In a globalized world, places increasingly vie for attention. In such a highly competitive environment, place branding can help by building competitive identity in order to influence perceived images in relevant markets. In particular, sustainable competitive advantage can be created by building brand equity in relation to the identity of the nation, region, local area or city or town.
Five Place Branding Principles
Place branding is above all about the distinctiveness of place. What makes your place unique when you compare it to other places / competitors? What are the core values of the place’s brand? What is the brand promise?
A broad solid basis for the place brand is established by involving stakeholders in:
- the identification of key characteristics of the place brand inspired by the identity or sense of place,
- finding the link with existing perceived and projected images in relevant markets (i.e. what do people currently think and say about us), and
- the design of authentic customised and co-created place experiences in practice.
In other words, authenticity in place branding is about people co-creating things that matter to them.
When a place has a unique and distinctive sense of place, it becomes memorable. Memorable means that the enjoyable experience at that certain place, conquered space in your mind and your heart. So that you might think of living or investing there, or return one day.
Place branding is not a top-down exercise but will only produce the best results when it is created and maintained through a strong coalition between government, business, civil society and target markets (investors, expats, travel trade, press).
5) Place Making
Place branding is not about a good slogan, logo and nice promotional campaigns.
In the experience economy an integrative place branding strategy is needed to capture the hearts and attention of visitors. This means that the place brand should be supported by policies, innovations, events, structures, investments and symbolic actions.