A strategic city branding project must reflect the cumulative personality of the community and in some cases, the county or region. It is crucial for branding success to have all stakeholders represented in the process and ensure their input is reflected in the brand. This involvement can be both rewarding and it can also lead to significant difficulties if stakeholders are not properly identified and managed throughout the process, such as delays in approvals and lack of support for the final recommendation.
Many smaller cities across the nation are losing their population. The twenty-five largest US cities on the other hand, are doing well, except for Detroit, and a few others with less dramatic problems. The next twenty-five rated by size are mostly doing well, in fact some of the fastest growing places like Austin and Raleigh are in this group. But for the rest of the country, the report is not so good.
If you are the Director of a small airport, either general aviation or with limited passenger service, located less than an hour’s drive from a major metro area, fortune is smiling on you. Your airport is on the cusp of a significant growth opportunity. I’ll hedge a bit here: a significant growth spurt is there for airports that understand this opportunity and plan for it.
At some point, and maybe you’re there, you have to decide which job you want. Continuing to make all the decisions including areas you’ve handled by necessity, but deserve their own full time advocate will eventually choke the organization. The question that might make the difference between success and failure is what is your highest and best purpose? Is it strategically managing the company through its next growth cycle or developing the branding and marketing strategy?
As a Marketing Manager, if you want your product to succeed, you have to “get inside a consumer’s head.” You have to dig deep, get to know everything about them, their “needs” but more importantly their “wants.” Find the problem they are having and and present your product as the solution, in other words use psychology to make them realize that they have a “want.”
Sometimes both agency and client are smart, focused and willing but simply no longer mesh. Sometimes the problems are not of the agency’s making. There are toxic client organizations just as there are bad agencies. Smart clients take a hard look at the environment they’re providing for their agencies before making a change.
The most successful re-brands use input from all employees and stakeholders. Of course, this is easier said than done, as everyone has their opinions and thoughts of the brand, and someone has to steer the ship toward brand success. A strong brand is created using an “all-in” approach.
Branding can be as frustrating and counterproductive as a hammer designed by a committee, or as simple and effective as a couple of smart people understanding how the customer comes to trust and prefer a company or product. Branding requires digging into the organization and either defining or re-enforcing the way the value of the enterprise is expressed.
As a marketing manager you may know that your city, state, airport, or regionally themed restaurant, did not start this year on an equal footing with Eagle Brand Condensed Milk. There are many reasons, such as some place-based entities have stakeholders who don’t believe the rules governing brand awareness, trust and preference apply to them.
We’ve been connecting brands to execution (the stories we tell) for years. Sometimes, as with a pharmaceutical client, the stories executed are not so much about products but the brands value to its audience and how its mission affects their lives.