Does Your Community Need a Brand?
There is no single indicator that your community needs to update its brand. Different places decide to embark on place branding for different reasons including:
- Part of a larger community development program
- Loss of income in a specific sector such as tourism or economic development
- A negative, non-existent, or conflicting image
- Increasing competition from surrounding communities.
North Star often uses the following exercise with prospective clients struggling with decisions about community branding. Collect the marketing and communication materials from all the players on your team including the CVB, economic development, the chamber of commerce, any arts alliances and local government. Also take a minute to determine what the private sector is conveying about your city brand when it speaks to the outside world.
Spread out these materials on a table. Do they have a similar look and feel? Are they integrated at some level? Are they relevant? Are they distinct? Do your private sector companies give an appropriate nod to your city’s brand? Do you recognize your brand? Is there even a common theme? If the result is a mish mash of marketing messages and looks then your community could probably benefit from branding.
North Star also offers a brand measurement tool called the Community Brand Barometer™. This tool measures the strength of your place brand according to two different benchmarks:
- Resident satisfaction with the brand as a place to live, work and play
- Brand satisfaction/advocacy relative to other communities across the nation.