Four Ways Destination Brands Are Not Created

Everyday I read about a new city undergoing a new branding project, only to learn all they are really doing is developing a few marketing tools. I've been privelaged to help several communities with their own branding project. Here are four common misperceptions for creating destination brands.

Design a New Logo
A logo is a great tool but just because you make one doesn't mean you have a brand. It's just a mark to recognize once you've done something with it.

Write a New Tagline
It only means something if it's bold and really true. Most cities make it more of a political statement so it ends up being a watered down phrase like "a great place to live, work and play". Woopity-doo. No one ever made a decision to visit or relocate to a city because of a catchy tagline (or logo).

Hold a Contest
Ever heard of a contest for the creation of a community logo? Some places do it. Every time this is done to create political harmony. Truth is, taxpayers should be outraged that public funds will be put to use to market a community by a message crafted in a contest, not professionals. Also, the winner is normally selected because of its ability to speak to everyone, not on its ability to be targeted and bold (that also means it would be memorable).

Creative by Committee
Every single community is filled with talented and creative problem solvers. As individuals, they can help a city achive greatness in marketing. They need to be engaged with any community branding initiative. As a large group, decisions are made after everyone compromises. Annoint 2-3 people to be in charge of making creative decisions according to an agreed upon strategy. You may not agree with the creative work, but it will be better.

Here is one tip on what a destination brand is - a lot of work. I'd love to hear ideas and opinions for what you believe is important for creating great destination brands.

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