'A brand’s strength is built upon its determination to promote its own distinctive values and mission.'
-Brand Expert and Author Jean-Noel Kapferer
Branding identifies and differentiates one product from another. Just as branding is applied to products and services, it is also used to promote places. Place branding, also known as destination branding, is a specialised form of marketing. It involves telling an area’s distinct story in a way that provides a competitive advantage.
Developing a place branding strategy is one of the most complex forms of branding because the brand isn’t owned, or controlled, by a single entity. A place brand essentially belongs to the people. Everyone living and interacting within the area, either as a resident or a visitor, owns and influences the place brand. These people are integral to a place brand’s success.
What is place branding
A place brand is the face, or image, an area presents to its residents and to the people who visit or do business there. Place brands are generally developed to stimulate the economy; a tool to attract future visitors, investors and residents. They can also be used as a tool to stimulate community pride.
It’s important to consider a few basic marketing fundamentals when developing a place brand:
- What are the objectives and goals for your town: are you wanting to see an increase in visitor numbers or are you wanting to stimulate investment?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the financial and human resources that can be allocated to support the new brand in the short, medium and long term?
Why develop a place brand
The main aim of having a unique brand for your community is to differentiate your area from your competitors. These include other main streets, precincts, towns or cities.
There can be a range of reasons for wanting to develop a new place brand. You may:
- wish to develop a new place brand if there are negative perceptions associated with your destination
- have received negative feedback from visitors or criticism from businesses and residents and you need to change those beliefs
- need a new brand if your current one looks outdated – or has changed dramatically due to the loss of a major employer from your region
In some situations, the decision to rebrand may be a combination of all these factors.
What makes your place ‘your place’
The strongest brands are built on solid insights so it’s worth considering questions like:
- What makes your place unique?
- What does your place have that other competitors don’t?
- What is your place known for?
- What do you stand for?
- What is your community’s promise to people?
- Why do – and don’t – people visit your area?
Our place branding process: discovery
We have the in-house graphic design, copywriting and strategy expertise to deliver your new place brand from conception to completion. By engaging one agency to create your new brand, you are maximising the cost-effectiveness of your investment.
We will work with you to discover what your community has to offer using our unique four phase Brandsphere™ brand creation process.
We will meet with your key stakeholders and facilitate a workshop to hear first-hand what locals think about their area as part of our primary research. This phase can also include hard copy and online surveys to canvas feedback from the wider community if required. We will also review current and existing tourism and economic reports as part of our secondary research to help identify your area’s internal strengths and external opportunities.
Our place branding process: strategy plus visual identity
Based on the findings from our initial discovery stage, we will develop a place brand strategy outlining recommended target audiences, key messages and marketing opportunities as well as the town’s proposed new vision, values and brand story.
We will also create a new visual identity which may include a new logo as well as other brand assets which you can use in marketing activities.
Our place branding process: implementation
When the brand strategy and visual identity are approved, we then proceed with developing an implementation plan which outlines a series of marketing recommendations for you to consider.
As an Adelaide place branding agency, we know that a new brand can take several years to fully implement. We can provide you with a marketing campaign that spans multiple financial years, if required, so you can allocate ongoing resources and budget. By doing this, momentum is maintained and your brand implementation has the best chance of success.
A new brand doesn’t magically emerge; there’s a lot of work and informed research that sits behind its development – and a lot of consultation. It’s critical that any new place brand has the support of its people which is why we work closely with communities from start to finish to develop place brands which appeal to external target audiences and instill a sense of local pride.
Explore our branding portfolio and see how we can tell your area’s distinct story.