perceptions based on attitudes and ideas.... and those change from day to day. And, as perceptions and ideas change, so does the brand. That makes the already difficult task of gaining and maintaining consensus as well as communicating consistent, brand-based, results-oriented messaging almost impossible. Without consensus there will never be a cohesive and shared vision for the future and the brand will never be adopted internally; and the fact is, if a brand is not adopted internally, it’s never going to be believable to those on the outside.
Think about it; perceptions are seldom distinctive enough to compel an audience to embrace them. A city's brand must create a cultural change where the internal audiences not only hear about the brand, but they begin to live that brand. That kind of change must be based on truths, not perceptions.
It is an urban archeological dig
We dig deeper. We collect the perceptions, attitudes, and community research from the top levels of the dig, but then excavate further to find the actual evidence behind a place’s unique distinction.
Our proprietary Discovery Process will lead an internal team of influential key stakeholders through the process of distilling down all the previously collected information, as well as newly realized facts, until they themselves discover the brand attributes that set their town apart from all others in its competitive market place. They will themselves confirm the evidence, the truth, behind those claims.
The brand now is not based on ever-shifting perceptions, it is built on undeniable truth.
Our BrandEnomics process:
Step 1: Intelligence Gathering
Step 2: Brand Discovery
Step 3: Validation
Step 4: Positioning & Visual Image
Step 5: Internal Adoption
Step 6: Economic Growth Strategy
Step 7: Planning
Step 8: External Executions
Step 9: Brand Performance
Our promise to that you is that you will be one of the 14% of places whose Brand survive – in fact, do more than survive. Rather, we are confident that our proven process will become the long-term economic development tool that you need to succeed well beyond your expectations.
Great brands are discovered and built this way. If your culture, vision, and day-to-day operations provide the necessary evidence of performance to back up your claim of distinction, your brand will indeed become a force to be reckoned with.
*Based on research by by K629, a place brand consultancy, of more than 5,000 place brands.