If you’re considering place branding your town or a strategy to achieve a successful place brand, there are a number of steps you should take before embarking on such a project. A place brand is effective in telling the story of your town and can be delivered through a number of marketing initiatives including a town website as a platform to create a clear identity.
- Firstly it is vital that you understand your place (town) – are you a convenience town or tourist destination for example and then think about why you are place branding your town and what is the expected outcome.
- Engaging with stakeholders and the community to gain feedback in terms of what people want from their town is beneficial when bringing them on the journey with your organisation. Local authorities cannot achieve this alone but can lead on an initiative working with stakeholders and the community.
- Goals need to be agreed within your organisation before external engagement commences. One of the mistakes that can easily be made early on is the responsibility and ownership. Knowing the budget required to deliver such a project and having this agreed to ensure you can launch and gain confidence and buy-in from stakeholders.
- Do your research, this is vital in the process of knowing why you are place branding and what you want to achieve.
- How will you deliver the project and build a brand with your current resources and do you have the expertise within your organisation? You will have to factor these costs into the implementation of the project..
- Agree your business strategy and prepare a business plan for your place brand. Consider this as a narrative that is not for life but at least five years, giving your brand time to build momentum and viability.
You will need to be able to evaluate your brand and success from the beginning of the process. How do you achieve this? There are many factors you can measure including footfall to your town and sales data from businesses in the town. If you have brought stakeholders on the journey with you this can be useful information for the economic development and health of your town. It is worth noting that you are building a brand like any other business and as such should be measured longer term, you cannot assume instant results but instead a steady growth.
In my next blog post I will take each of the points in greater depth to help you when embarking on a place branding project including stakeholder engagement and digital marketing.